Bruins' impressive win over Leafs one ‘that can bring the group together'

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BOSTON – For the first time in a long time, the Bruins could finally exhale in a game. After losing three regulation games in a row and playing one-goal games just about every other night since Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron went down with injuries, the injury-plagued B’s exploded for six goals in a decisive, impressive 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

It was eye-opening to see the Bruins score more than three goals for the first time in nearly a month and since before No. 33 and No. 37 both went down with injuries, and important to see some players scoring that are expected to carry more of the scoring burden. Guys like David Krejci, David Backes, Torey Krug and Danton Heinen haven’t scored enough for the Black and Gold this season, and they showed how good the B’s can be when they do start lighting the lamp.

“Our best players were very good, helped out offensively,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Our power play chipped in. I thought our D-corps was very efficient with the puck, a little bit, I guess the last 7-8 minutes we got on our heels a little bit too much, but for the most part it was one of our most complete games.”

It all started with Jaroslav Halak making 11 stops in the first period when the Leafs had a couple of good scoring chance while storming strong out of the gate. He stopped John Tavares cold in the slot and wiped out a Connor Brown breakaway chance, and then rookie center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson got the Bruins an early lead.

From there it was David Backes scoring in the slot on the power play, Torey Krug bombing away from the point, and Heinen scoring on the rush to snap a 12-game pointless drought after a nifty Ryan Donato feed hit him in stride. It was what Bruins management imagined they would see at least on some nights when they put this team together at the beginning of the year, and for one night at least what they did as an undermanned Bruins group against a Maple Leafs group at full strength.

There was plenty of encouraging things with the Bruins being the physical aggressor and sticking up for themselves, but make no mistake: The biggest takeaway for the B’s was so many struggling players getting in on the scoring action.

“It’s a game we’re obviously really excited about. It’s a Saturday night in our building against a division rival, a team that we know we can skate with and play well and do a good job against their skill. So I think coming away with a win it’s exciting to see the way the guys responded after three games not playing exactly the way we wanted,” said Krug. “I think we’ve played two decent periods in Tampa and we kind of carried that over and we did a good job. Especially when guys are sticking up for each other you get excited about that, but it’s one of those wins that can bring a group together.

“It’s been the same old story for a long time that, you know, certain guys are carrying the weight offensively and carrying the team. To get it from other guys is nice to see and nice to see [those players] get rewarded. We’ve been battling for a while now and talking about getting on the inside of the opposition and we were able to capitalize [against the Leafs].”

The million dollar question for the Black and Gold is whether they can continue this one-game trend and ride a bit of a scoring wave over the next few weeks until they get all their healthy bodies back. Or perhaps there’s just something about the Maple Leafs where the Bruins have their number these days, and that trend continued on Saturday night.

One would suspect it’s more the latter than the former, but at least for one night the Bruins were able to score early and often, and remember what that felt like.  

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