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Savard's hat trick helps Bruins skate past Toronto 7-2 in #81's return to The Hub

The Bruins were able to skate past the Toronto Maple Leafs with ease in a game that featured 9 goals and plenty of rough stuff. This game was supposed to be all about the Leafs off-season addition, but it was former Leafs property Tuukka Rask and newly-extended Bruin Marc Savard who shined the brightest tonight. Savard recorded his third career hat trick, while Rask (31 saves) continuously shutdown the Leafs all night long.

The Bruins jumped out to an early lead 5:28 into the game when Derek Morris' shot from the blue line was tipped by Patrice Bergeron and then deflected again by Marco Sturm for Sturm's 9th goal of the season.

Shawn Thornton and Colton Orr dropped the gloves immediately on the ensuing face-off. The heavyweight bout fittingly ended in a draw. The only losers in this one were the hometown fans that were exposed to Colton Orr's creepy 'stache.

The Leafs' attempt to swing the momentum with fisticuffs didn't pay off as the B's found the back just moments later at 6:01 when Marc Savard jumped on a juicy rebound just lying in the slot and put it home for the early 2-0 lead.

The rough stuff continued a few moments later when Mark Stuart and Jamal Mayers shed the mittens as they were trailing the play. Mayers landed some quick shots and took Stuart down to the ice. Stuart got back up and wanted to continue the bout, but the linesmen quickly stepped in. Somehow the combatants only received 2 minutes each for roughing.

The Bruins extended their lead to 3-0 2:09 into the second period after #81 turned the puck over in his own zone and Zdeno Chara uncorked a slapper from the blue line that deflected off the stick of Leafs defenseman Francois Beauchemin and past Joey MacDonald.

Early in the middle period, Blake Wheeler pushed Ian White from behind into the endboards. A few shifts later, Colton Orr tried to send a message to Blake Wheeler and jumped him. Orr was tagged with 2 minutes for roughing and two minutes for interference for his actions.

The B's made it 4-0 with a power play goal with 5:15 remaining in the second period. Michael Ryder had the puck in "Gretzky's office" and a fed a pass out to Marc Savard, who found the back of the net for his second of the night.

After giving up 4 goals on 23 shots in the first two periods, Joey MacDonald was lifted in favor of Vesa Toskala to start the third period.

Mark Recchi's 550th career goal made it 5-0 Bruins at 6:36 of the third period. Patrice Bergeron weaved his way through the Leafs defense and left a short pass for Recchi near the crease before Recchi directed the puck past Toskala for the milestone marker.

Johnny Boychuk's first NHL goal on a one-time slapper made it 6-0 at 12:26 of the third period.

The Bruins struck again just 19 seconds later when Marc Savard's shot from the right wing half wall found the back of the net for his 3rd career hat trick and a flurry of hats came raining down on the ice at The Garden.

Steve Begin and Jamal Mayers squared off as soon as the puck drop after Savard's goal. Mayers got in a few early scoring blows, but Begin scored the takedown.

Toronto finally got on the board with 4:14 remaining to take the shutout away from Tuukka Rask. Matt Stajan set up behind the net and sent a pass to Niklas Hagman at the right circle, who beat Rask for the first time on the night.

Andrew Ference and Lee Stempniak got into after Stempniak ran Johnny Boychuk from behind and Ference came to the aid of his teammate. Ference and Stempniak each received double minors for roughing, while Wayne Primeau received a 10 minute misconduct, presumably for being the third man in on the altercation.

The Leafs cut the lead to 7-2 with 2:02 left in the game as Mikhail Grabovski deflected a Luke Schenn shot past Rask to account for the final score.

Final - 12.5.2009 1 2 3 Total
Toronto Maple Leafs 0 0 2 2
Boston Bruins 2 2 3 7

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- #81 was booed and jeered by The Garden fans every time he touched the puck tonight.

- #81 finished the night with 16:28 of ice time and was a -3 on the night with 1 shot on goal and 2 take-aways, including one that led directly to Zdeno Chara's goal.

- Is there anyone left out there that doubts that Tuukka Rask is ready to play at the NHL level?

- Marc Savard became the first Bruin since #81 to record a hat trick.

- Zdeno Chara was +4 on the night with a goal and an assist

- 5 Bruins had multi-point games (Savard, Chara, Bergeron, Sturm and Bitz)

- Patrice Bergeron dominated in the face-off circle again tonight winning 75% of his 20 draws.

- Tuukka Rask got his 2nd assist of the season on Mark Recchi's 550th career NHL goal.

"Obviously, we didn't play well tonight. I didn't play well. I don't know what else to say... There was pressure, but that was probably the worst game I have played in a while."

- #81

"I love our fans, so give it to him more. I could care less"

- Shawn Thornton on B's fans booing #81

- In a scheduling quirk, the Bruins will meet the Maple Leafs again at TD Garden on Thursday night. The B's are off until then, but the Leafs will travel home for two games against the Thrashers and Islanders before heading back to Boston for a re-match with the B's.

3 Stars (as selected by 98.5 The Sports Hub)
1st Star: Marc Savard (Hat Trick)
2nd Star: Patrice Bergeron (2 assists, +2, 75% on face-offs)
3rd Star: Tuuka Rask (31 saves on 33 shots, assist)