Goaltender Tuukka Rask bested Maple Leafs counterpart James Reimer, blocking each of the 21 shots registered on his tab. His skating mates offered no shortage of support on his property, as evidenced by the 22 shot blocks they combined for.
With that, the Bruins extended their winning streak over the Maple Leafs to seven games, dating back to the full six-game season series in 2011-12. They have cultivated points out of each of their last eight encounters dating back to March 31, 2011.
One can only speculate if the contested nature of the game was influenced, at least in part, by pregame and in-game personnel bumps on Boston’s front.
But based on how they handled their arrangement en route to two more points in the standings, here are the four ice chips worth picking up the most from Saturday’s action.
Barely 48 hours removed from what was easily his most forgettable individual outing in the young season―marred by six goals against and a .806 save percentage―Rask turned around and turned in his brightest night of 2013.
Naturally, it does not get much better than a 1.000 save percentage and zero goals against. And granted, Rask faced a season-low 21 shots, matching his workload from opening night against the New York Rangers.
Nevertheless, his emotional elasticity and unyielding poise came through as needed.
Reunited with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley on the third line, Bourque brought the most literal definition to the phrase “crashing the net” in the ninth minute of action to polish off a gritty rush.
It proved to be his only shot on goal of the game, but timing trumped frequency on the night of this netminders’ duel.
Furthermore, there is ample reason to believe that Thursday's sit-out was the requisite wake-up call for the journeyman winger, who helped give the Bruins the depth they needed to tip the scale in a defense-oriented contest.
Bourque’s reinsertion was all but inevitable with injuries to fellow forwards Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. Those cavities in the depth chart also required Jamie Tardif to step in while Lane MacDermid put in his second consecutive big league appearance.
In turn, one-quarter of Boston’s offensive dozen was comprised of players who have seen substantial action in Providence this season. They were later down to 11 forwards when Brad Marchand was withdrawn for the third period for reasons head coach Claude Julien termed “cautionary,” according to a team Tweet.
But whether they played three minutes, as MacDermid did, or 19 as Milan Lucic did, everyone had worthwhile involvement in this tight contest. Marchand was the only Bruins skater not to notch either a hit or a shot on goal.
Tardif was Marchand’s only company among the non-shooters, but tallied two hits in his NHL debut. A total of 29 checks were distributed among 15 individual Bruins.
Rask and the rest of the penalty-killing brigade was spotless after allowing the opposition to convert one apiece in each of the Bruins’ previous two outings. Rask only needed to deal with two Toronto power-play shots over the course of three segments lasting a cumulative 5:52.
The exact occurrence of some of those infractions would be one of the few nitpicks to find in Boston’s game.
Any time a team safeguards a one-goal edge for as long as the Bruins did, let alone a 1-0 differential, going shorthanded late in the closing frame automatically amounts to pushing one’s luck.
Even before the halfway mark elapsed, captain Zdeno Chara squandered what would have been a power play for his own club with 1:45 gone in the third period. When partner Johnny Boychuk drew a boarding penalty, Chara was compelled to come to Boychuk’s aid and confront perpetrator Leo Komarov, earning himself a matching two-minute minor for roughing in the process.
Later, at 11:24 and then at 17:35, respectively, Dennis Seidenberg and Tyler Seguin elevated the drama by garnering their own two-minute citations for interference and slashing.
It amounted to nothing on this night, but it is not a habit any team wants to form in a contest such as Saturday’s.