The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime, 2-1, at the TD Banknorth Garden Thursday evening.
It was the Black & Gold's third win in a row and fourth victory in their last six games.
Boston, now 7-7-2, and 4th in the Northeast Division, was gunning for that season-best three game win streak after surprising the Washington Capitals in a shootout on Wednesday night, 3-2, in the District of Columbia. Patrice Bergeron
's fantastic goal versus Olaf Kolzig in the tie breaking session put the Bruins over the top.
As such, the young Bruins hoped to transplant their fine play from Washington to their home ice in Boston, and looked to continue to showcase some of the speed grafted into their lineup over the past week with the additions of Petr Tenkrat and Stanislav Chistov.
Meanwhile, Bruins coach Dave Lewis had tinkered with his lines before the Toronto game and put rookie Phil Kessel on a line with Tenkrat and Chistov, focusing the team's speediest players in a single unit.
He then moved versatile veteran forward Mark Mowers into the center spot between Primeau and Donovan, and created a serious energy line.
Despite myriad scoring chances from both squads, the only goal of the initial session came from rookie Kessel who gathered a hard rebound off the dashers behind the Toronto net and used a Marco Sturm screen to deposit the puck behind the Toronto goalie, J-Sebastien Aubin -- a power play marker at 14:09, with the assist going to Paul Mara, who made the initial shot.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas
was perfect in the opening stanza and continued his strong play to stop all 10 shots the Maple Leafs threw at his cage. Then, after returning from the first intermission, Thomas was "big" again in the second period and made six more saves.
But unfortunately for the home fans, his Toronto counterpart Aubin got into a spectacular puck stopping mode as well, and kept the Boston shooters guessing as he turned away all but one of the 20 Boston chances through two sessions.
Not to be outdone by his white and blue clad opposite number, Thomas made the save of the game when with less than one minute to go in the second he stoned the Maple Leafs Kyle Wellwood in traffic to keep the score at 1-0 going into the second break.
The score remained tilted in Boston's favor until Toronto's Bryan McCabe knotted the game at 1-1 with a late power play goal at 13:18 of the third period -- and despite several chances by both teams in last few minutes of the third period, Boston went to sudden-death overtime for the second evening in a row.
But the Bruins did not panic and continued to press the Maple Leafs right off the hop, determined to keep the game from going to yet another shootout.
"If something happens in the game and it doesn't go your way, and usually something like that does happen, you can not get frustrated," said Captain Zdeno Chara
in the victorious locker room. "You really have to stick with your structure and your system."
And thanks to those team wide structures and systems, Patrice Bergeron
was the hero again, as he beat Aubin to the stick side just :34 seconds into overtime thanks to a rebound off a shot from Brad Boyes, who himself was a game time decision due to back spasms.
"It's been a team effort for the last three games," said Bergeron, stressing the importance of the team coming together over the last week.
Coach Lewis agreed and said he thinks the squad is finally gelling.
"There's a sense of the guys…becoming a team," said Lewis. "Now it's starting to come together."
Looking to extend their winning streak, the Bruins next play Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in a return match versus Kolzig and his Washington Capitals.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR. Through Thanksgiving, all children 12 years old and under will be admitted free with the purchase of a ticket for select seats.