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Blake Wheeler scores three goals, Bruins defeat Maple Leafs 5-2

NHL.com @NHL

BOSTON - Blake Wheeler had his first three-goal game in the NHL, hours after changing his uniform number, to help the Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Thursday night.

Defencemen Dennis Wideman and Shawn Thronton added goals for the Bruins in their fifth win in six games. Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Steen scored for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have lost three straight.

Wheeler, a rookie from the University of Minnesota, changed from No. 42 to 26 before the game.

The Bruins opened the scoring on Wideman's power-play score 5:56 into the game. He beat goalie Vesa Toskala with a slap shot from the point that slipped inside the right post.

Boston made it 2-0 on Wheeler's power-play goal 1:50 later. Wideman fired a wrist shot from the point that Wheeler tipped down, then turned and beat Toskala.

The Bruins increased their lead to 3-0 on Wheeler's second of the game 5:18 into the second period. He took a pass from Marco Sturm and faked out Toskala before tucking a shot into the net.

Steen cut it to 3-1 midway into the third when he scored out of a scramble.

The Bruins killed off a 5-on-3 power play late in the third before Thronton put it away with a goal with 2:45 to play.

Wheeler completed his hat trick with 53 seconds left on a shot from the blue line into an empty net after the Maple Leafs pulled Toskala. The fans then littered the ice with hats, causing a brief delay.

Notes: Bruins D Zdeno Chara played his 700th career game. ... Boston scored a power-play goal for the ninth time in 13 games. ... Toronto has allowed two or more power-play goals in five games. ... Boston D Mark Stuart sent Maple Leafs LW Jason Blake into Boston's bench with a check in the opening period.

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