BOSTON (AP)—The Maple Leafs were a timely opponent for the Boston Bruins.
Peter Schaefer had a pair of third-period goals, Marc Savard scored 19 seconds into the game and Tim Thomas stopped 34 shots to lead the previously offensively deficient Bruins to a 5-2 win over Toronto on Thursday night.
The Maple Leafs, who have allowed the most goals in the NHL, were a welcome relief for a struggling Bruins’ offense. Boston, held to two goals or less in its previous five games and eight of 10, also got goals from Marco Strum and Glen Metropolit.
It was just the second time this season the Bruins have scored five or more goals, the other in an 8-6 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 12.
“We kept working their ‘D,”’ Schaefer said. “They have a great offense and they score a lot of goals, but they give up a lot too.”
Thomas, making his ninth straight start and his first since a 45-save effort in a 2-1 win over Buffalo Saturday, held the league’s second-highest scoring team scoreless with 19 saves in the final period.
After having four days off to work on their offense and study the Maple Leafs, everything seemed to click for the Bruins.
“We saw video (of Toronto),” Boston right wing Brandon Bochenski said. “We saw the areas we had to be in to get chances to score.”
Boston had more open shots than its had in a few games and continually worked Toronto’s defense, the best evidence coming when Metropolit outhustled two defenders to make it 3-1 midway into the second.
“We didn’t play well, that’s for sure. We didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Toronto center Matthew Stajan said. “They scored on their chances. We had a few miscues on their goals and it just wasn’t acceptable. We just weren’t good enough. We’ve got to play better than that, there’s no doubt about it.”
Former Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft started for the third time in four games for Toronto and stopped 22 shots.
The Bruins jumped ahead 1-0 on the game’s opening shift when Savard fired a wrist shot from the slot that caromed in off the right post after a feed from Glen Murray along the left boards.
Seventeen seconds after Boston’s Mark Stewart was whistled for hooking, the Maple Leafs tied it 1-all when Wellwood slipped a backhand past Thomas from in close. Boston regained the lead 2-1 when Sturm scored off the rebound of Doug Wideman’s shot 11:40 into the opening period.
The Bruins made it 3-1 on Metropolit’s goal 10:16 into the second.
Ponikarsky’s score cut it to 3-2 with 8:03 left in the second, but Schaefer broke in down the left wing and beat Raycroft with a wrist shot 2:11 into the third.
Schaefer scored on the rebound of Bochenski’s shot 3:24 later, prompting the crowd to break into mocking chant of ‘Ray-croft, Ray-croft’.
“We’ve been a team that’s been offensively challenged,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We’ve been doing our homework and trying to find a way to find the back of the net.”
Boston plays 11 of its next 13 games on the road. … Bruins injured D Aaron Ward, who missed his third consecutive game with a concussion, sat in the press box. … The Maple Leafs’ LW Mark Bell not only lost a first-period fight to Bruins LW Milan Lucic, but he appeared to look to the linesmen to break it up. … Boston recalled rookie G Tuukka Rask to fill in for injured backup G Manny Fernandez earlier in the day.