BUDS SCORE FIRST ON DERMOTT GOAL, GAIN CONFIDENCE VS. ALWAYS-TOUGH BRUINS
The Leafs were on a high at Scotiabank Arena after a 6-0 win Saturday over the Philadelphia Flyers, but they knew facing their Atlantic Division-rivals in Boston would be a serious test. And Toronto began that test well, getting the first goal of the night when defenseman Travis Dermott scored his first goal of the season:
Video: BOS@TOR: Dermott lasers a shot past Halak
Dermott's goal was set up beautifully by winger Mitch Marner, who registered his team-leading 25th assist and the 12th point in his past nine games. And getting the game's first goal was a relief of sorts for head coach Mike Babcock and his staff; they knew scoring first against Boston at home would be a notable boost for Leafs players who've been accustomed to highly-competitive contests from Boston.
AFTER EVERY PUSH-BACK FROM BOSTON, LEAFS RE-ESTABLISH LEAD
The Bruins were only two points behind Toronto in the standings prior to Monday's game, and Boston played like a team that wanted those points: after Dermot scored the only goal of the first frame, Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored at 3:39 of the second to even the score. However, the Leafs also played as if they wanted those two points, and after Pastrnak's goal, the Buds got the first-ever NHL goal by blueliner Igor Ozhiganov:
Video: BOS@TOR: Ozhiganov nets one-timer for first NHL goal
Then, after Boston tied the score at two goals apiece (when Pastrnak scored his second of the game at the 14:22 mark), the Leafs pushed back again - this time, when winger Josh Leivo netted his fourth goal of the season (and second in as many games):
Video: BOS@TOR: Leivo beats Halak with rebound tally
Leivo's goal - a power-play marker - came with 1:12 left in the second period, and it took away any momentum the Bruins may have been feeling after Pastrnak's second goal of the evening.
ANDERSEN'S CONSISTENCY BETWEEN PIPES PAYS OFF YET AGAIN AS LEAFS EARN WIN
Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen has been consistently terrific this season, and such was the case again Monday: Andersen turned aside 38 of 40 Bruins shots - including all 12 he saw in the third period - and Toronto got him an empty-net, insurance marker goal from Zach Hyman to guarantee the Buds' second straight victory:
Video: BOS@TOR: Hyman seals the win with late empty-net goal
The Leafs' next opponent will be the San Jose Sharks, who visit Toronto Wednesday; San Jose doesn't have an intimidating road record (4-5-2), but any team that has Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on it has to be respected, and the Leafs will need an effort similar to the one they've shown in each of the past two games.