Tim Thomas earned his second shutout of the season, turning aside 20 shots as the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 at TD Bank Garden on Thursday night.
Patrice Bergeron got the winner at 19:19 of the first period when he took a cross-ice pass from Milan Lucic and blasted a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle, which beat Jonas Gustavsson high to the glove side.
Rookie Tyler Seguin scored his first home goal of his career at 12:26 of the second period to finish off the scoring.
Following the Seguin goal the 17,565 in attendance started chanting ‘Thank you, Kessel,’ in obvious reference to the trade made last September that sent him to Toronto in exchange for the Leafs’ 2010 first overall pick, which turned out to be Seguin. Boston also received a 2010 second-round pick and a No. 1 selection in 2011.
Leafs GM Brian Burke has taken some criticism for making the decision but the 23-year-old winger has raced out to a blazing start this year, with seven goals and two assists in eight games.
The critics have been temporarily silenced by his start, but Kessel continues to slide against his former club, registering one assist in seven games.
With the win, Thomas [5-0-0] lowered his goals-against average to 0.60.
Gustavsson [1-2-0] was solid in the net, turning aside 30 shots in the loss.
Prior to the game, Milt Schmidt was honoured with an on-ice ceremony as the first player in Bruins’ history to be captain, coach and general manager.
He was a member of the Kraut Line, which featured him at centre with Woody Dumart on left wing and Bobby Bauer on the right side. They were the first line in NHL history to finish in the top three in scoring during the 1939-40 season.
All over Kessel in the first
Kessel started the game on right wing and was booed lustily every time he touched the puck during the first period.
The raspberries didn’t seem bother him as he had two or the three chances, registering five shots in the first.
Bergeron scored the only goal of the opening period on the power play.
Bruins’ rookie doubles the lead
The Bruins [5-2-0] took a 2-0 lead at 12:26 of the second when Seguin converted a pass from defenceman Dennis Seidenberg for his second goal of the year.
More than three minutes later, Kessel almost setup the first goal for Toronto [5-3-1].
He found Nikolai Kulemin streaking to the right post and flipped a slick backhand pass across the top of the crease but the Russian had his stick lifted by Adam McQuaid before he could convert into the open net.
Kessel finished the night a minus-one, with 22:33 of ice time in 24 shifts.