TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews and John Tavares had two goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their fifth straight victory by defeating the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Saturday night.
Mitch Marner additional an empty-netter and had three assists for Toronto, while Jack Campbell made 40 saves. Morgan Rielly chipped in with two assists of his own, and Tavares had one.
Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak scored for Boston, which got 31 stops from Linus Ullmark. Brad Marchand had two assists.
The Leafs and Bruins last played Nov. 15, 2019 — a stretch of more than 720 days — when Boston picked up a 4-2 victory in Toronto in the final days of the Mike Babcock era.
Tied at 1 late in the second period, Toronto’s strength play stayed hot by connecting for a fourth straight game. Marner moved into the offensive zone and fed a pass to Matthews, who saw the puck go off his skate, Ullmark’s pad and then back to the star center’s stick for him to bury his fifth goal of the season with 5:01 left.
Marchand then took a penalty for high-sticking on Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren with 1:57 left in the period to send the home side back on the man advantage.
Matthews promptly made Boston pay when he blasted a one-timer from the right faceoff course of action short side on Ullmark with 66 seconds left on the clock to make it 3-1.
The Bruins and their strength play got a chance early in the third, with Patrice Bergeron and Hall coming close. But Tavares came out of the penalty box and led Toronto’s counter before scoring off of a William Nylander setup for his second goal of the night and team-leading sixth overall at 2:53.
The Bruins got one back at 8:29 when Pastrnak fired his third past Campbell, but the Leafs held firm before Marner scored into the empty net to obtain Toronto’s fifth consecutive victory after dropping four straight.
Boston, which knocked Toronto out of the first round of the playoffs in both 2018 and 2019, opened the scoring on a strength play at 8:37 of the first after Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin was whistled for delay of game following a battle that saw Campbell’s net knocked off its moorings.
Coming off a four-goal game Thursday in a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, Bergeron took the initial one-time shot off a Marchand satisfy that Hall tipped past Campbell for his third.
Toronto tied things up with eight minutes left in the period on a strange play that required a lengthy review when Marner’s shot was tipped in tight by Tavares for his fifth of the campaign — and fourth in the last five games.
The Boston net was dislodged before the puck crossed the line, but the goal stood because officials ruled Bergeron caused the displacement, and the puck would have entered the goal under normal circumstances.
The Leafs had a terrific opportunity to go up 1-0 early in the period, but Bergeron, who was at the heart of the action throughout the opening 20 minutes, confined Rielly’s shot in the Boston crease with Ullmark out of position.
Campbell then denied Matt Grzelcyk’s blast at the other end before Craig Smith’s follow-up chance was cleared by David Kampf on the ordern that led to Muzzin’s delay-of-game infraction and Hall’s opener.
NOTES: Leafs defenseman Justin Holl was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game.
Bruins: great number Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Maple Leafs: Wraps up five-game homestand Monday night against Los Angeles.
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