Boston, MA -
Hannu Toivonen made 26 saves and Brian Leetch registered three assists as the Bruins posted a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs Thursday night in front of a full house. It was a night of firsts for the Bruins as Alex Zhamnov, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart each scored their first goals for the Black â€˜n Gold.
"Zhamnov's goal was a momentum boost for us, especially for us to respond so quickly after their goal," said Coach Mike Sullivan following the win. "The guys that were out there did a real good job tonight. They pressured when the opportunity presented itself, they did a great job taking away passing lanes, and cleared the puck when it was needed. When you work collectively as a group like we did, they showed that they could get it done. They did a terrific job tonight."
Toronto pressured the Bruins early, but Toivonen's timely saves kept Boston in the game until the team found its rhythm. Then, with 1:43 left in the first period, Bruins forward Travis Green sniped a Glen Murray pass into the top corner to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Toronto tied the game at 1-1 on a slap shot from the right circle by ex-Bruin Mariusz Czerkawski at 12:50 of the second period, but the Bruins regained their lead just three minutes later.
Playing in his 800th career NHL game, Alex Zhamnov scored his first of the season on a rebound in front of the net. Brian Leetch picked up a pass from Marco Sturm and quickly let off a slap shot on net. Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist made the initial save, but Zhamnov was there to poke it home with 4:08 remaining in the second period.
"I put pressure on myself because I want to help this team," said Zhamnov. "When you don't produce, you don't help the team, so it feels good to get that first one out of the way. I just want to help the team, whatever it is, I don't care. I just want to help the team win."
The Bruins carried their momentum into the third period and took a 3-1 lead at 6:27. Wayne Primeau collected a loose puck on a Brad Isbister rebound and buried it for his sixth of the season and first as a Bruin.
Brad Stuart added a late goal with 22 seconds remaining to seal the Bruins' 4-1 victory. A streaking Sergei Samsonov fed Patrice Bergeron
, who then slid the puck to an open Brad Stuart for his third of the season. The goal was Stuart's first as a Bruin as well.
Toivonen was clutch down the stretch and stopped all nine shots he faced in the final period.
"We really had to come out hard tonight and it was important we got the two points," said Toivonen. "As a team, we needed this really bad, and we can be satisfied for now, but there's a new game tomorrow and we need to be ready. I felt pretty good tonight, and I was able to see the puck, which makes my job very easy. The guys in front of me did a great job clearing away the rebounds too."
Boston faces off against Toronto again tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. in the final game of their home-and-home series. The Bruins improved to 3-1-1 against the Maple Leafs this season with the win.