TORONTO — Linus Ullmark made 33 saves, and the Boston Bruins ended a season-high three-game skid with a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.
The Bruins played their last game until Feb. 11 against the Washington Capitals. Ullmark will represent Boston at 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend on Friday and Saturday in Sunrise, Florida.
“In the first half [of the game], he was unbelievable,” Bruins forward Pavel Zacha said. “He got us in the game, he was there, and then we took over a bit and had a couple of goals, but he does that almost every game for us the whole season. He’s a great goalie to have. Both goalies we have (Ullmark, Jeremy Swayman) are unbelievable, so that helps a lot when we have a bit lower period and give up that many chances. They keep us in the game until we can push and go forward.”
Zacha scored twice, and Charlie Coyle had two assists for Boston (39-7-5), which went 0-2-1 in the skid.
“I just thought that was the best team effort we’ve had in a while,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “… I don’t think relief was the right word, but it was about us getting back to our standard and team identity. I saw it [Tuesday] in practice. I hadn’t seen us practice with that kind of pace and purpose in a while, and especially the competitive fire that was there. I expected us to be good, and that’s a really good hockey team that we were able to beat on the road today.”
Video: [email protected]: Zacha scores 1st of his 2 goals in 3rd
Mitchell Marner and Calle Jarnkrok scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves and had an assist for Toronto (31-13-8), which played its last game until Feb. 10 at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We take into the break that we know we’re a good team and we’re in a really good spot,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “This is a tough way to go into the break, but [it] maybe good for us in the sense that we’ve had a really good season here to this point. We need a break, everybody needs a break at this point in time, but then we come back and we can be inspired by the season we’ve had to date yet motivated by the fact that we have a ways to go here.”
Boston went up 2-1 at 12:33 of the second period when Brandon Carlo took a pass from Hampus Lindholm, who was at the blue line, and shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle. It was his second goal in his 47th game this season.
“Those are always nice for me since I’m not a huge goal scorer, but it definitely adds a little bit of a boost of confidence throughout that game and headed into the break,” Carlo said. “It’ll be nice to take a mental break and breather, so that one felt nice and this was the way we wanted to go out.”
Video: [email protected]: Greer fires home a shot on the rush
A.J. Greer made it 3-1 at 2:13 of the third period when he fought off the backchecking David Kampf on a 2-on-1 and shot high glove from the left dot.
Jarnkrok cut it to 3-2 at 8:38 when he put in a rebound in the slot from Mark Giordano‘s shot, but Zacha scored 30 seconds later while playing 4-on-4 to make it 4-2 at 9:08 when he stepped around TJ Brodie just inside the blue line and shot from the high slot.
Zacha scored again at 12:19 when he one-timed a pass from David Krejci for the 5-2 final.
“That was our focus before the game, we don’t want to go to the break with a loss especially having [already] lost three in a row on a tough road trip,” Zacha said. “I think we accomplished that, played really good, a full 60 minutes. It was a full team effort today.”
Derek Forbort put the Bruins up 1-0 at 6:57 of the second with a short-handed goal when he took a pass from Coyle and shot from the slot.
“That’s obviously not what you want but I thought we were with them there the whole way,” Marner said. “In the third, I don’t know if I’d call it cheating, but we’re just pushing hard and gave up a couple odd-man chances and it cost us.”
Video: [email protected]: Marner snaps in a PPG from the circle
Marner tied it 1-1 at 9:25 on the power play when he took a stretch pass from Samsonov at the blue line, skated into the zone and shot low blocker from just inside the right dot.
The Bruins enter the All-Star break with the best record in the NHL, leading the second-place Carolina Hurricanes by seven points in the Presidents’ Trophy race.
“I told them congrats on a great first half,” Montgomery said. “It’s been fun, but I said we have to get better and I know we will get better because of the professionalism and the work ethic that is in that locker room.”
NOTES: Marner reached 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) for the seventh time to tie Rick Vaive for third in Maple Leafs history behind Mats Sundin (12 times) and Darryl Sittler (nine). … Toronto forward William Nylander had his seven-game point streak end (six goals, six assists). … Marner was minus-4 in 19:34 of ice time. … Bruins forward Jakub Lauko had an assist and three hits in 7:11 in his first game since Nov. 3. He was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. … The Bruins are 25-0-3 when scoring first this season. … Forbort became the fourth Bruins defenseman to score multiple short-handed goals in a single season since 1992-93, joining Zdeno Chara (two, 2016-17), Ray Bourque (two, 1995-96; three, 1993-94) and Don Sweeney (two, 1993-94).