for this game

Wheeler posts first hat trick as Bruins dump Maple Leafs

Nov 7, 2008 - 4:25 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- It was a change in sweaters that resulted in a breakout game for rookie Blake Wheeler.

Wheeler recorded his first career hat trick as the Boston Bruins continued a hot streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

The fifth overall pick of the 2004 draft who signed with Boston in the offseason after failing to come to terms with Phoenix, Wheeler gave his team a 2-0 lead in the first period with a power-play goal, netted an even-strength tally early in the second and completed the hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute of the third.

It was the first hat trick for Wheeler since he netted three goals in the University of Minnesota's 4-2 victory over Wisconsin in the semifinals of the 2007 WCHA Final Five tournament.

"At the Final Five my sophomore year against Wisconsin. It was at the Xcel (Energy) Center in front of a full house," Wheeler said, referring to his previous hat trick. "But the first one here is pretty sweet, so I guess it is like comparing apples and oranges."

It was also the first multi-goal performance by the 22-year-old, who opted to switch his jersey number to 26 after wearing No. 42 in the first 12 games of his career.

Wheeler decided to make the switch in numbers to honor his alma mater.

"I always kind of knew all along that I wanted to change from 42 at some point if they let me, and 26 is a number that a lot of good guys at Minnesota wore," he said. "Numbers don't mean all that much to me, but I though it would be a good one."

Defenseman Dennis Wideman added a power-play goal and an assist and David Krejci set up a pair of tallies for the Bruins, who avenged a 4-2 home loss to the Maple Leafs on October 23 in winning for the fifth time in six games.

Boston jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening period by taking advantage of its power-play opportunities.

After Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky was whistled for interference 3:57 into the contest, Wideman used a screen in front of goaltender Vesa Toskala to score his third goal of the season on a low, hard shot with one second remaining on the penalty. Defenseman Andrew Ference notched his 100th career assist on the play.

"I just threw the first one at the net and it went off, I think, the forward's skate," Wideman said of his goal. "It was one of those ones that you don't get a whole lot on it, but it ends up finding its way in."

On their next power play, the Bruins wasted little time, scoring just six seconds into the man advantage as Wideman sent another low shot toward the net that was tipped between the legs of Toskala by Wheeler 7:46 into the contest.

"I saw Wheels busting to the net and I threw it towards him, hoping he would get a stick on it, and he did," Wideman said.

It was the fourth goal of the season by Wheeler, who extended the advantage to 3-0 at 5:18 of the middle session.

"Every time he is on the ice, he seems to make things happen. A smart player," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Through training camp, he seems to be gaining more and more confidence, and those things are going his way right now. He is a good player, the real deal, and that's why we kept him."

After Boston won an individual battle to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Marco Sturm found Wheeler open in front of the net. The youngster calmly made a move past the sprawling Toskala and banged in the puck.

"I think that in the first and second period, they were better than us," said Toskala, who finished with 30 saves. "They were quicker and winning the battles. They showed up ready to play."

The Maple Leafs, who have surrendered 16 goals over their last three games, got on the board early in the third period, when the Bruins' defense was unable to clear a rebound after goaltender Tim Thomas made a save. Alex Steen took advantage, getting a stick on the puck to tap it in for his second goal of the season.

It remained a 3-1 game until the final stages, when defenseman Zdeno Chara all but put away the contest with an unassisted goal with 2:45 remaining.

Mikhail Grabovski quickly answered with his fifth tally in his last three games, but Wheeler came back with his final goal with 53 seconds left.

Thomas, who entered the contest as the league leader in save percentage (.944) and second in goals-against average (1.83), finished with 34 saves.

Toronto, which went 0-for-4 on the power play, dropped to 2-3-1 in its last six contests and 3-3-1 on the road.

"We got ourselves into penalty trouble and they took advantage," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "For two periods, we didn't move the puck very well, and it slowed everything down. All we talked about between the second and third periods was, get moving, get the puck into the forwards' hands, make short passes and speed the game up."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 2 2
    BOSTON 2 1 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 3 (ANDREW FERENCE, DAVID KREJCI)
    5:56
    BOS - (PP) BLAKE WHEELER 4 (DENNIS WIDEMAN) 7:46
    2ND PRD: BOS - BLAKE WHEELER 5 (DAVID KREJCI, MARCO STURM) 5:18
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 2 (MATT STAJA

    Nov 6 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    BOSTON 5
    3RD PRD: BOS - (EN) BLAKE WHEELER 6 (MARCO STURM) 19:07

    Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 5  3rd - 0:53Nov 6 9:22 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    BOSTON 4
    3RD PRD: TOR - MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI 6 (UNASSISTED) 18:06

    Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 4  3rd - 1:54Nov 6 9:21 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    BOSTON 4
    3RD PRD: BOS - SHAWN THORNTON 1 (UNASSISTED) 17:15

    Maple Leafs 1, Bruins 4  3rd - 2:45Nov 6 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    BOSTON 3
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 2 (MATT STAJAN, PAVEL KUBINA) 2:13

    Maple Leafs 1, Bruins 3  3rd - 17:47Nov 6 8:56 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 0
    BOSTON 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 3 (ANDREW FERENCE, DAVID KREJCI)
    5:56
    BOS - (PP) BLAKE WHEELER 4 (DENNIS WIDEMAN) 7:46
    2ND PRD: BOS - BLAKE WHEELER 5 (DAVID KREJCI, MARCO STURM) 5:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST

    Nov 6 8:33 PM
  • 5
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs 0, Bruins 3  2nd - 14:42Nov 6 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BOSTON 3
    2ND PRD: BOS - BLAKE WHEELER 5 (DAVID KREJCI, MARCO STURM) 5:18

    Maple Leafs 0, Bruins 3  2nd - 14:42Nov 6 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    BOSTON 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 3 (ANDREW FERENCE, DAVID KREJCI)
    5:56
    BOS - (PP) BLAKE WHEELER 4 (DENNIS WIDEMAN) 7:46
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 10 10


    Nov 6 7:42 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BOSTON 2
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) BLAKE WHEELER 4 (DENNIS WIDEMAN) 7:46

    Maple Leafs 0, Bruins 2  1st - 12:14Nov 6 7:24 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BOSTON 1
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 3 (ANDREW FERENCE, DAVID KREJCI)
    5:56

    Maple Leafs 0, Bruins 1  1st - 14:04Nov 6 7:18 PM