BOSTON – It had been about time for the Bruins to break Toronto’s hold over them in the Atlantic Division, and that’s exactly what they did on Saturday night.
The Bruins dominated long portions of the game and then held strong in the third period amid a series of penalties en route to a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. The win snapped a stretch of four losses in a row for Boston against Toronto on home ice, and snapped an overall seven game losing streak against their closest trailer in the Atlantic Division.
It also extended Boston’s lead to five points over the Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice in a potential showdown in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron got things going early in the first period when he rifled home a Danton Heinen centering pass from below the goal line, and made it two straight games that Boston has scored first against the opposition. Mitch Marner and the Leafs responded quickly with a fluky point shot that ricocheted into the net off Charlie McAvoy’s idle stick in front of the net.
That was it for the Leafs, however, as Boston poured on some offense in the second period with a pair of goals to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
David Pastrnak cruised behind the entire Leafs penalty kill as Ron Hainsey flubbed a puck retrieval, and Pastrnak snapped a short side strike past Freddie Andersen for the eventual game-winning goal. Then later in the third period Torey Krug smoked a one-timer short side from the right face-off dot off a feed from Austin Czarnik.
The rest was up to the Bruins penalty kill and Tuukka Rask with 10 saves in the third period, and Tim Schaller with the long distance empty net goal that cinched things with less than two minutes to go in the game.