BOSTON (AP) - Brad Boyes has been one of the few bright spots in a season filled with disappointment for the Boston Bruins.
Boyes came through again for the Bruins on Thursday night, scoring the only goal of the shootout to lift Boston to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"He has made huge strides in a tremendous rookie season," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He has taken advantage of our personnel changes and is a big piece of our nucleus going forward."
Boyes has 24 goals and 41 assists and has thrived on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm for the last-place Bruins.
"My whole point this season was to prove to Boston they made a good choice when they picked me up," Boyes said. "It was nice tonight especially after I started with Toronto and they kind of gave up on me and traded me."
Mats Sundin salvaged a point for the Maple Leafs when he tied the game with 13 seconds left. Toronto trails eighth-place Tampa Bay in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by seven points.
"We kind of stole a point," Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin said. "I'd love to win a game in the shootout, but we need to build positives."
Boston won for the second time in 10 shootouts and improved to 5-11-3 in the last 19.
Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Alexei Ponikarovsky all were stopped by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the shootout.
"We're not going to quit and we just have to keep working," Tucker said.
Toronto missed a point blank chance with just over a minute remaining in overtime when Kyle Wellwood was robbed by Thomas.
Aubin started his sixth straight game for the Maple Leafs and made 24 saves for Toronto, which was previously unbeaten in its last five.
Ponikarovsky tied the game a minute into the second for Toronto when he wristed the puck under the crossbar with Thomas sprawled on the ice.
Glen Murray helped Boston regain the lead when he converted a pass from Shawn McEachern and beat Aubin with 4:16 remaining in the second period. Murray has scored five of his 24 goals this season against Toronto.
Mariusz Czerkawski put Boston ahead 1-0 when he backhanded a shot over Aubin's shoulder with 58 seconds remaining in the first period. Czerkawski was claimed off waivers from Toronto last month.
Toronto mustered only two shots in the first, but followed up with 18 in the second period.
Boston finished the season series 4-2-2 against Toronto
Toronto improved to 1-27-4 when trailing after two periods after rallying late.
Notes: Brian Leetch played in his 1200th NHL game. ...Thomas won the 7th Player Award for the Bruins. The award is given to the player who performed beyond expectations as voted by the fans. ... Murray left the game in overtime when he took a slap shot off the head. ... Ponikarovsky has four goals and four assists in the last six games.
|Mariusz Czerkawski (6) ASST: Yan Stastny (2), Brad Isbister (16)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Alexei Ponikarovsky (21) ASST: Mats Sundin (42), Nik Antropov (16)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Glen Murray (24) ASST: Shawn McEachern (5), Marty Reasoner (22)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Mats Sundin (22) ASST: Nik Antropov (17), Darcy Tucker (26)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||M. Sundin||P. Bergeron|
|2||D. Tucker||B. Boyes|
|Thomas Fitzgerald Interference on goalkeeper|
|Matt Stajan Hooking|
|Luke Richardson Holding|
|Chad Kilger Tripping|
|Mats Sundin Holding|
|Marco Sturm Tripping|
|Mark Stuart Slashing|