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One of the significant numbers in Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs was five, meaning the Bruins had five full days of rest in between a win Sunday against the Devils and Saturday’s tilt. Another important number was 41, for the age of Mark Recchi as he finished with two goals to lead the Bruins to an even more significant number: seven goals in a 7-5 win over the Maple Leafs.
Recchi’s two goals tied the game after the Bruins were down 3-2 in the first period and 4-3 in the second period. With the win, the Bruins held strong in the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and with only eight games left, they remain five points ahead of second-place Washington. Still, Claude Julien isn’t satisfied.
“We’ve got our own issues,” Julien said. “Just because we’re in a playoff spot doesn’t mean that everything’s OK. Our play in the last month and a half hasn’t been up to par. We need to get better in our game. So those games do mean something for us. It’s about fine-tuning ourselves and getting some momentum heading into the playoffs.”
The Bruins and Maple Leafs each scored three goals in the first period. Chuck Kobasew (at 5:40), Michael Ryder (at 8:50), and Recchi (at 19:33) scored for the B’s. Nikolai Kulemin (at 4:01), John Mitchell (12:04), and Alexei Ponikarovsky (17:00) scored in the first for the Leafs.
Ponikarovsky scored his second goal six minutes into the second period to give the Leafs the 4-3 lead. Recchi scored his second of the game to tie it nine minutes into the period. Shawn Thornton scored less than three minutes later to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead, and David Krejci scored less than two minutes after that to chase rookie goaltender Justin Pogge, who allowed six goals overall.
Blake Wheeler scored a back-breaking goal at 17:04 of the third period to put the game out of reach. Niklas Hagman scored the lone goal of the third period to get the Leafs closer, but it was not enough in the end.
Manny Fernandez started in net for the Bruins and finished with 33 saves against 38 shots on goal. He allowed three goals in the first period, but settled down to allow two more the rest of the way. Fernandez got the start because the Bruins also play Sunday, and Julien didn’t want to start Tim Thomas on back-to-back nights.
The Bruins do indeed play Sunday night against the Flyers.