BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins took out the frustration on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Two days after losing their composure in a loss to Carolina, the Bruins had their best offensive game of the season in a 6-2 victory Thursday night that gave the Maple Leafs their first regulation loss.
Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin had a goal and two assists each and the Stanley Cup champions scored two power-play goals, matching their total for their first six games.
“Obviously, we’ve been a little frustrated and it showed at the end of the Carolina game,” Lucic said. “What we’ve been able to do well as a team is we’ve always been able to turn that emotion into a positive and that’s what we were able to do here tonight.”
The Bruins, who had 11 goals entering the game, rebounded from the 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Rich Peverley’s goal with 9:01 left had cut Carolina’s lead to 2-1 before Boston lost its momentum by taking several ill-advised penalties.
Coach Claude Julien shook up his lines and the move paid off as the Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs 43-28.
“It was a good thing because no one really had too much chemistry,” Seguin said. “Tonight everyone kind of just focused on (his own) game and what they have to do in taking accountability and I think that’s why we were successful.”
The Bruins won for the second time in five games and had two power-play goals for just the second time in 41 regular-season games.
The Maple Leafs, playing their first road game of the season, had a predictable letdown from their last game, a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.
“When they scored (their) first goal the air went out of the balloon,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “We just didn’t have our legs.”
David Steckel gave Toronto (4-1-1) the lead 7:29 into the game before the Bruins (3-4) scored three times in less than 8 minutes to take a 3-1 lead after the first period. Nathan Horton and Chara scored on power plays and Chris Kelly connected with 2:11 left in the period.
Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin scored in the third.
Phil Kessel, a former Bruin, entered with NHL-leading totals of seven goals and 12 points but was held scoreless for the first time in 16 regular-season games.
Seguin was taken with the second pick of last year’s draft obtained in the trade for Kessel.
Steckel started the scoring with his first goal of the season on a 30-foot shot from the slot that deflected off the left leg of goalie Tim Thomas as he lay on his back.
Barely 3 minutes later, at 10:32 of the first period, the Bruins tied it on Horton’s second goal after backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson, playing for the first time this season, stopped Chara’s 50-foot shot but left the rebound for Horton to put in the net on a power play.
“We know they were going to come out hard so I was prepared for a lot of shots,” Gustavsson said.
Chara scored his first goal on another power play, at 16:05, on a pass from the blue line from defenseman Andrew Ference, who tied his career high with three assists.
Less than 2 minutes later, at 17:49, Ference assisted on Kelly’s second goal, starting the play with a pass to Lucic, who skated up the left side and across the goal line. He then passed it in front of the net where it bounced before Kelly lifted a backhander over Gustavsson.
Toronto had the best scoring chance of the second period when Grabovski, coming out of the penalty box, got the puck at the red line and broke in alone. But Thomas made the save at 8:43.
“I didn’t bang my stick to give my (defensemen) any warning so I kind of helped cause the breakaway,” Thomas said, “so I had extra motivation to stop that breakaway.”
The Bruins made it 4-1 at 2:08 of the third period when Seguin passed from the right circle across the slot to Lucic, who shot into the open side of the net for his first goal. Patrice Bergeron got his first goal and Seguin scored his second before Grabovski beat Thomas at 12:33 of the third period.
Notes: The Bruins were 2 for 24 on the power play before Thursday. … C David Krejci returned after missing four games with what the Bruins called a core injury. … Thomas broke a four-game losing streak against Toronto. … Dion Phaneuf got his sixth assist for Toronto.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)