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Recap: Bruins edge out Maple Leafs, 4-3, on Grzelcyk’s goal

The Bruins and Maple Leafs battled it out in a back-and-forth game tonight.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins scored a late, third-period goal with 1:16 remaining to top the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3, after a tight back-and-forth division game at the TD Garden tonight.

The two best teams in the Atlantic Division battled it out with playoff-esque intensity.

Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak scored equalizers in the first and second period.

A.J. Greer gave the Bruins the lead midway through the game before Auston Matthews evened things early in the third period.

Matt Grzelcyk’s one-timer broke the tie as time clicked away in the third period to give the Bruin’s the win.

Here are the highlights!

First period:

The Maple Leafs opened the scoring at 4:45 of the first period on the power play.

John Tavares found Michael Bunting in the slot where he put a one-timer top-shelf past Linus Ullmark’s glove. 1-0 Maple Leafs.

The Bruins tied the game at 15:02 of the first period.

Brad Marchand found Bergeron out front where he put a light tap on the puck to get it past Matt Murray. 1-1 game.

Second period:

The Maple Leafs took the lead at 2:43 of the second period.

Pierre Engvall carried the puck from his defensive zone, gaining speed through the neutral zone to finally throw a long wrist shot from the high slot past Ullmark. 2-1 Maple Leafs.

The Bruins tied the game at 5:52 of the second period.

David Pastrnak exploded into the offensive zone. Inside the left-wing circle, he put a wrist shot through Murray’s five-hole. 2-2 game.

The Bruins took the lead at 10:33 of the second period.

Nick Foligno fed a pass to Greer in the high slot where he put a wrist shot past Murray. 3-2 Bruins.

Third period:

The Maple Leafs tied the game at 3:17 of the third period.

Bunting hit Matthews with a pass as he was coming down towards the slot. Matthews went backhand to forehand to roof an in-close shot over Ullmark’s glove shoulder and top-shelf. 3-3 game.

The Bruins scored the go-ahead goal and game-winner at 18:44 of the third period.

Murray’s kick save on Taylor Hall’s shot bounced out to Grzelcyk pinching to the top of the left-wing circle where he put a quick shot past Murray. Final score: 4-3 Bruins.

Game notes:

  • Head Coach Jim Montgomery and the players echoed the biggest sentiment of not wanting to lose two games in a row. Montgomery said it’s something that’s important to his team and something that’s thought about with eventual playoff play in mind. He talked about how it’s hard to come back from two down in a series and it’s a mindset the Bruins are instilling now with every regular season game.
  • This game against the Maple Leafs had playoff feels. It’s only the two’s second meeting of the season, but blood was boiling. There was a higher emotional factor to the game that hasn’t been seen much recently.
  • The Bruins’ fourth line was largely impactful in that regards. They energized not only the team, but the crowd. Foligno’s fight with Wayne Simmonds electrified play. The line kept the intensity up with Greer sticking up for Bergeron at the second period’s end. The line also added important secondary scoring on Greer’s go-ahead goal. The whole line contributed to Greer’s goal and what a beautiful pass from Foligno to Greer.
  • Matt Grzelcyk’s offensive game has taken shape over the last few games and he was rewarded tonight with the game-winner. Montgomery thought it was Grzelcyk’s best game tonight and has seen his offense grow especially since the California road trip where he put up two assists against the Anaheim Ducks. Against Toronto, he had two shots on goal. His game-winning goal came because he pinched down into the play.
  • Linus Ullmark had another solid outing, minus Engvall’s goal. He made some big moment saves in the second period that were highlight-reel worthy. Ullmark flat out denied Matthews and Mark Giordano. He came up huge on a 2-on-0. Here is just one of his timely saves:
  • The Bruins announced after the game that they signed Pavel Zacha to a four-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $4.75 million. Zacha has five goals and 20 assists this season.
  • Zacha has shown his versatility to play different positions. With that said, for whatever reason, the puck has just rolled off his stick with shots taken. He had some great opportunities to score tonight, but again was snake-bitten, hitting the post. It would be nice to see him bury a goal.
  • The Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. to wrap up their three-game homestand.