Grabovski scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:01 remaining and the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied for a 4-3 win that extended the Bruins’ losing streak to three games.
“Grabo was getting hit by everybody on their team and he ended up scoring a great goal—his retribution was to score,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.
It also was a night of retribution for Kessel, booed every time he touched the puck by Boston fans still angered over his holdout that forced a trade to the Maple Leafs in 2009. Kessel had never scored against his former team in 10 previous meetings, but ended that skid and another with a pair of goals Tuesday.
Thomas was frustrated by that goal, then furious after Grabovski’s second of the night.
“I was trying to take him and the guy cutting to the back door instead of just taking the shot,” Thomas said. “So I left an opening and he took it.”
“Unacceptable,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think it’s one of those situations where if you have any sense of pride, you’re embarrassed about tonight.”
Boston continued to struggle in its final home appearance before a six-game road trip. The Bruins were sloppy through the first two periods, then again in the final 10 minutes as Toronto came from behind and left the Bruins stunned.
Kessel jumped on a turnover by Zdeno Chara(notes) at the blue line, got around Andrew Ference(notes) for a mini-breakaway and faked out Thomas with a forehand shot to tie the game with 6:33 remaining.
“I like play like that,” Grabovski said. “I like when defensemen play hard against me. It gives me motivation and I play harder and faster.”
Bergeron broke a 2-all tie with an even-strength goal with 10:52 left. Adam McQuaid(notes) fired a shot from the point and Bergeron was in place for the rebound despite getting smothered by defenseman Dion Phaneuf(notes) as he poked the puck into the net for his first goal in five games.
Grabovski, who drew a penalty when he was driven into the boards by Chara in the first, put Toronto up 2-1 early in the second on a lucky bounce off Boston defenseman Steven Kampfer’s leg for a wide-open backhand.
The Bruins tied it at 2 with 1:26 to go in the first on a power-play goal. Reimer couldn’t handle a shot from the slot by Brad Marchand(notes) and the rebound bounced up in the crease, where Campbell knocked it in. The play withstood a video review.
Kessel’s first goal was also on a high rebound, but his stick was below the crossbar and the goal was deemed OK. The Maple Leafs were already on a power play when Chara was called for boarding, giving Toronto 1 second of a 5-on-3 advantage. That was enough time for the Leafs to win the faceoff and get a shot from Lupol, who hit Thomas. But the puck bounced right to Kessel for a mid-air one-timer.
Paille, coming off a four-game suspension for a blind-side hit on Dallas’ Raymond Sawada(notes) on Feb. 3, put Boston up 1-0 with 11:56 left in the first when the puck deflected off a Toronto player’s skate.
NOTES: The Bruins announced after the game they had acquired center Chris Kelly(notes) in a trade with Ottawa for Boston’s second-round pick in this year’s draft. … Phaneuf had two assists for Toronto. … Bergeron has 20 goals in a season for the first time since 2007. … Toronto picked up Lupol, a center, in a trade with Anaheim last week. … Toronto was 2 for 3 on the power play. Boston finished 1 for 4.