TORONTO (AP) — Patrice Bergeron earned his 500th point on the first of two assists and Tuukka Rask continued his mastery over Toronto as the Boston Bruins, in their first game without injured captain Zdeno Chara, defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1 Saturday night.
After a moving pregame ceremony to honor two fallen soldiers, Toronto quickly fell flat and drew boos from the crowd after the Bruins went ahead 4-0 early in the third period.
Carl Soderberg, David Krejci, Gregory Campbell and Dougie Hamilton scored for Boston. Hamilton also had two assists.
Richard Panik beat Rask with 5:33 remaining, on a delayed power play, slapping in a rebound from in close for his first with the Maple Leafs.
Rask, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is 10-2-0 in 14 outings against Toronto. He came into the game with a .943 save percentage and 1.64 goals-against average against the Leafs.
Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier left early in the third period after giving up four goals on 25 shots.
Both teams finished with 33 shots.
While the teams split four games last season, the Bruins have had Toronto’s number in recent years.
Boston has won 12 of the past 16 regular-season games (12-2-2) against the Leafs and is 15-3-4 in its past 22 visits to the Air Canada Centre.
Referee Chris Rooney left the game late in the second period, after being hit with the puck just seconds before Krejci’s goal. He departed cradling his arm, but returned for the start of the third.
The game was preceded by an emotional ceremony to honor Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, killed in separate incidents this week in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, respectively.
The 19,132 fans at the Air Canada Centre stood and sang “O Canada” with their counterparts in Montreal and Ottawa as the anthem from the Canadian Tire Centre was shown on the scoreboard’s big screen.
The death of Cirillo and the attack of Parliament Hill by a gunman, prompted the league to postpone the Leafs’ game Wednesday in Ottawa. Toronto last played Tuesday, defeating the New York Islanders 5-2 on the road.
Saturday’s pregame emotion did not carry through as the Bruins went ahead early.
Soderberg opened the scoring on the power play at 3:27 after a fanned shot from Hamilton from the faceoff circle found Bergeron in front. Bernier stopped his redirect with his pad, but the puck went straight to Soderberg who had circled around the back of the net.
Bergeron’s 500th NHL point moved him past Adam Oates into sole possession of 13th place on the Bruins’ points list.
It took the Leafs 5:41 to get their first shot in the second period.
Krejci made it 2-0 at 15:58 of the second with a beautiful solo effort for his third of the season. Krejci drove at the Toronto goal, ignoring an attempted check by Phil Kessel, and swatted in his own rebound as he flew over Bernier.
The Leafs paid for a lapse on a power-play opportunity at 2:32 of the third as Campbell beat Dion Phaneuf in front of the goal to a pass from Daniel Paille and beat Bernier with five seconds remaining on the man-advantage.
Hamilton then beat the defense on a rush and scored on Bernier with a wrist shot at 4:09. That chased Bernier in favor of James Reimer.
It was the first game for the Bruins since losing defenseman Chara to a knee injury. The 6-foot-9, 255-pounder injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee throwing a hit on Islanders star John Tavares in front of the Boston net. Chara is expected to be out 4 to 6 weeks.
It was just the 21st game Chara has missed of a possible 622 games since joining the Bruins in July 2006.
Only 12 of those games have been missed due to injuries. The other nine games came from the club’s decision to rest Chara late in the season, and because he carried Slovakia’s flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Zach Trotman, a 24-year-old defenseman who was taken 210th overall in the 2010 draft, was called up from the Bruins’ AHL Providence farm team for his third career NHL appearance.
It was Bernier’s third straight start in goal. He was 1-2-0 in his four previous games against Boston with an .882 save percentage and 4.29 goals-against average.
NOTES: The Leafs have more Canadians (16) on their active roster than any other Canadian team … Toronto dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards … Coming into the game, Toronto’s top line of Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk had accounted for half of Toronto’s 20 goals.
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