Toronto, ON --
Minus defenseman Andrew Alberts, center Patrice Bergeron
and winger Glen Murray, who are all nursing injuries, the visiting Boston Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs, 3-0, in front of 19,578 at the Air Canada Centre Tuesday night in Toronto.
Boston's Stanislav Chistov, P.J. Axelsson and Jason York all scored for Boston, while B's goaltender Tim Thomas
made 44 saves in his third shutout of the season and fourth "0" of his career.
"We needed people to step up and make a difference," said Thomas. "And that is exactly what you saw.
"Yorkie getting a goal. P.J. Axelsson played an excellent game and the "D" played well to a man (with) a couple of key blocked shots by Andrew Ference
and Bobby Allen."
The Black & Gold came into the game trailing Toronto by six points for a share of eighth place and the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and were determined to win the final game of the season series after defeating Toronto in four of seven games on the campaign.
And it was Chistov who helped the Bruins take control of the pivotal game early.
The diminutive Russian forward took a feed from Bruins points leader Marc Savard
and slammed the puck home, through former Boston goalie and current Maple Leafs keeper Andrew Raycroft at 7:13 of the first period.
It was Chistov's fourth goal of the season and the only goal of the stanza.
"That goal was really important to us, that first goal," said Boston Bruins head coach Dave Lewis of Chistov's score. "(After that) we kept a lot of the shots to the outside (and) sort of took the crowd out of it."
Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Thomas kept his goal light green with 12 saves on 12 Toronto shots in the first and sent his Bruins to the locker room in the lead, 1-0.
"When we needed a big save," said Lewis, "Timmy was there."
The second period was an outstanding session for the Boston Bruins as defensively minded forward P.J. Axelsson scored a shorthanded goal (his 10th goal of the season), from linemate Brad Boyes and defenseman Allen at 14:14 of the second stanza.
Then, off a nifty pass from new Bruins forward Brandon Bochenski, veteran D-man York scored his first goal of the season, first goal as a Bruin, and his first goal since 2004 at 17:41 to make the score 3-0.
"I am just happy we won," said a smiling York after the game, despite having taken a puck to the temple later in the game. "I had the feeling that it was time to finally contribute with a goal."
Raycroft was pulled after the second and was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Aubin, but Toronto was unable to turn the tide of the game's momentum as Thomas stopped shot after shot in the final period, and put his personal stamp on yet another Boston victory -- his 26th of the season.
"I think (Tim) is seeing the puck very well and the guys did a good job in front of him, keeping the shots and the players to the outside," said Lewis.
"He was fantastic," said York of Thomas. "He did a great job."
All of the Bruins did a great job on this night and will look to continue their current three-game win streak in Tampa on Friday.