- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Boston Bruins' goal during this lockout-shortened, 48-game season is to avoid consecutive losses, especially when they're playing a string of games like this week's stretch of four games in six nights.
The Bruins were able to avoid back-to-back losses with a 1-0 win over their Northeast Division rival the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. Boston had lost to the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 on Thursday night at TD Garden.
With the victory, Boston finishes the week with a 3-1-0 record.
Boston's Chris Bourque scored the lone goal of the game at 8:54 of the first period. He crashed the net with reckless abandon and scored his first goal as a Bruin. His goal celebration was similar to the one his father, Ray, used to employ during his Hall of Fame career.
"I'm just happy to contribute," Bourque told NESN's Naoko Funayama during the first-period intermission. "Pevs and Kelly made a hell of a play, and I just put it in the net."
After ungodly defensive breakdowns during the Sabres game, Boston played soundly in all three zones against the Maple Leafs. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask earned his first shutout of the season with 21 saves.
The Bruins' penalty kill has been solid all season and it needed to be once again in the third period on Saturday. With Boston holding a 1-0 lead, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was called for interference at 11:24. The Bruins killed off that penalty, but Tyler Seguin was called for slashing at 17:35 with just more than two minutes to play in regulation. Toronto pulled its goalie for a two-man advantage, but the Bruins stifled the Maple Leafs' attack and held on for the victory.
Boston continued its dominance over Toronto. After sweeping the six-game series in 2011-2012, the Bruins are now 7-0-0 in their past seven meetings against the Maple Leafs. Also, Boston is 24-5-5 in the past 34 games against Toronto. At Air Canada Centre, the Bruins are 13-2-3 in the past 18 games.
INJURED: Bruins forward Brad Marchand fell hard into the end boards behind the Toronto net late in the second period and was clearly shaken up on the play. He skated to the bench on his own and was able to finish the period. When the third period began, however, Marchand was not on the bench and did not return for the remainder of the game. It appeared to be a left shoulder injury. Gregory Campbell played the final 20 minutes of regulation in Marchand's spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Seguin.
WAVED OFF: With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead with 8:28 remaining in the first period, it appeared as though the Maple Leafs had tied the game when defenseman Cody Franson rifled in a shot, but it was disallowed as the referee called goaltender interference. The Bruins were also denied a possible tally when Seguin was called for incidental contact with Toronto goaltender James Reimer at 6:30 of the second period.
HOMETOWN BOYS: A pair of Bruins rookies played in front of their hometown fans as Dougie Hamilton and Jamie Tardif made their Air Canada Centre debuts Saturday night. Their respective paths are quite different. Hamilton, 19, was Boston's top draft choice (ninth overall) in the 2011 draft. Tardif, 28, has spent the majority of his eight-year pro career in the AHL. He's spent the past two seasons with the P-Bruins, and he was recalled from Providence late Thursday night to make his NHL debut against the Leafs. Given his long road to the NHL, his Bruins teammates wanted Tardif to lead the team out prior to the game.
TEAM TOUGHNESS: With Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton back in Boston resting from a concussion he suffered in a fight with the Buffalo Sabres' John Scott last Thursday at TD Garden, MacDermid was more than willing to drop the gloves for Boston Saturday night. At 2:42 of the first period, the rookie went toe to toe with Mark Fraser in an even bout. The two went at it again at 15:21 of the second period, only this time MacDermid got the best of Fraser.
UP NEXT: After four games in six nights, the Bruins finally get a decent break. The team will have Super Bowl Sunday off before being back on the practice ice Monday and Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday's game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre in Montreal.
4dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald