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Bruins finish near flawless November with win over Toronto

Dec 1, 2011 - 6:23 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Milan Lucic scored two goals to help the Boston Bruins stay hot with a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

David Krejci added a goal and two assists, while Zdeno Chara had a goal and a helper to give the Bruins a 12-0-1 record in November and help the team overtake Toronto for first place in the Northeast Division.

Boston entered the game one point behind the Maple Leafs for the division's top spot.

Tim Thomas made 34 saves to earn the win.

"It was everyone stepping up, doing their job and playing like we ended off last year," Lucic said.

Mikhail Grabovski, Joffrey Lupul and Matt Frattin netted the goals for Toronto, which had its three-game win streak snapped.

Jonas Gustavsson stopped 34-of-39 shots in a losing effort.

Toronto struck first at the 7:29 mark of the first period when the Maple Leafs raced down the ice on a power-play rush. Clarke MacArthur sent a pass from the left point down to the right of the net and Grabovski finished with a backhander into the far side of the net.

But the Bruins answered with less than five minutes left in the period. A pair of Toronto penalties gave Boston a 5-on-3 power play and seconds after the first penalty expired, Lucic sent a hard wrister from a tight angle to the right of the net under the crossbar.

Toronto's Phil Kessel had a chance to give the Leafs the lead back later in the period on a breakaway, but he settled the outlet pass down too late and his shot was stoned by Thomas.

Boston then took the lead 3:33 into the second when Nathan Horton raced into the offensive zone, beat a defender and sent a shot towards the net. Gustavsson made the initial save but Krejci was there to clean up the rebound.

Toronto knotted the game at two less than four minutes later when Kessel sent a pass across the ice to Lupul on a 2-on-1 rush and the winger one-timed the puck into the twine.

Boston took its lead back with 4:30 to go in the second. After a Toronto turnover, Chara received a pass on the left side of the ice and slipped a wrister under the right arm of Gustavsson.

The Bruins extended their lead to two goals 3:03 into the third on Benoit Pouliot's snap shot from inside the right circle that fired into the top-left corner, but Toronto made it a one-goal game again three minutes later when Frattin sent a puck towards the net from the left corner that deflected off of Thomas' skate and into the net.

Lucic then put the game out reach with 4:39 left in regulation on a tip-in from in front of the net off a Maple Leafs' turnover inside their own zone.

Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal to account for the final margin.

"That's a good hockey team," Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said about Boston. "We looked like we got a little weary late in the game."

Game Notes

The last time the Bruins earned a point in 13 straight games was during a 17- game unbeaten stretch from January 5-February 13, 1983...Lupul's goal extended his point streak to seven games (3G, 8A)...Chara's goal and assist in the game gave him a career-best 14 points in November...Boston has won all three meetings with Toronto this season by a 19-5 margin...The teams will meet on Thursday in Boston to complete a home-and-home series.