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Chara's late goal gets Bruins past Maple Leafs

by Matt Kalman /

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara scored at 16:17 of the third period and goaltender Tuukka Rask made 22 saves in a 2-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday.

Brad Marchand scored an empty-net goal for the Bruins (10-8-1). Boston has won consecutive home games for the first time this season.

"Yeah, I think we had to work really hard to get this one," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They did a good job around their net. ... Lots of shots, but for the most part, they were doing a good job by either blocking them, or at least taking away their rebound if there was one, by being down low. So we had to work hard to get that goal ... but I thought our team did a good job of staying focused with what we were supposed to do, and not get frustrated."

The Bruins outshot Toronto 37-22 and 19 of those shots came from defensemen, and most of them were from the perimeter until the game-winning goal. Bruins forward Matt Beleskey won a battle along the right boards and passed the puck back to defenseman Zach Trotman, who sent it to Chara at the top of the left circle. Chara took a couple of strides before he put a slap shot past Toronto goaltender James Reimer.

"Well it's all about having time and obviously a chance to place the shot," Chara said. "You know, a lot of times you don't have that much time. You don't have obviously two, three seconds to really put everything on it unless it's obviously power play or an outnumbered situation. But when you do have time, obviously I like that."

The Maple Leafs (7-10-4) started Reimer, who made 35 saves, on the second half of the back-to-back after he defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 with a 33-save performance Friday. He had won his prior five games with a .960 save percentage and 1.36 goals-against average in that span.

"I just think anybody that's confident isn't as twitchy and the puck's not coming off him, so there's not second chances. You're just making one and done and our guys are doing a good job, so we're keeping them to the outside way more," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "And he's played well. I thought [Reimer] had a real strong night tonight."

But Reimer was bested by Rask, who was tested less frequently.

Toronto forward Shawn Matthias had probably the best scoring chance of the first period at 11:15. After Bruins defenseman Colin Miller fell in the neutral zone trying to play a puck, Matthias skated into the Boston zone on a breakaway but couldn't shoot the puck past Rask's right pad.

"Obviously you want to make those saves and especially when your team has the momentum and then the breakout happens," Rask said. "That's a timely save and that's something a goaltender needs to make in order to keep the team in the game.

"And I mean a lot of cases this year, it hasn't been the breakaways or 2-on-1 or 3-on-2s, it's been post and then back to their guy or tip-ins, stuff like that we get scored on. So today was good that defensively we stuck with it and kept it tied. The chances they got were clear chances, so it's easier for a goalie to stop."

Matthias got another breakaway early in the second period but he was denied by Rask's glove. During a penalty kill early in the third period, Matthias skated 1-on-1 against Bruins center David Krejci before Rask poke-checked the puck away.

"It's frustrating," Matthias said. "I mean, I just overthought it. The first one got in my head and then (I) tried to change things up. A lot of shots, a lot of chances for some other guys too. Their goalie played well."

The Bruins and Maple Leafs play the second half of their home-and-home series in Toronto on Monday.

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