BOSTON – The Boston Bruins’ comeback against Toronto last spring is a big part of a video highlight package shown on the Jumbotron before every home game.
Bergeron cuts in and collects a rebound, finishing off an incredible rally to knock out the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And there he was again, scoring a similar goal for the eventual game-winner on Saturday night.
Bergeron scored a power-play goal off a rebound early in the third period and Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots, lifting the Bruins to a 3-1 win over Toronto in the teams’ first meeting since their playoff series.
Try as they might, the Bruins weren’t going to be allowed to forget what happened last spring.
“We talked about it before the game that we had to be in the present and not think about last year and realize they’re ahead of us in the standings and we have to get up each game,” Bergeron said.
“I thought, yes, we got away from our game a little bit in the second, but we showed some character to get back into it in the third and we got the result.”
Bergeron also added an empty-netter with 22 seconds to play, and Zdeno Chara also had a power-play goal for Boston. The Bruins won for only the third time in seven games.
“We were not really focused on what happened last year,” Chara said. “That was something that was behind us. We were focused on the present and, if you look at the standings, that’s a team that’s ahead of us and we want to get closer to them.”
Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost for just the second time in six games.
“The most disappointing part was Boston got two open power-play goals,” Toronto coach Randy Caryle said. “We battled hard, but I thought we just ran out of gas in the third period.”
In Game 7 of the opening round of the last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs, Boston trailed by three goals with a little over 10 minutes left before forcing overtime—with the final two goals coming 31 seconds apart in the closing 90 seconds of regulation. Bergeron scored the game winner in OT, capping an improbable comeback.
On Saturday, skating during the closing part of James van Riemsdyk’s double-minor penalty for high-sticking Johnny Boychuk late in the second period, Bergeron jumped in on a rebound in front and fired it past sprawling goaltender James Reimer 1:06 into the final period.
“I think he did a great job being in the right spot for that power-play goal,” Boston coach Claude Julien said.
Winger Carl Soderberg backhanded the puck on net from near the bottom of the right circle.
Reimer made 31 saves.
Boston killed off a penalty late in the game when Soderberg was sent off for holding the stick. The Maple Leafs went 0 for 3 on the power play.
The Bruins had grabbed a 1-0 lead on Chara’s power-play goal off a rebound 15:27 into the opening period. David Krejci won the faceoff back to defenceman Torey Krug, who sent a cross-ice pass to Jarome Iginla.
The winger slipped a backhand on net that Chara, positioned in front, banged past Reimer before two Maple Leafs defencemen could clear the puck.
If it wasn’t for solid play by Reimer it could have been a bigger deficit for Toronto. Boston outshot the Maple Leafs 14-7 in the opening period, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches.
Bruins winger Chris Kelly fired a shot off the crossbar 90 seconds into the game and Reimer made nice stops on close bids by Krug and Iginla about 20 seconds apart 5 minutes into the game.
“At the start of the game they were all over us,” Caryle said. “In the second, we played better.”
But in the second, the Maple Leafs outshot Boston 18-10 and controlled play for lengthy stretches.
Toronto tied the game at 1 on Lupul’s goal late in the second. Paul Ranger sent a long clearing pass to Lupul, who broke in down the right wing before firing a shot that beat Rask over his left shoulder, slipping the puck just inside the right post.
There were a fairly large number of blue Maple Leafs’ home jerseys sprinkled throughout the stands, and a big roar went up when Lupul scored.
NOTES: Bruins D Adam McQuaid went down grabbing his right hip area midway into the opening period, had to be helped from the ice and didn’t return. There was no update from the team on his injury other than an announcement early in the second that “he would not return.” … It was the first of four games between the teams. … Toronto’s Phil Kessel needs two points to reach 400 for his career. … The Bruins held Progeria Night, raising funds for research to help find a cure for the accelerated aging disease that affects one in every 4 to 8 million newborns. Sam Berns from Foxborough, Mass. dropped the ceremonial first puck. … Former Bruin Terry O’Reilly watched the game from a luxury box.