Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien wanted to see more of a defensive effort from his charges on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs than he did in Thursday night’s 7-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
What he got was a spirited, hard hitting match that confirmed this team’s mental and physical toughness – a fantastic response to adversity that gained the Bruins a 1-0 victory over their divisional rivals in Toronto on Saturday night.
“Defensively, I don’t think I remember the last time we were this bad – the breakdowns and mistakes we made,” coach Claude Julien said on Friday, just hours after his Bruins gave up seven goals against Buffalo on a ridiculous 40 shots.
On Saturday, the Bruins defense allowed just 21 shots for the game and just seven in the final frame.
Chris Bourque scored the only goal of the game at 8:54 of the 1st period, taking a perfect pass from Chris Kelly across the crease and jamming the puck in the net.
“I’m just happy to contribute,” Bourque said during the first-period intermission. “Pevs and Kelly made a hell of a play, and I just put it in the net.”
The Maple Leafs didn’t have many opportunities, but they got their best ones in the latter half of the final period. Holding the 1-0 lead, the first of two questionable penalties against Boston went to Dennis Seidenberg, called for interference at 11:24 and Boston’s clutch penalty kill held…
…but then Tyler Seguin took a slashing penalty with 2:25 remaining and Toronto pulled goalie James Reimer to give them a 6-4 advantage, but again the Bruins clamped down to blanket the power play and Boston held on from there to take the win.
The Bruins lines took turns pelting Reimer, but he stopped 33 of 34 attempts, many from point-plank range.
“James Reimer gave us a chance,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “That’s all you can ask of your goaltender. I thought he made some big stops.”
Tuukka Rask stopped all 21 of Toronto’s shots for the Bruins, who improved their record to 6-1-1 and now get a couple of days off before heading to Montreal to take on the Habs on Wednesday, while the Maple leafs try to improve upon their 4-4-0 record on Monday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
After the game Carlyle lamented his team’s propensity for sloppy puck handling at times while praising the Bruins for taking advantage.
“That’s the way they play, and they’re a good team,” Carlyle said. “They did what they had to do to be effective to play a road game and we didn’t do enough of the things that we’re capable of to establish a strong home game in the 60 minutes.”
Maple Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf echoed his coach’s sentiments: “We were close, and close isn’t good enough, We did a lot of good things but we did a lot of things that we felt we could be better at.”
The Bruins understand. After all, they were the ones saying that just two nights ago.