TORONTO – Patience and persistence finally paid off for the Boston Bruins’struggling top line.
Marc Savard and wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton accounted for all of Boston’s offence in a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.
Playing its sixth game together as a unit, the trio had yet to score a goal in that stretch.
“We’ve been feeling like we got stronger as a group the last couple games and not been rewarded,”said Savard, who scored the game-winner in the second period.
“That’s just the character we have, the three of us, we stuck together. We never got in any arguments, we actually worked harder together and had harder practices, too. Tonight we got rewarded.”
Lucic, who was pointless in his past seven contests before assisting on Savard’s goal, agreed maintaining the right mindset was key.
“We’ve been talking about it lately, not to get negative and keep trying to stay positive and keep creating chances and keep moving our feet,”he said. “And I think that’s a big reason why we got chances and results tonight.”
Horton’s goal broke a personal nine-game drought. He also assisted on Savard’s winner.
Another Boston player who got a much-needed big night was goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 36 saves overall, including 18 in the third period.
It’s been a tough year for the young Finn after losing his starter’s role to Tim Thomas. Rask seized the top job as a rookie last season when both his 1.97 goals-against average and .931 save percentage were league-best marks.
“It’s a challenge,”Rask said of his reduced playing time.“It’s never easy, obviously, but the only thing you can do is work hard and stay positive and wait for your chances.”
Though Rask’s record this year sits at just 3-7-1, his save percentage is up to .927. Coach Claude Julien pulled Rask on Saturday during a 7-6 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, but started him in back-to-back games for the first time this year to demonstrate he hasn’t lost faith in the 23-year-old.
“Tuukka was solid tonight and it was nice to see, for his sake, for our sake,”Julien said.“It was a real good effort on his part.
“You have to show your goaltender you have confidence in him and we do.”