Milan Lucic Goal: Bruins Top Maple Leafs To Cap November Surge
TORONTO -- Milan Lucic scored twice and David Krejci added a goal and two assists for the Boston Bruins, who beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Wednesday night for their 12th win in 13 games.
The defending Stanley Cup champions rebounded from a slow start this season and went 12-0-1 in November, marking the first time since January 1969 that the Bruins went an entire month without a regulation loss.
Tim Thomas made 34 saves and earned his ninth consecutive win.
Zdeno Chara, Benoit Pouliot and Brad Marchand also scored for Boston (15-7-1), which hasn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29 at Montreal.
Mikhail Grabovski, Joffrey Lupul and Matt Frattin had goals for Toronto (14-9-2).
The Maple Leafs pushed the Bruins to their limit in the first of a home-and-home series between teams near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They will face off again in Boston on Saturday night.
This game lived up to the hype as the quick skating teams took turns mounting rushes during the first period, in which the Bruins held a slight edge in possession and shots, 17-16.
But the game was tied 1-1, with each team scoring on a power play.
Grabovski netted Toronto's first goal at 7:29, taking a perfect cross-ice pass from Clarke MacArthur and beating Thomas with a backhander on the rush. It was his sixth goal of the season.
Jonas Gustavsson was strong early in goal for the Maple Leafs but was beaten after Boston's extended 5-on-3 power play. The Bruins used crisp cross-ice passes to take apart the Leafs' penalty-killers, and Lucic roofed a shot from the side of the net at 15:08 as the first penalty expired.
Shortly after, NHL scoring leader Phil Kessel was sent in on a breakaway but couldn't beat Thomas with a deke.
The game didn't slow down in the second period. Krejci gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 3:33 by going hard to the net and knocking home a rebound off the rush. Kessel then found Lupul on a 2-on-1 break to get Toronto even at 7:00.
Even Chara's goal that made it 3-2 at 15:30 came off the rush. The big defenseman stepped up and beat Gustavsson short side with a heavy wrist shot the Toronto goalie should have had.
Pouliot put Boston ahead 4-2 early in the third period, and Frattin responded less than three minutes later to get Toronto back within a goal. The Maple Leafs couldn't get any closer.
Lucic put it away with his second goal of the night at 15:21, and Marchand scored into an empty net in the final minute.
NOTES: The Maple Leafs were 7-6-1 in November. ... Cody Franson, Colton Orr and Philippe Dupuis sat out for Toronto. ... The Bruins scratched Jordan Caron and Steve Kampfer. ... Toronto goalie James Reimer, sidelined since Oct. 22 with concussion-like symptoms, is expected to be the backup Saturday in Boston.