Toronto at Boston

Eight is enough: Leafs turn up O and blow out B's wire reports

BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs might have been the only ones thinking they were in a playoff chase a month ago. Now, the rest of the Eastern Conference better pay attention.

Bryan McCabe had a goal and an assist during a four-goal second period to lead the resurgent Maple Leafs to an 8-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov also scored in the second as Toronto turned a tight game into a rout. Antropov finished with two goals.

Toronto, which looked to be buried outside the conference's tight playoff chase three weeks ago, won for the seventh time in 10 games. The Maple Leafs are six points behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot.

"I think it's something all of us believed in clearly," left wing Alex Steen said. "We've certainly kept the faith and believed we can make the playoffs. The last five weeks or so we've played pretty solid hockey."

Toronto scored four power-play goals.

"Were going to have to stay in the fight in the games were not playing those guys and then do what we did tonight," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "We've got to win those games against the teams were trying to catch."

Boston has had big problems lately. The Bruins, who won six straight before a current three-game losing streak, have lost a pair of lopsided games this week, also dropping a 10-2 decision against Washington on Monday.

"I don't think it's time to panic," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "It's certainly time to make the adjustments and address. I don't know if it's we're totally out of sync or the pressure. We've just got to take a step back."

Peter Schaefer and Phil Kessel had the goals for Boston.

"I'm not going to take any credit away from Toronto. They played a good game, too. They're fighting for their lives," Bruins center Marc Savard said. "It's like weve got to get back to doing that for us."

Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin played his 1,300th career game, becoming the NHL's 46th player to reach that mark, and scored his team-leading 30th goal. He has 553 in his career.

The game was tied 1-1 after one period before the Maple Leafs chased Boston goaltender Tim Thomas in the second.

"We're just a little fragile right now," Thomas said. "We haven't really been that all year."

Ponikarovsky scored when his shot caromed in off the right post, making it 2-1 at 1:17. McCabe's wrister from the left circle ricocheted off Boston forward Chuck Kobasew's skate and past Thomas just 3:31 later.

The Bruins' goaltender then allowed a pair of weak goals before being pulled with 8:10 left in the period.

Stajan scored on a tough angle, slipping a shot between Thomas' pads from along the goal line outside the right post, to make it 4-1.

Antropov's 25th of the season, a wrist shot from the right circle, made it 5-1. Thomas came out and slid kind of awkwardly to his side as the puck slipped under his body.

After Thomas was replaced by Alex Auld, he headed straight for the runway and down the ramp that leads to the dressing room before returning to the bench late in the period.

Darcy Tucker had a power-play goal in the third, Antropov added his second, and Sundin scored with 4:55 to play.

Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead on Schaefer's goal 11:40 into the game, but Toronto tied it on Jason Blake's power-play score 3:02 later.


  • The Maple Leafs entered with the league's 24th ranked power play.
  • It was the teams' sixth meeting, with Boston winning the first three.
  • Thomas was also pulled in his last start at Washington on Monday.
  • Sundin has six goals and seven assists in his last seven games.
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The goals flow and the smiles are wide as the Leafs explode for four goals in the second. (AP)
The goals flow and the smiles are wide as the Leafs explode for four goals in the second. (AP)
Related Links
Toronto  (30-29-10) «1438
Boston (35-25-7)1012
Three Stars
B. McCabe

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
T. Kaberle

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
V. Toskala

Saves: 27
Save Pct.: .931

Related Video

Scoring Summary
11:40Peter Schaefer (8), Backhand Shot. Assist: David Krejci, Andrew Ference
14:42Power Play - Jason Blake (13), Snap Shot. Assist: Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe
01:17Alexei Ponikarovsky (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Ian White
04:48Power Play - Bryan McCabe (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Alexander Steen, Mats Sundin
08:05Matt Stajan (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Jason Blake, Darcy Tucker
11:50Power Play - Nik Antropov (25), Wrist Shot. Assist: Bryan McCabe, Mats Sundin
06:44Power Play - Darcy Tucker (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jason Blake, Tomas Kaberle
08:16Nik Antropov (26), Backhand Shot. Assist: Alexander Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo
15:05Mats Sundin (30), Tip-In. Assist: Bryan McCabe, Alexander Steen
19:24Phil Kessel (16), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mark Stuart, Zdeno Chara
Penalty Summary
07:54Wideman, 2 min, Hooking
09:33Steen, 2 min, Hooking
14:23Axelsson, 2 min, Hooking
03:09Murray, 2 min, Hooking
10:27Chara, 2 min, Cross-Checking
17:43Sundin, 2 min, Interference
01:35McCabe, 2 min, Interference
04:04Stajan, 2 min, Holding
05:32Ference, 2 min, Tripping
10:59Thornton, 2 min, Roughing
15:48Hnidy, 5 min, Fighting
15:48Ponikarovsky, 2 min, Slashing
15:48Hnidy, 10 min, Game Misconduct
15:48Sturm, 2 min, Slashing
18:49Tlusty, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
Vesa Toskala59:27272
Alex Auld28:10143
Tim Thomas31:50185
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 15483
Referees - Paul Devorski, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Darren Gibbs, Mark Shewchyk
Other Games
Mon 4 Final
Pho 2
Min 2 Final
Car 3
Pitt 2 Final
Fla 5
Ana 0 Final
Colo 1
Ott 0 Final
LA 2
TB 2 Final
Phi 3
NYR 4 Final
Nash 2 Final
Van 6