BOSTON — The Bruins rediscovered a couple of long-lost arts on Saturday night, but were also reminded of a too-familiar one.
Stuck in a scoring drought without No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron, and subject to increasingly physical tactics with big defensemen Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller also sidelined by injuries, shot and fought to a 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs, stopping a losing streak after three games.
The Bruins finished the game without defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who was playing for just the second time after missing 20 games with a concussion. McAvoy was dropped by a late hit thrown by Zach Hyman with 10:07 left in the game, but left the game under his own power. Matt Grzelcyk fought Hyman in defense of his partner; Chris Wagner and Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey fought later, after Wagner blasted Morgan Rielly with an open-ice hit.
Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves for the Bruins, who left immediately after the game for Sunday afternoon’s date at Ottawa (5:05, NESN, 92.9 FM).
The Bruins, held to two goals or fewer in eight of the first nine games Bergeron missed with rib and sternoclavicular injuries, reached that level with a two-goal second period, and built their lead to 6-1 at one point in the third.
David Backes made it 2-0 on one of the Bruins’ three power plays in the second period, and Torey Krug’s first of the season boosted the lead to 3-0 with just 2:15 to go in the second.
The Bruins, who landed 15 shots on goal in the second, got the next goal from the line of Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Pastrnak, which played the entire game together after coach Bruce Cassidy had previously moved Krejci between Bergeron’s wingers in-game. Krejci and Marchand drew assists on the first of the season for Krug, who missed the first 11 games of the season with an ankle injury. (He has 13 assists in 18 games.)
The Leafs, and Andersen, imploded in the third period. Travis Dermott (4:03) answered the goal Danton Heinen scored at 1:47, but the Bruins struck right back on Krejci’s goal at 4:37. Andersen (21 saves) was pulled after he dropped Heinen’s bad-angle floater, and Ryan Donato (third of season) jammed it in at the post at 6:13.
After previously making it an in-game move, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy went with Krejci between the established winger duo of Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak from the start. Jake DeBrusk’s addition to the injured list (Cassidy ruled him out through tomorrow night’s game, describing symptoms associated with a concussion) resulted in changes to the other three lines, as well. There was one notable addition: Winger Gemel Smith, acquired on Thursday when the Stars waived him, made his debut as a Bruin.
The B’s took a 1-0 lead during a 4-on-4 manpower situation, as Krejci and Jake Gardiner sat out matching minor penalties for roughing. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk banked a nice pass off the boards at the Maple Leaf blue line that gave Pastrnak some space, and he held the puck while Jakob Forsbacka beat his check. Forsbacka Karlsson deflected Pastrnak’s pass off the right pad of Frederik Andersen and a few inches over the goal line for his third goal of the season at 11:20.