BOSTON – Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala ended his drought and helped the Maple Leafs earn a rare road victory.
Toskala earned his first career shootout victory, Mats Sundin and Alex Steen scored goals in the tiebreaker and Toronto ended a six-game road losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
“It seemed like I was 0-10 in shootouts … 0-7 doesn’t seem that bad now, but it’s nice to get the two points,” Toskala said.
The Maple Leafs, who won for the third time in 10 games, had been outscored 39-19 during that span. Toronto allowed fewer than three goals for the first time in 11 games.
“This was a big win for us and Vesa,” Steen said. “We gave them the one point, but we are happy to come out of here with two.”
Phil Kessel and Marc Savard failed on their shootout attempts for Boston, and Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle hit the post.
The Maple Leafs failed to capitalize near the end of regulation after Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference received a double minor for high-sticking Darcy Tucker with 1:55 remaining. The advantage was shortened when Pavel Kubina was whistled for tripping Jeremy Reich on a 2-on-1 breakaway 30 seconds later.
Toronto squandered its remaining power play time in overtime.
Steen gave Toronto a 1-0 lead when his wrist shot beat goalie Alex Auld at 4:00 of the first period.
“I thought we battled back after their first-period goal,” Auld said. “The shootout is a tough way to lose when you feel like you leave it all out there.”
Boston responded with a pair of goals 1:32 apart, scored by Zdeno Chara and Marco Sturm. Chara beat Toskala through a screen, and Sturm took a nifty pass from Marc Savard that hopped over the stick of Kaberle and backhanded it in for a 2-1 lead. Savard and Dennis Wideman assisted on both goals.
“I won’t point the finger at our team for this disappointing loss,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We had seven regulars out, and with a little bit of luck we could have had a different outcome.”
Matt Stajan got the Leafs even at 2 with 8.8 seconds remaining in the second period when he jammed in a rebound off Kubina’s shot.
Toskala made 29 saves in regulation and won back-to-back games for the first time since December.
Kaberle had two assists for Toronto, which beat Boston for the first time in five tries.
Chara has nine points in six games for the Bruins, who have gotten eight goals in seven games from defencemen.
Notes: Toronto’s last victory against Boston was 10-2 on Jan. 4, 2007. … Boston recalled Pascal Pelletier from Providence (AHL). … Boston will mark the 50th anniversary of Willie O’Ree breaking the NHL colour barrier by honouring him during Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers. … Steen’s goal was his 100th NHL point. … Wideman, a plus-8 against Toronto this season, left the game with a hand injury in overtime after getting hit in the arm by Kaberle’s slap shot.