Maple Leafs hold off Bruins, winning streak at five
Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored twice to help the Toronto Maple Leafs win their fifth straight game, 5-2 against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.
“We are in the middle of a pretty long homestand (fourth of five games), and it’s been crucial to make good on being at home and that’s been great for us,” Tavares said. “There was great energy in the building tonight, a good rivalry, and so we did a lot of good things today and just want to keep it going.”
Mitchell Marner had a goal and three assists, and Jack Campbell made 42 saves for the Maple Leafs (7-4-1), who lost three of four before the winning streak.
“Just sticking with it honestly,” Matthews said. “The highs can get real high here and the lows can get real low, and I think sometimes you just have to take a step back and take a breath. A couple weeks ago we weren’t as a team playing to the level we were happy with, and I think it’s kind of come full circle. Pucks are starting to go in and we are playing much more consistently throughout our lineup.”
Brad Marchand had two assists, and Linus Ullmark made 31 saves for the Bruins (5-4-0), who had won two in a row.
“Ullmark played well, he did his job, but we didn’t do a good enough job in front of him,” Boston forward Taylor Hall said. “He’s not a scrambling goalie, he’s very sound technically, but the way we played in our own end forced him to really move around in the net, and when that’s happening, we’re not doing our job in front of him.”
Matthews gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead at 14:59 of the second period when he directed a pass from Marner and then backhanded the rebound over Ullmark’s glove. They went up 3-1 at 18:54 on the power play when Matthews one-timed a pass from Morgan Rielly from the right face-off dot.
Tavares backhanded a rebound from William Nylander’s shot in the slot to make it 4-1 at 2:53 of the third period.
David Pastrnak got Boston within 4-2 at 8:29 when he one-timed a pass from Marchand at the left face-off dot.
Marner made it 5-2 when he scored into an empty net with 43 seconds left.
“We’ve got to create our identity where we are hard to play against for 60 minutes, not 30, 20, 40, whatever it is, it has to be 60 and we weren’t,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “When you get into their type of game where there’s a little bit more transition, and for us, we need to play more of a puck possession in the offensive zone. There were some easy goals tonight for them — that they worked for, don’t get me wrong — but we were soft on pucks.”
Marner, Matthews, Nylander and Tavares have combined to score Toronto’s past 13 goals over four games dating to the final two goals in a 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 30.
“We need those guys to produce, and they have been, and it’s no coincidence it’s been the start of a roll as a team since that’s happened, but I really thought it was a great team effort here tonight all the way through,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We had just terrific efforts from each line, our defense, our goaltending and our special teams. This was a big win here tonight, but just like we needed to block out the noise when things were not going well, it’s equally important to block out the noise now.”
Campbell made 23 saves in the third period.
“He’s playing outstanding; he’s a big part of our team,” Reilly said. “When he plays well, the guys respond and it’s a great feeling for our group.”
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead at 8:37 of the first period when Hall deflected a shot at the top of the crease on the power play.
Tavares tied it 1-1 at 12:21 when he deflected a shot from Marner. The goal was scored with the net off its moorings, and it was ruled the puck crossed the line after the actions of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron caused the net to be displaced.
“I honestly had no idea what the ruling on it was,” Marner said. “I saw the refs give the goal sign at first and I had no idea if they were calling a penalty or calling a goal, to be honest. The review took quite some time, so I thought we just might end up on a power play, but it was definitely a weird one that I’ve never seen before.”
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