BOSTON – The Bruins were happy to be back from an excruciating road trip through California for a one-game respite at TD Garden, but they couldn’t take advantage of the home cooking.
The B’s suddenly leaky penalty kill allowed a pair of PP goals to the Leafs, and Phil Kessel assisted on three of Toronto’s four scores in a 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. The loss coupled with a Tampa Bay Lightning win over the New York Rangers put the Bruins in a tie with the Bolts first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since the first month of the season.
The Bruins got on the board first with a nice looking goal courtesy of Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron. Smith dangled through three defenders before powering a backhander at the net, and Marchand flipped the rebound past Jonathan Bernier. But the Leafs tied it up less than three minutes later on a Tyler Bozak rebound score.
That same thing happened again later in the period as Patrice Bergeron collected a rebound off the end boards, and stuffed it past Bernier. Then Bozak scored again to tie it up two minutes later, and the Bruins lost all their momentum after controlling play for much of the first period.
Rask faltered on the go-ahead goal – a power play wrist shot for Jake Gardiner from the right dot that flat beat the B’s goalie high to the glove side – and then was beaten glove side again by James van Riemsdyk in the third period from the right wing in the face-off circle.
The Merlot Line gave the Bruins a jolt when Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell used a suffocating fore-check to force a Jake Gardiner turnover, and Campbell flipped the backhand past Bernier. But that was as close as the Bruins would get to the Leafs on Tuesday night.