Boston Bruins score six to hand Toronto Maple Leafs their second consecutive loss
Though Toronto hit the 30-game mark of the NHL schedule in range of first place in the conference, a second spanking in a month at TD Garden will mess with their minds.
With some key personnel missing, Boston still laid a 6-3 beating on a full Leaf lineup, which had zero traction much of the night, until finding some fighting spirit after the clubs started exchanging dangerous hits.
David Krejci had a goal and assist to move past Hall of Famer Cam Neely for 10th on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list, and Boston snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Earlier in the week, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said teams “could be” playing more physical against his more skilled players with a pair of bigger defencemen – Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller – sidelined by injuries. They seemed to respond.
“That’s how we were going to win tonight,” Bruins defenceman Torey Krug said. “We had that edge and I think it brought a lot to the table. You look at our lineup and I think that’s what we need right now. We’re bringing that to the table. We need that to win.”
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, David Backes, Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen and Krug also scored for the Bruins. Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots.
Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled early in the third after giving up six goals on 28 shots. He entered with an 11-1 record and 2.08 goals against in his career against Boston. Auston Matthew, Travis Dermott and Andreas Johnsson each had a goal.
The game became more heated after Boston defense-man Charlie McAvoy took what the Bruins felt was a late hit by Zach Hyman midway into the third. McAvoy missed 20 games with a concussion before returning earlier this week.
The Maple Leafs felt the extra hitting early.
“That’s hockey, and it’s our job to respond to that,” Matthews said. “Obviously they made a push back and we didn’t respond.”
Leading 1-0, the Bruins appeared to be more physical and determined when they scored twice in the second period.
Less than a minute after McAvoy hit the post — Boston’s second shot off iron in about a 3 1/2-minute span — Brad Marchand set up Backes in the slot. Where he fired a rising shot past Andersen’s glove and inside the right post for a power-play goal at 8:54.
Krug’s first goal first of the season made it 3-0 just under nine minutes later. After a flurry of chances, he scored on a wrister from the left point.
Heinen collected a puck along the boards early in the third, split a pair of Maple Leafs players before flipping a shot over Andersen to make it 4-0 at 1:47.
Dermott beat Halak with a shot from the mid-slot area 4:03 into the third, but Krejci made it 5-1 only 34 seconds later. Donato scored at 6:13, sending Andersen to the bench to a chorus of jeers and cheers. Garrett Sparks replaced him, and saved all four shots that faced him.
As a result, the Maple Leafs have now conceded a total of 11 goals in their last two games.
“Every once in a while you get fed your lunch and today was one of those days,” Babcock said. “We had a good run of five wins and an overtime loss. Get yourself regrouped and get back at it (for four more road games).”
Maple Leafs next face Carolina on Tuesday night.