- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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The Boston Bruins concluded their four-game road trip with a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. The Bruins posted a 1-3 record on the road and return home to host the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
With the win, the Maple Leafs snapped a personal eight-game losing skid against the Bruins. Toronto needed only 13 shots and received goals from Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski and Frazer McLaren en route to victory. The Bruins created 33 shots, while defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference scored the goals for Boston.
After playing well with a 27-save performance to help Boston to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday at Ottawa, Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin made his second consecutive start on Saturday. It's the first time in his Bruins career he's played back-to-back games. He didn't play the entire game, however, as Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to pull Khudobin after Toronto took a 3-0 lead at 1:34 of the third period. Tuukka Rask finished the game and made only two saves.
Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer made 31 saves.
Toronto gained a 1-0 lead at 4:58 of the first period. Kadri, who's had the scoring touch of late, received a nifty saucer pass by teammate Clarke MacArthur and beat Khudobin to the short side. With the goal, Kadri has nine points in his past four games.
The Maple Leafs gained a 2-0 lead when Mikhail Grabovski took a shot through a screen and beat Khudobin at 2:52 of the second period after a defensive breakdown by Boston.
The Maple Leafs went up 3-0 1:34 in the third period when McLaren snuck the puck past Khudobin, who was pulled in favor of Rask.
Only 56 seconds later, Seidenberg finally scored when his snap shot from the right point found its way through traffic and beat a screened Reimer to cut Boston's deficit to 3-1. It was Seidenberg's second goal in as many games and it served as a spark for the Bruins.
With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Julien pulled Rask for the extra attacker and it worked. The Bruins had sustained pressure when Ference's shot from the point found the back of the net to cut Boston's deficit to one goal, but it wasn't enough.
LINEUP: Defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who was recalled Friday from Providence, made his season debut for the Bruins against the Maple Leafs. His presence was needed since blueliner Johnny Boychuk is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Bartkowski was paired with Dennis Seidenberg. Forward Ryan Spooner remained in the lineup, as fellow forward Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch. Speaking of healthy scratches, forward Rich Peverley was back in the lineup after watching from press level last game against the Ottawa Senators. He was back on the wing, with Spooner in the middle and Jay Pandolfo on the other side. Late in the third period, Julien went with Peverley, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille as a line.
DROP 'EM: In a heavyweight bout, the Bruins' Shawn Thornton and the Maple Leafs' Colton Orr dropped the gloves on the ensuing faceoff after Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 5:00 of the first period. The two squared off at center ice and exchanged punches in a spirited bout. It was the sixth fighting major of the season for Thornton, and the 10th for Orr.
SAVE OF THE GAME: In the waning seconds of the first period, Boston had an opportunity to tie the game in the midst of a scramble in front of Reimer, but the goaltender made a left pad save on Horton to preserve the one-goal lead.
UP NEXT: Now that the Bruins' four-game road trip is complete, Boston will host the Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. on Monday at TD Garden.
10dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur