Shorthanded Maple Leafs fight for decisive victory in Boston


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If the Maple Leafs’ win over Florida on Sunday was any statement, let’s call the victory in Boston on Tuesday what it was: a Bruins loss.

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The shorthanded and resilient Leafs chased the Bruins out of TD Garden, leaving town with a 6-4 decision after losing starting goaltender Petr Mrazek and defensemen Justin Holl and Ilya Lyubushkin to injuries during the game.

Forty-eight hours after beating the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers in Toronto, the Leafs held onto third place in the division and took a two-point lead over the Bruins.

Keep in mind that the Leafs have had little trouble managing a Boston team that has won 14 of its previous 17 games.

If you’re looking for a bold victory, the Leafs, who have won five of their last seven games, have provided one.

“For the full 60 minutes, we stuck with it the whole game,” Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot said. “It was a pretty complete game from us, it didn’t give them much life.

“Towards the end they had a few, but we always felt like we were in control. These guys played as well as anyone in the league, so this is a really good division win for us.

Late goals from Curtis Lazar and Taylor Hall made the score a bit more favorable to the Bruins.

Auston Matthews moved within 1-for-50, scoring his 49th on the power play in the second period thanks to a John Tavares rebound. In the hunt for the Rocket Richard Trophy, Matthews leads Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl by one goal.

In the morning, Matthews sounded cool when he talked about 50 goals in his press conference.

“It’s not really something I really think about,” Matthews said with a straight face. “Honestly, I just try to take it day by day. This stuff has a way of working on its own.

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Mrazek suffered a groin injury early in the first period. Holl was bleeding after being shot in the head in the second period. Shortly after, Lyubushkin’s night was over when he was hit by Hall after Lyubushkin crushed Hall into the sideboards. Hall received a raw minor.

Mrazek’s rebound after knocking out waivers last week hit a painful snag, and the Leafs have to be thankful that Jack Campbell looks like he’s on his way back into the crease after a rib injury.

Maple Leafs' Justin Holl is led off the ice by a coach after being cut during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.  WINSLOW TOWNSON/USA TODAY SPORTS
Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl is led off the ice by a coach after being cut during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. WINSLOW TOWNSON/USA TODAY SPORTS

Mrazek, who battled groin injuries earlier this season, was gone before the game was eight minutes old. In his first two starts after no other NHL team claimed him, Mrazek won both.

“It’s tough,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Petr gained traction and played well. We don’t know the severity of that. We’ll have a better idea of ​​the situation in the next few days, but it looks like he’s going to miss some time.

Keefe said Holl and Lyubushkin will be assessed in the coming days. The Leafs will have the day off Wednesday before hosting the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

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Mrazek stopped three of the four shots he faced before being replaced by Erik Kallgren at 7:44 from the first. In relief, Kallgren made 23 saves.

The Leafs’ 6-2 lead in 40 minutes came after beating the Bruins 3-1 in each of the first two periods.

Colin Blackwell, center of the fourth line, scored his first goal as a Leaf at 5:09 of the first when he placed a pass from Jason Spezza behind goaltender Jeremy Swayman. Kyle Clifford played the other wing on the line and Wayne Simmonds was called out.

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The Bruins tied the game 50 seconds later when TJ Brodie accidentally redirected a David Pastrnak shot past Mrazek on a power play in Boston.

At 9:43, Morgan Rielly scored for the second time in as many games when he jumped into play and finished off a fine run from William Nylander.

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The Leafs increased their lead two goals at 18:44 when Kerfoot hit his forehand on a breakaway.

Toronto scored the first three goals in second before Jake DeBrusk answered for the Bruins at 18:19.

Mitch Marner dropped to his knees to throw a pass from Matthews into the net at 8:28. Matthews scored 16 minutes apart and 47 seconds later David Kampf deflected a Rielly shot.

“There was a lot of passion in the building,” Blackwell said. “I think our guys did a really good job of weathering the storm and playing on our toes all night. It was fun, it was physical and it felt like a playoff game.

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