Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs that snapped a three-game losing streak on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Centre.
GOLD STAR: Pavel Zacha kicked it into another gear in the third period and scored a pair of goals as the Boston Bruins pulled away from the Maple Leafs in the final 20 minutes. Zacha scored the insurance goal in the third period when the Bruins forward threw in a stick fake in the high slot and then buried a sizzling wrist shot past Ilya Samsonov. It was a flourish at the end of a dominant shift where he held onto the puck quite a bit in the offensive zone. Then he added another one a couple of minutes later when Zacha buried a one-timer in front of the net off a David Krejci dish for a two-goal game. Zacha finished with two goals and a plus-2 along with a team-high six shots on net in 15:28 of ice time that really added to Boston’s attack as time went along.
Pavel Zacha answers for the Bruins.
What a shot.
4-2 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/17QOloaT68
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 2, 2023
BLACK EYE: Tough night for Ilya Samsonov, who was beaten a few times by quality shots but also let in a soft one early with a fluttering Brandon Carlo shot from the right faceoff circle. In all he finished with five goals allowed on 29 shots in the loss and was very much outplayed by Linus Ullmark at the other end of the nice as the Bruins netminder stood on his head making 14 saves in the first period, and then never let up afterward. It went beyond Samsonov, obviously, as Mitch Marner was a minus-4 and William Nylander loaded up on shots missing the net and being on the ice for goals against in a combination that’s always to be avoided. But it looked like the same old Maple Leafs trying to be high flying and susceptible to attack in the defense and goaltending departments.
TURNING POINT: After faltering in the third period a few times during the three-game losing streak, the Boston Bruins once again got back to separating from opponents in the final 20 minutes as the B’s outscored the Leafs 3-1 in the final period. It started with AJ Greer’s game-winner as fourth line scoring and then continued with Pavel Zacha chipping in a pair of goals that gave the Czech Mate Line a couple of goals to head into the All-Star break. Certainly, the win over the Leafs was much more according to the usual Black and Gold script that’s become like clockwork in the first half of the season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give it up for AJ Greer, who scored the game-winning goal for Boston’s fourth line after getting a puck off the wall that Jakub Lauko won during a fierce board battle. Greer sped up the ice, fought through a stick check that ended with the Leafs defenders stick stuck under his arm and then buried a wrist shot under the bar that gave the B’s their game winner. Then on the very next faceoff Greer dropped the gloves with Wayne Simmonds after the two players had plenty of words when the Maple Leafs and Bruins played in Boston a few weeks ago.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of Boston Bruins defensemen that have scored two shorthanded goals in a season dating back to 1992-93 after Derek Forbort joined that club with Boston’s first goal on Wednesday night. The other Bruins D-men are Zdeno Chara (2016-17), Ray Bourque (1993-94 and 1995-96) and Don Sweeney (1993-94).
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think we got back to our identity tonight and that was Boston Bruins hockey. It was fun to watch.” –Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery to NESN following the Wednesday night win.