The Boston Bruins put forth yet another valiant effort in their fifth game without Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron in the lineup. But this time it wasn’t quite enough, as the Toronto Maple Leafs got 38 saves out of Frederik Andersen in a 4-2 win over the B’s at Air Canada Centre.
For the Bruins, the loss snaps a five-game point streak, marking their first regulation loss in 12 days. They’re now 3-1-1 without Chara and Bergeron as their beleaguered lineup finally came up short. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though; Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves of his own as the Bruins out-shot the Leafs 40-31 in the game.
David Pastrnak was the only Bruin to light the lamp in this one, netting his 18th and 19th goals of the year. That momentarily ties him with the Winnipeg Jets’ Patrik Laine for the league lead in that category.
The Bruins continue to gut it out in impressive fashion without their No. 1 center and No. 1 defenseman. But against a tough divisional opponent on the road, Monday night proved too much to overcome.
It took nearly the entire first period for them to score, but the Maple Leafs drew first blood with just 2:16 left in the first frame after increasingly threatening in the closing minutes. Travis Dermott flipped a wrister from the top of the right faceoff dot through a sea of humanity and past Halak to make it 1-0 Leafs.
Toronto had just generated a series of high-danger chances leading up to the goal. Nazem Kadri got behind the entire defense for a breakaway and hit the post just minutes earlier, and Halak had just stopped his ex-Islanders teammate John Tavares seconds prior to Dermott’s score, effectively a rebound shot. The B’s hit a post of their own earlier in the period, but couldn’t finish before the Leafs did.
In a rare occurrence, the Leafs drew a penalty on their home ice when Par Lindholm clearly hooked the Bruins’ John Moore. It had been nearly 150 minutes of ice time since the last time a Toronto player went to the penalty box at Air Canada Centre.
Pastrnak promptly made them pay on the Bruins’ first power play of the game, burying a one-timer from a low angle to the right of Andersen to tie the game 1-1. and the B’s picked up steam with some competitive momentum in the minutes following Pastrnak’s equalizer.
Unfortunately, the Leafs had yet another answer with just 1:22 left in the second period when Josh Leivo gathered a rebound right in front of the crease and lofted it over Halak’s shoulders to give the Leafs their third lead of the game, 3-2. They took that lead into the final period.
The final frame went scoreless until there was just 1:35 remaining in regulation, when Zach Hyman potted the empty-netter to ice the game away. It ended a furious back-and-forth affair in the closing 20 minutes, in which shots were 13-12 in favor of Toronto.
The Bruins get the New York Islanders next, and they’ll head home to Boston for that game on Thursday night.
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