Boston Bruins

Led by a two-goal effort from Pavel Zacha, the Bruins will head into the All-Star break with any bad vibes from a three-game slide in the rearview mirror thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Maple Leafs.

It was Zacha’s first goal of the night that made the difference, too, as he took the fight out of the Leafs and re-established the Black and Gold’s lead back out to two just 30 seconds after the Leafs brought themselves back within one goal.

With the victory, the Bruins pushed their record to 39-7-5 on the season, and increased their Atlantic Division lead over the Maple Leafs to 13 points, and with a game in hand over Toronto.

  • In what was the third head-to-head between these teams this season, the Bruins and Leafs skated to a goalless draw through 20 minutes of action despite a combined 27 shots from the sides (14 for Toronto and 13 for the Bruins), and the first goal of this contest came from an unlikely source behind a Derek Forbort shorthanded marker.

    The Leafs were quick to respond, however, and evened things up just 2:28 later by way of a Mitch Marner power-play marker that came with too much time and space available for a player of Marner’s caliber.

    Boston’s defensive scoring party failed to slow down, however, as a weak-side activation from Brandon Carlo brought the 6-foot-6 Carlo down to the left of Ilya Samsonov, and ended with a Carlo chip shot through Samsonov to make it 2-1.

  • Up through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins pushed their lead to two behind A.J. Greer’s fifth goal of the season, and though Calle Järnkrok responded in short order, the aforementioned Zacha party took over and put this one to bed with two goals in a span of three minutes and 11 seconds.

    The two-goal burst continued what’s been a sensational run for Zacha, with six goals and 10 points in six games since signing his multi-year extension with the Bruins back on Jan. 14. His six goals are tied for the third-most in hockey, while Zacha’s 10 points make him a top-20 scorer in the NHL over that spell.

  • In net, Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark finished with a 33-of-35 performance in net, while the Leafs’ Samsonov took the loss behind a 24-of-29 outing.

    For the Bruins, this was their second straight victory over the Maple Leafs, giving the Black and Gold their first winning streak over the Leafs since the 2018-19 season.

  • Feb 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) makes a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) makes a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Elsewhere on the sheet, Jakub Lauko, fresh off a recall from Providence on Tuesday, skated in his first NHL game since Nov. 3, and finished with an assist, three hits, and a block in 7:11.

    Lauko was one of 12 Boston skaters to record at least one point in the victory.

    With the All-Star break now upon the league, the Bruins will get some much-needed time off before returning to action Feb. 11 when the Capitals come to town.

    The Bruins will also have three reps at the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, with winger David Pastrnak, goaltender Linus Ullmark, and head coach Jim Montgomery all set to lead the Atlantic Division.