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Sunday, October 26, 2014

You Can Always Trust The Maple Leafs to Make You Feel Better About Your Favorite Team

We wondered how the Bruins would respond in their first full game without captain Zdeno Chara and you have to say that Saturday's 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre was early proof that Boston (5-5-0) can still be a good team without him. Granted Toronto (3-4-1) is a perpetual mess always in search of a No. 1 goaltender but the B's will take two points however they get them these days.

It should have been a shutout for Boston since Tuukka Rask made 32 saves and the Leafs didn't score their lone goal until it was garbage time: Richard Pannik put the puck in the net after a scramble at 14:27 of the third period (when it was 4-0 Bruins).

This felt like a vintage B's win since they got contributions from guys all over the lineup: a power play goal, a shorthanded goal and three points from Dougie Hamilton (1 goal, 2 assists) which tied a career-high. Patrice Bergeron's two assists put him over 500 career points, now 13th on the Bruins' all-time scoring list.

Carl Soderberg bagged the power play goal just 3:27 into the contest, his third goal of the season. Hamilton's shot was mishit, right to Bergeron who also didn't square it up but fortunately it went right to Soderberg who used his fast Swedish hands to jam it past Jonathan Bernier.

David Krejci scored a highlight reel goal in the second period at 15:58 after he blew by a clearly gassed Phil Kessel and had his initial shot stopped by Bernier before he swatted in the rebound. Dennis Seidenberg (game-high 25:59, +2, 2 blocked shots and 3 hits) and Hamilton provided the assists on Krejci's third goal of the season.

Boston sewed it up with a pair of pretty goals early in the third period. Gregory Campbell scored a shorthanded goal (his 2nd goal of the season) at 2:32, a one-timer from Daniel Paille after a killer forecheck. Hamilton, one of numerous B's that were near their hometown, put the exclamation point on one of their better performances of the season with a filthy goal where he stickhandled through multiple guys then used his speed to find space before roofing a shot by James Reimer. Bergeron and Reilly Smith assisted on Hamilton's second goal of the season.

The Bruins return to TD Garden on Tuesday (7, NESN) to face the Wild (4-2-0) who hung seven goals on Tampa Bay this evening in a 7-2 blowout win. Things ease up as Boston goes back to Buffalo (2-7-0) on Thursday (7, NESN) but then they host sneaky good Ottawa (4-1-1) on Saturday (7, NESN). On the surface, you'd say that the B's should get at least four points out of the next week but keep in mind that the Wild and Senators are probably better than you think.

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