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Mark Recchi scores twice as Boston defeats the Maple Leafs 7-5

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TORONTO - The Boston Bruins appear to be gearing up for a long playoff run.

Mark Recchi scored two goals while Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick each added three assists Saturday as the Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-5.

It was the fourth win in six games for the Eastern Conference leaders, who appear to be out of the funk that plagued them shortly after the all-star break. Boston has eight games of fine-tuning left before the start of the post-season.

Mark Recchi, with two, Chuck Kobasew, Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler also had goals for the Bruins (47-17-10).

Alexei Ponikarovsky, with two, Nikolai Kulemin, John Mitchell and Niklas Hagman replied for Toronto (31-32-13).

The goals came fast and furious on a night where both teams got some suspect goaltending.

Rookie Justin Pogge was chased from the Leafs net in the second period after allowing six of 20 shots to beat him. At the other end, Bruins backup Manny Fernandez recovered from a rough first period to earn his first victory since Jan. 8.

Toronto kept it close until midway through the game.

Ponikarovsky actually put the Maple Leafs ahead 4-3 when he scored his second goal of the night at 6:06 of the second period. That was his third point of the evening and the 14th he's put up in the last seven games.

Boston roared ahead by scoring three goals over a span of 3:43. Recchi tied it with his second power-play goal on a tip-in at 9:01 before Thornton put the Bruins ahead for good at 11:30. His long shot through traffic seemed to fool Pogge.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson called a timeout at that point to try and settle his team, but Krejci made it 6-4 for the Bruins at 12:44 by beating Pogge on a breakaway.

Curtis Joseph was sent in to relieve Pogge - the reverse of what happened during a 5-3 loss in Buffalo on Friday - but the game was put out of reach when Wheeler scored at 17:04.

As the Bruins took a 7-4 lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes, it highlight a big disparity between teams at opposite ends of the conference. Toronto has trailed through two periods in 40 games this season; the Bruins have done so just 14 times.

There was still some good news for fans of the Maple Leafs in the third period. Hagman scored his 20th goal of the season - and the 100th of his career - with a high wrist shot at 14:39. That was a welcome sight in his first game since suffering a concussion on Feb. 26.

The Maple Leafs had plenty of late pressure but Fernandez shut the door.

Notes: Boston won five of six against the Maple Leafs this season ... Defenceman Jay Harrison played his first game for Toronto in two years after signing a free-agent contract earlier this week ... Bruins forward Phil Kessel missed the game with an undisclosed injury ... Leafs goalie Martin Gerber served the second game of his three-game suspension ... Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsey got hit with the puck in the first minute of the game - he was OK ... Announced attendance was 19,360.

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