Bergeron scores winner; Bruins beat Leafs, 3-1
Toronto Maple Leafs' Jake Gardiner (51) battles Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson (21), of Sweden, and Brad Marchand (63) for the puck in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Bruins' Torey Krug (47) and Milan Lucic (17) defend against Toronto Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel, center, in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) checks Toronto Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Bruins' Daniel Paille (20) checks Toronto Maple Leafs' Jake Gardiner in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Toronto Maple Leafs' Jay McClement (11) battles Boston Bruins' Chris Kelly (23) for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Toronto Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri (43) falls while battling Boston Bruins' Torey Krug (47) and Dennis Seidenberg (44), of Germany, for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Tracy MacKenzie, left, and his wife Kim, from Nova Scotia, wait for the start of an NHL hockey game between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
BOSTON – Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal early in the third period and Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over Toronto last night in the teams’ first meeting since their playoff series last spring.
Bergeron also added an empty-netter with 22 seconds to play, and Zdeno Chara also had a power-play goal for Boston. The Bruins won for only the third time in seven games.
Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost for just the second time in six games.
In Game 7 of the opening round of the last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs, Boston trailed by three goals with a little over 10 minutes left before forcing overtime – with the final two goals coming 31 seconds apart in the closing 90 seconds of regulation. Bergeron scored the game-winner in OT, capping an improbable comeback.
Last night, skating during the closing part of James van Riemsdyk’s double-minor penalty for high-sticking Johnny Boychuk late in the second period, Bergeron jumped in on a rebound in front and fired it past sprawling goaltender James Reimer 1:06 into the final period.
Winger Carl Soderberg backhanded the puck on net from near the bottom of the right circle.
Boston killed off a penalty late in the game when Soderberg was sent off for holding the stick. The Maple Leafs went 0-for-3 on the power play.
The Bruins had grabbed a 1-0 lead on Chara’s power-play goal off a rebound 15:27 into the opening period. David Krejci won the faceoff back to defenseman Torey Krug, who sent a cross-ice pass to Jarome Iginla. The winger slipped a backhand on net that Chara, positioned in front, banged past Reimer before two Maple Leafs defenseman could clear the puck.
If it wasn’t for solid play by Reimer (31 saves), it could have been a bigger deficit for Toronto. Boston outshot the Maple Leafs 14-7 in the opening period, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches.
Bruins winger Chris Kelly fired a shot off the crossbar 90 seconds into the game and Reimer made nice stops on close bids by Krug and Iginla about 20 seconds apart five minutes into the game.
But in the second period, the Maple Leafs outshot Boston 18-10 and controlled play for lengthy stretches.
Toronto tied the game at 1 on Lupul’s goal late in the second. Paul Ranger sent a long clearing pass to Lupul, who broke in down the right wing before firing a shot that beat Rask over his left shoulder, slipping the puck just inside the right post.
There were a fairly large number of blue Maple Leafs home jerseys sprinkled throughout the stands, and a big roar went up when Lupul scored.
∎ Bruins D Adam McQuaid went down grabbing his right hip area midway into the opening period, had to be helped from the ice and didn’t return. There was no update from the team on his injury other than an announcement early in the second that he would not return.
∎ It was the first of four games between the teams.
∎ Toronto’s Phil Kessel needs two points to reach 400 for his career.
∎ The Bruins held Progeria Night, raising funds for research to help find a cure for the accelerated aging disease that affects one in every 4 to 8 million newborns. Sam Berns from Foxborough, Mass., dropped the ceremonial first puck.
∎ Former Bruin Terry O’Reilly watched the game from a luxury box.