Thomas sparkles as Bruins down Maple Leafs againNov 29, 2006 - 3:22 AM
Thomas made 45 saves and recorded his fourth straight road victory in leading the Bruins to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Shean Donovan, Glen Murray, Marco Sturm and Brad Boyes scored for the Bruins, who have won two straight games in Toronto. Boston downed the Maple Leafs, 3-1, on Saturday.
"It was really big win, especially with us with some games in hand," Thomas said of his club, which trails the Maple Leafs in the Northeast Division by six points but has played four fewer games. "The coach spoke to us this morning and said that this is the closest thing we have to a playoff game so far this year. We need to beat teams like the Maple Leafs to get back in the race."
"It means a lot when you have your goalie playing on the top of his game and making great saves," said Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, who had an assist in over 31 minutes of ice time. "Everybody is feeding off of that and gaining confidence. (Thomas) was standing tall again tonight, and that was one of the reasons why we won."
Murray notched the go-ahead goal at 5:35 of the third period when he took a backpass from Petr Tenkrat and beat Toronto goaltender Andrew Raycroft with a slap shot from the faceoff circle for a 2-1 lead.
"I've seen (Raycroft) a little bit the last few years," Murray said. "I know his tendencies, but it happened so quick. I was just trying to get the shot on net, and luckily it went upstairs and he went down in the butterfly."
The Bruins, who are 7-2-0 in the their last nine games, scored an insurance goal when Sturm picked up a loose puck in the slot and slid the puck between Raycroft's pads with 2:53 left in the third period for a 3-1 edge.
The puck was loose because Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle caught his skate in a rut and coughed up the puck to Sturm, who quickly capitalized for his fourth goal this season. Kaberle left the ice in obvious pain.
"It's a mild sprain, a slight sprain, and we'll see how he is tomorrow. He may be on the ice tomorrow," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. Raycroft recorded 20 saves for Toronto, which slipped to 2-4-1 in its last seven.
Nik Antropov scored the only goal for the Leafs when Michael Peca's shot went off his skate past Thomas. The goal was originally waved off, but allowed after a replay review.
"The goal went off his (Antropov's) skate but that was a pretty hard shot by Peca," Thomas said. "It was a tough rebound to control with a guy coming hard to the net like that, and you just try to make the stop."
The Leafs had plenty of shots on goal, but were blanked in six power-play opportunities.
"We had a much better night than we did Saturday night, but we've got to put the puck in the net on the power-play opportunities," Maurice said of his team, which was 1-for-10 with the extra skater in its two losses against the Bruins.
Boston goes for its third consecutive win when its hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
"We're trying to climb the standings," Murray said. "Every win is huge for us because we got behind the eight-ball early in the season."
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