TORONTO The Battle for first place on Wednesday was won by the Boston Bruins.
The catch: there will be another one Saturday night at TD Garden against the very same Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bs got some timely offense from slumping scorers like David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and ended up taking away a 6-3 victory over Toronto at the Air Canada Center to take a one point lead in the Northeast Division. The win gives Boston a 12-0-1 record in the month of November that becomes their first month of hockey without a regulation loss since January of 1969.
The ultimate game-winner went to unlikely hero Benoit Pouliot, who just keeps coming up with big plays in clutch situations for the Black and Gold. Pouliots score originally looked like an insurance tally in the third period when he snaked through traffic to go top shelf on a Joe Corvo pass from behind the net, but it became the difference-maker when Matt Frattin scored on a bad angle goal from behind the net.
It was a goal that might go down as the weakest one allowed by Tim Thomas this season, but it didnt stop him from extending his career-best winning streak to nine games with the victory.
Lucic opened things up when he evened up the score in the first period with a power play strike, and both Krejci and Zdeno Chara followed with goals that had handed Boston a one-goal lead heading into the third. That set up Pouliot as the third line hero once again, and made one of Bostons bottom-six forwards the difference-maker yet again in a big game.
Lucic added his second goal of the night as an insurance marker in the third period, and Brad Marchand tossed in an empty-netter for good measure.
Joe Haggerty hands out his superlatives following the Bruins preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings
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BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.
Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.
“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.
“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”
Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason: