BOSTON -- For the third straight game, the Toronto Maple Leafs squandered a two-goal lead.
But Wednesday, they earned two points in the standings.
Forwards Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli scored in a five-round shootout, and the Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 after losing a 3-1 second-period lead at TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs (21-14-13) won the shootout 2-1 and ended a two-game losing streak. They held a 4-2 lead against the Florida Panthers before losing 6-4 on Dec. 28 and the next night led 2-0 but lost 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Well, it's not an ideal way to win the game, I'll tell you that," Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said. "But the bottom line is, we found a way to win it in a shootout. I thought [goaltender Jonathan Bernier] stood tall for us the whole night. ... I thought that we played real structured. And we did a lot of the things that we knew that we were capable of doing and we showed a lot of mental toughness to be able to, when we did give up that lead, to hold on to be able to close it out in a shootout."
Bernier finished with 25 saves playing in his first game after missing two with an illness. The Maple Leafs helped Bernier by allowing fewer than 30 shots on net for the first time in nine games.
In the shootout, Bernier stopped four of five attempts. Santorelli scored in the first round and Kadri scored in the fifth against Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made 18 saves.
"I was just really watching the first few shooters," Kadri said. "And it seemed like [Rask] moves well side to side, so I knew five-hole might've been open a little bit. So I just thought I'd come down with some speed and fake the shot, get him to bite a little bit, get him flat-footed."
The Bruins (19-15-4) had won three straight at home. With a 5-6-3 record in December, Boston had its first losing month since February 2012. The Bruins' disappointment was magnified because they defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 5-2 on Monday.
"Well you always want to use the previous game to your advantage and your momentum," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who scored in regulation and in the shootout. "But there's going to be stretches in any game where things aren't going right. But it's up to the game to minimize that and to slow that down and understand throughout parts of the game there’s some critical times to control the puck and make plays. We had to do a better job of that tonight."
Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov, who returned to the lineup after missing 14 games because of a concussion, scored at 10:22 of the first period.
The Maple Leafs thought they took a 2-0 lead at 16:19, but the on-ice officials and the situation room agreed that forward Daniel Winnik’s skate deflected the puck into the Boston net with a distinct kicking motion, and the goal did not count.
Rask then stopped a Phil Kessel breakaway and poke-checked Kessel on an ensuing penalty shot.
The Bruins were on a power play to start the second period, and with 17 seconds elapsed, they tied the score 1-1. Forward Reilly Smith took a slap shot that Carl Soderberg tipped through Bernier’s five-hole.
Kessel then made a steal and went on a 2-on-1, setting up James van Riemsdyk for a tip-in 31 seconds later to put Toronto ahead 2-1.
Kessel's first goal in seven games gave Toronto a 3-1 lead. During a power play, he beat Rask from the top of the left circle with a wrist shot inside the far post at 9:45.
"Yeah, it was tough," Rask said. "I thought we started pretty good, the first five minutes. But then it kind of took a turn in the wrong direction and we had a tough time recovering. They made it 2-1, 3-1 and we were kind of puck watching, kind of waiting for that fourth goal to come. Thank goodness it didn't, and then we get a bounce and a goal and it's a game again. Good bounce back and battle, but still it wasn’t nearly as good as the game before."
The Bruins tied the score before the second period ended. Forward David Krejci gained the Toronto zone and took a wrist shot toward the net that deflected off Bernier, Toronto defenseman Cody Franson and into the net at 15:28.
At 17:31 Krug's wrist shot hit Komarov's left skate before getting past Bernier to tie the score 3-3.
In the third period and overtime, Boston outshot Toronto 13-2.
"Yeah, it was, I think, a huge win for our team, not only with the result but I thought the whole process of how the game went," Phaneuf said. "We played a pretty solid two periods and they came back after we got up a couple. But we were resilient in the way that we played in the third period. We didn't give up a whole lot. And the bottom line is we came out of it with two points. So I think we wanted to respond and we did that tonight."
The Maple Leafs played most of the game without forward Joffrey Lupul, who left with an unspecified injury after taking two shifts in the second period.