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Bruins eliminate Toronto Maple Leafs from playoff contention with 4-2 win

NHL.com @NHL

BOSTON - Tim Thomas made 30 saves, Phil Kessel and Peter Schaefer each had a goal and an assist and the Boston Bruins eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs from playoff contention with a 4-2 win on Thursday night.

The Bruins moved into a seventh place tie with idle Philadelphia, while Toronto missed the playoffs for the third straight year. It was the first time since the 1926-28 seasons they have gone three years without a playoff appearance.

Boston swept Toronto in a home-and-home series after winning 6-2 on Tuesday. They won the season series 5-2-1.

Glen Murray increased Boston's lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 10:54 of the third period, but Pavel Kubina gave Toronto a ray of hope when he cut the deficit to 3-2 with 4:59 remaining with a power-play goal. Toronto has a goal with a man advantage in 10 straight games.

But 23 seconds later, Peter Schaefer put the game away when his shot deflected in off Toronto forward Jason Blake for a 4-2 lead.

The Bruins improved to 3-1-2 in its last six and faces Ottawa at home on Saturday.

Boston went ahead 2-1 when Peter Schaefer, scratched the previous five games, sent a pass to Kessel, who got behind the Toronto defence. Kessel deked goalie Vesa Toskala for the goal 5:47 into the third period.

After the goal, Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice and Pavel Kubina screamed at the lineseman for an offsides call, to no avail.

Jiri Tlusty tied the game at 1 when his wrist shot beat Bruins goalie Tim Thomas at 4:47 of the second period. Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov assisted on the goal. Both returned to the Maple Leafs lineup after missing five and four games respectively.

Toronto has allowed 14 goals in the last three games and had its six-game road winning streak snapped.

Marco Sturm gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 3:13 remaining in the first when he slipped a cross-ice pass from David Krejci past Toskala.

The Maple Leafs became the fourth team in the Eastern Conference eliminated from playoff contention. Toronto joins the New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Notes: Chuck Kobasew will miss four to eight weeks with a broken leg for Boston after getting hit by a Zdeno Chara slap shot on Tuesday night. ... Toskala made his 29th consecutive start for Toronto. ... Milan Lucic received the Bruins annual 7th player award before the game. ... Both teams played 11:53 without a stoppage in play in the first period. ... Marc Savard missed his second straight game with a back injury.

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