It was one of those "new NHL" games.
Both teams were sloppy. No goals, no glittering chances, not many things to put on the highlight reel as the clock ticked past the 56-minute mark.
And yet, at the same time, it was an exciting, tight-checking affair that came right down to the wire.
Zdeno Chara's rocket from the right circle beat James Reimer with 3:43 left in regulation to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish, beating the surging Maple Leafs, 2-0, last night at the Garden.
It was a true "boring thriller."
For more than 56 minutes, the Bruins and Leafs played the safe, tight-checking hockey one would expect from a Mike Babcock-Claude Julien match-up. Shots were mostly from the point. Rebounds were generally swept away. High-risk plays were few and far between.
However, the Bruins stuck to their game, avoided bad penalties and were rewarded for their hard work in the end.
Chara's goal came from excellent two-man work in the corners by Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson. Beleskey emerged with the puck and shrugged off two Leafs to feed Zach Trotman at the point. Trotman quickly swung the puck to Chara, who inched towards the net, stick cocked. He waited...waited...waited...and then unleashed a slapper that Reimer probably never saw, and never had a chance to stop.
"Usually you don’t get that much time," said Chara on his game-winner. "Usually there’s somebody on you right away. I don’t know exactly what happened on that play, but I end up being completely alone. I was able to take time and walk down and place the shot."
For his part, Trotman was feeling good as he saw the play develop.
"He’s got a hard enough shot where he’s going to beat a goalie if he puts it in the right spot," he said. "I wasn’t worried. I kind of had a feeling as soon as I gave it to him he was going to put it in."
That shot would be all the Bruins needed. While Brad Marchand iced it with an empty-netter, one was all the Bruins needed with a perfect Tuukka Rask down the other end.
"I think our defensive game was solid today and we stuck with it," said Rask. "Even though it was a tight game we got rewarded, so it was a great character win."
Rask made 22 saves for the 28th regular season shutout of his career, and looked very sharp in doing so.
Overall, Claude Julien liked what he saw from his team.
"Our guys are a lot more committed," he said. "Our penalty kill did a great job again tonight, even though they didn’t have to kill much. There’s a lot of commitment, even physical commitment, either taking a check or finishing your check. There’s a lot more there in skating and getting into those dirty areas a lot more."
The win put the Bruins within two points of the 8th playoff spot in the East, with three games in hand on 8th-place Tampa Bay. A bit early for posturing for playoff position, sure. But the American Thanksgiving bellwether is rapidly approaching, and the Bruins like where they're headed.
"It’s great," said Matt Beleskey of the team's attitude following the two home wins. "It’s what we want to do. We want to get on a roll, get above .500, close in on Thanksgiving. We want to get ourselves close or in a playoff spot."
"I think it is a good win, and I think the last game was a good win too," added Julien. "We keep using the word consistency. We’ve just got to keep trying to play the same way night after night. If we play that way every night, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win."