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Bruins fall to Leafs in shootout 4-3

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The Bruins had a chance to clinch the Northeast Division crown with a win tonight, but the B's could not hold on to their third period lead as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the home team in a shootout at TD Garden.

Toronto took advantage of a funny bounce to record a flukey first goal 7:06 into the game. Luke Schenn's slap pass from the point hit Tomas Kaberle's skate in the slot and the deflected past a confused Tim Thomas.

With Zdeno Chara in the box for holding early in the second period, Brad Marchand found the back of the net for his 5th shorthanded goal. Marchand broke in along the left wing boards, cut to the middle of the ice, and elevated a backhand past the glove of James Reimer 2:09 of the second period.

David Krejci made it 2-1 just 59 seconds after Marchand's goal opened the scoring for the B's. Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic and at the right post and deposited the puck into the back of the net to finish off a "tic-tac-goal" play between Krejci, Lucic, and Nathan Horton. The goal was Krejci's 13th of the season. Lucic's assist sealed his membership in the 30-30-100 club (30 goals, 30 assists, 100 PIMs).

Joffrey Lupul was able to get the inside position on Adam McQuaid at the top of the crease to knot the game up with a power play goal at 2-2 7:06 into the middle period, while Gregory Campbell (high-sticking) made the skate of shame from the box to the bench. Phil Kessel had the puck behind the goal line and fed it out front to Lupul. Kessel's pass deflected off the skate of Lupul and into the Bruins' net.

The Bruins struck back just 1:25 later on a goal from Andrew Ference. Patrice Bergeron gained the offensive zone and left a drop pass for the trailer Andrew Ference at the top of the left circle. Ference's quick shot got past Reimer for his 3rd marker of the '10-'11 campaign.

About midway through the second period, things started to get chippy on the ice. At 11:06 Milan Lucic and Jay Rosehill shed the mittens and swapped haymakers in a long bout that featured Lucic using some classic boxing technique.

Joffrey Lupul's second goal of the game tied it for the Leafs at 3-3 with 12:03 remaining in the third period. Phil Kessel applied forechecking pressure on Mark Recchi and poked the puck free. Patrice skated to the loose puck and tried to make a tip pass, but Joffrey Lupul was there to pick it off and bury a shot.

43 seconds into an action-packed overtime session, Mikhail Grabovski was awarded a penalty shot on a questionable call. Grabovski did not appear to have a clear path to the net and took a high-stick or a hook from Steven Kampfer, but was able to get off a shot on goal. Although, the play did not look like it warranted a penalty shot, one was still awarded to the Leafs. On the shot, Tim Thomas stoned Grobovski with a right pad kick-out. Puck don't lie.

Neither team was able to pop the puck in the net in the extra 5, so it was off to the skills competition.

Shootout:

Boston: Tyler Seguin's shot went wide right.

Toronto: Phil Kessel also Norwood-ed his shot.

Boston: Michael Ryder predictably skated straight down the slot and took a snap shot that sailed over the net.

Toronto: Nazem Kadri skated in making several short fakes and a leg kick deke before roofing a backhander over Thomas' glove. [GOAL]

Boston: Rich Peverley's wrister was knocked over the crossbar by Reimer's glove to seal the win for the Maple Leafs.


Final - 3.31.2011 1 2 3 OT SO Total
Toronto Maple Leafs 1 1 1 0 1 4
Boston Bruins 0 3 0 0 0 3

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Notes:

- Shawn Thornton (stitches on forehead) and Johnny Boychuk (healthy) were the scratches for the Bruins tonight.

- They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Michael Ryder and Claude Julien must be bat shit crazy. Ryder is awful in the shootout and pulls the same move pretty much every time. Yes, he has a great snap shot, but when everyone in the building knows it is coming, it is not that effective.

- Zdeno Chara left the bench several times during the game, which led NESN play-by-play man Jack Edwards to speculate that Chara was experiencing a "stomach bug".

- The Bruins out-shot the Leafs 38-31.

- Joffrey Lupul had a 3-point night for the Leafs (2-1-3)

- Dennis Seidenberg blocked a game-high 6 shots.

- The Bruins will host the Atlanta Thrashers next in a Saturday matinee at TD Garden.

- Pension Plan Puppets has more on this one.

Quotes:

"I don’t know if it’s weird. You’re not surprised at anything nowadays. When I watched the replay I couldn’t believe it was a penalty shot. But we just didn’t want to quit, wanted to win it still."

Tim Thomas on if it was weird to see a penalty shot in OT


Yeah, we have to move on. Obviously we would have liked to get that second point here tonight but definitely we can take some positives out of this game. We can look over some stuff that we need to work on. But definitely it’s not going to be easy come Saturday afternoon. Atlanta, you never know what you’re going to get from them. They’ve been good against us this year. They’ve beat us twice and it seems like every game now heading into the end of the year is a tough battle."

Milan Lucic on not clinching the Northeast Division tonight

"Just a perfect three on two. There was lots of passing and then I drove the net and Looch [Milan Lucic] gave me an empty-netter."

David Krejci on his goal

"There’s nothing to report. Nothing to be concerned about, as far as his situation."

Claude Julien on why Zdeno Chara kept leaving the bench

"I just answered the question."

Claude Julien when asked if it an equipment or health issue

"Well, I think we have to be honest here. We don’t have a great shootout team. We’ve talked to our goaltenders, we’ve talked around—it’s not our strength. And, it is what it is. It doesn’t matter. We practice it, we use all kinds of players. We’re trying and fortunately some teams are better than others when it comes to that. If it’s one thing that we’re not a real great team at, it’s shootouts. But, playoffs don’t have shootouts, so we can live with it."

Claude Julien on the Bruins' struggles in the shootout