Guess what — he didn't mind.
"It's fun. It's why we play hockey — that little pressure, that
extra pressure," he said after stopping 14 of 15 shots in the final
period as the Maple Leafs escaped with a 4-3 victory over the Boston
Toronto's top line accounted for all four goals, but it was Bernier,
who started his night stopping right winger Jarome Iginla on a
breakaway and ended it by preserving the win, who backstopped
Toronto's second straight victory after a four-game losing streak.
"I thought we reacted in a good way," Bernier said.
Center Tyler Bozak scored two goals and set up another, right winger
and former Bruin Phil Kessel posted three assists, and left winger
James Van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist as the Leafs scored
three straight goals and led 4-2 a minute into the third period.
Bernier, who has taken over the No. 1 spot after coming over from
the Los Angeles Kings in an offseason trade, made 38 saves.
He was not with the Leafs when they suffered the late-game collapse
that knocked them out of the first round of the playoffs last
season. But asked what his team can take from its first win in three
tries against the Bruins, the goalie said, "Maturity. I think it's
not easy to come in this building especially [with] what they went
through last year, losing Game Seven.
"It shows a lot of character for that team to come here and win it."
Defenseman Jake Gardiner, set up by Kessel, also scored for the
Leafs, who scored two power-play goals. It was Gardiner's third goal
of the season.
The line had 12 shots on goal, eight of them by Van Riemsdyk, who
will play for the United States Olympic team next month.
The Bruins, who went 1-2 on a three-game trip through California,
have lost three of their last four.
Boston led 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by left winger Brad Marchand and
center Patrice Bergeron, the 11th for both, while center Gregory
Campbell scored his third at 9:35 of the third period. Both Bergeron
and Marchand assisted on the other's goal.
The Leafs scored on their first two power plays and the Bruins have
yielded six power play goals in the last four games.
"We're giving up some seam passes and backdoor passes," said Bruins
defenseman Johnny Boychuk. "We just got to be aware of where
everybody is on the ice."
"Too many breakdowns," added Bergeron.
[to top of second column]
On the flip side, the Bruins' power play went 0-of-3 and has
allowed two shorthanded goals and scored one power play in the
last eight games.
The Bruins have failed on 16 straight power plays.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, originally drafted by Toronto,
stopped 22 shots and didn't have his best game as he fell to
9-2-0 lifetime in the regular season against the Leafs.
Bernier was beaten by a Marchand rebound of right winger Reilly
Smith shot 3:38 into the game.
Toronto came right back to tie, but the goal may have been
offside. Kessel sent the puck back to the blue line and
defenseman Carl Gunnarson stepped into a slapper after the puck
looked like it went out of the zone. That shot was saved by
Rask. But Bozak scored on the rebound at 5:52.
The Bruins took the lead again at 10:55 when Bergeron got a
rebound of a shot by defenseman Zdeno Chara behind the net and
tucked it in behind Bernier on the backhand.
The Toronto power play then took over, with Bozak scoring again
at 12:47 of the first and Gardiner at 7:09 of the second.
Van Riemsdyk made it 4-2, beating Rask through a screen a minute
into the third period, but a Gardiner giveaway led to left
winger Daniel Paille setting up Campbell.
NOTES: D Dougie Hamilton was out of the Boston lineup with a
mild concussion, while fellow D Johnny Boychuk returned after
missing a game for the birth of twins. ... Toronto RW Colton Orr
was out with the flu. ... G Jonathan Bernier started for the
10th time in the last 11 Toronto games. ... The Leafs host the
Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night while the Bruins, in the midst
of seven of nine on the road, visit Dallas and Chicago on
Thursday and Sunday. ... The Bruins, in their 90th season, are
honoring decades throughout the season. Tuesday night it was the
2000s and P.J. Axelsson dropped the first puck. ... Bruins D
Zdeno Chara played in his 1,100th NHL game. ... Boston RW Shawn
Thornton, nine seconds into in his first home shift after his
15-game suspension for his attack on Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik,
fought LW Frazier McLaren.
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