Bruins topple Maple Leafs, 5-2
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) clears the puck past Boston Bruins left winger Milan Lucic (17) as goaltender Jonathan Bernier looks on during first period NHL action in Toronto on Sunday Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
Toronto Maple Leafs' Peter Holland celebrates his goal with teammates during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto, Sunday Dec. 8, 2013.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
Boston Bruins' Ryan Spooner and Toronto Maple Leafs' Carter Ashton battle for the puck during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto, Sunday Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
TORONTO – Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug scored second-period power-play goals and the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2, last night.
The Bruins were coming off a Saturday night win over Pittsburgh where Shawn Thornton had a takedown of Brooks Orpik. The Bruins were without the suspended Thornton as well as Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly, who were both injured in the game.
The Leafs controlled the play early on and led 1-0 after the first on a goal by Peter Holland.
But the Bruins had a three-goal outburst in the second period, including a pair of power-play goals in a 93-second stretch.
Toronto, which also gave up two power-play goals in a win against the Senators on Saturday, went 0-for-4 on the power play yesterday.
The Bruins outshot the Leafs, 40-32.
Jay McClement also scored for Toronto.
Kevan Miller, Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston.
Thornton, the Bruins’ enforcer, is suspended pending a league hearing into an incident that sent Orpik to a hospital.
“I agree, he did cross the line,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said of Thornton prior to yesterday’s game. “He got caught in the emotions. There’s nobody that’s proud of what happened (Saturday) night. Absolutely not. So he’s going to suffer the consequences and so will we.”
“Thorny did cross the line and some others did, too,” Julien added. “But sometimes you have to man up to those things and I think he did.”
Defensemen Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk were sidelined with earlier injuries. The Bruins’ defensive issues were intensified yesterday when Dougie Hamilton exited after the first period after a collision with Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.
The Leafs also missed Tuukka Rask, given the night off in favor of Chad Johnson. Jonathan Bernier started for Toronto, after James Reimer’s 47-save performance in Ottawa.
It took the Leafs almost five minutes to get a shot on the Boston goal, but they still showed jump and went ahead at 12:20 when Holland jammed a David Clarkson redirect of a Jake Gardiner shot into a gaping net for his third of the season.
Boston pulled even on the power play at 5:14 of the second period after Reilly Smith found Soderberg alone on the edge of the crease. Toronto’s Carter Ashton was in the penalty box for delay of game.
Shortly after the goal, the Leafs went a man-down again with Gunnarsson sent to the box. And Krug made the Leafs pay with his eighth goal of the season at 6:47, beating Bernier with the hulking Zdeno Chara blocking the goalie in front.
Ten of the Bruins’ 15 power-play goals this season have come from their defensemen.
Boston outshot Toronto 8-0 in the second period before the Leafs put a shot on Johnson at 9:57. Defenseman Cody Franson had a good chance from in close with seven minutes remaining, but the Bruins goalie made the save.
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf and forward Phil Kessel ran into each other on a line change, flooring Kessel. It was that kind of period for the Leafs.
Smith hit the Toronto crossbar late in the period. Seconds later, Miller’s wrist shot from the blue line slipped through Bernier at 15:58. It was his first NHL goal.
Boston outshot Toronto, 17-9, in the second period.
McClement closed the gap to 3-2 just 37 seconds into the third, winning a faceoff in the Bruins end and then driving the Boston goal, slapping in his own rebound for his first of the season.
The Bruins had to kill off consecutive penalties to maintain their lead. The Leafs needed a save from Bernier on Jordan Caron to stay within one as the clock wound down.
But Bernier couldn’t stop Iginla after Milan Lucic accelerated past Phaneuf and passed to Iginla in the crease for his sixth goal at the 16:00 mark.
Miller left the game with 2:17 remaining after being hit in the boards by Phaneuf. And Boston closed out the game killing off the Bergeron penalty while the Leafs pulled their goalie for a sixth attacker.
∎ The game was the 326th regular-season game meeting between the Bruins and Leafs in Toronto, but just the third on a Sunday.
∎ The Bruins continue their four-game road trip in Canada against Calgary tomorrow, Edmonton on Thursday and Vancouver on Saturday before returning home to host the Flames on Dec. 17.