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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bruins Outlast Maple Leafs 2-1 in a Shootout for Their Fifth Straight Victory

The Bruins closed out their final regular season game of 2014-15 at TD Garden with a frustrating but ultimately rewarding 2-1 shootout win over the Maple Leafs. Boston (41-25-13) set a season-high for shots on goal (50) but couldn't find a way to beat a mediocre goaltender like James Reimer (49 saves). Haha you might remember him from Game 7 of the Eastern Conference opening round series in 2013. Luckily, Toronto (29-43-7) is so bad (and tanking so hard) that the B's found a way to win a shootout (improving their record to a pathetic 4-9 this season).

After handing out their traditional year-end awards before the game, Boston came out hard in the first period and outshot Toronto 19-6. They couldn't find the back of the net but Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring just 19 seconds into the second. Reimer left a rare rebound on Brad Marchand's shot and Bergy was there for his 22nd goal of the season (tying Marchand for the team lead). David Krejci had the second assist on Boston's lone tally.

UNH product James van Riemsdyk, who seems to always kill the Bruins, tied it at 14:31 in the second period. A shot from the point deflected off Tuukka Rask (27 saves) and JVR was on the doorstep to poke it over the line. That was his team-leading 26th goal of the season and it was assisted by Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner.

Neither power-play couldn't generate anything: Boston's was 0-for-3 and Toronto's was 0-for-2. The Bruins had another dominant frame in the third (outshooting the Leafs 16-8) but they had nothing to show for it. Each team had three shots on goal in overtime which is typically when Boston plays well (9-4 this season; Toronto is 3-3).

In the shootout, Tyler Bozak and Krejci were stopped in the first round. Rask made the save on JVR to start the second round and Bergeron potted the only goal. Nazem Kadri was Toronto's final shooter and he couldn't find a way to get the puck past Rask.

At the moment, Boston is still in eighth-place in the Eastern Conference but they have 95 points-the same as the Penguins and Red Wings. The difference is that those clubs have a game in hand on the Bruins. Ottawa won 4-3 in overtime tonight vs. Washington (43-25-11) to remain three points back of the Bruins. By the time that the B's take the ice again on Wednesday (8, NBCSN) in DC, things will look much different since the Senators are in Toronto tomorrow night and then host Pittsburgh on Tuesday. To give you even more of an ice cream headache, the Bruins are only three points behind the Islanders and two behind the Capitals.

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