It's a shame that the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs met for the last time in the regular season Saturday night at the Scotiabank Arena. But there is always hope that these two teams will cross paths again in mid-April.
In a game filled with quality competition chances, tight controls, strange rushes and momentum swings, Bruins earned a work-like 3-2 victory and moved to two points behind Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.
"Of course we tried to play on our toes, and of course they are also a good team, so that's how they try to play," Sean Kuraly said after the game. "We tried to keep them from outside, and maybe [we gave up] a little more chances for them, so we would have liked, but that's the way it goes against a good team."
Here's what we learned from Boston's exciting victory over Toronto.
& # 39; WAK & # 39; line takes a central stage
It is rare to see a de facto fourth line face against elite talent, but Bruce Cassidy went down this route in the last two games with Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly. The confidentiality of the control trio was already high to enter Thursday's tilt with Washington, holding their own against Capital's top-scoring line Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson.
Wagner, Acciari and Kuraly faced another formidable trio with Saturday William Nylander, Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri. They may have been slightly weak during the first and second periods, but in true blue-collar fashion, the "WAK" line gave Bruins a spark as they absolutely needed it, especially Kuraly.
The former Miami (Ohio) product was focussed on its puck pursuit heading for a career-high three-point achievement that included binding goals and help for David Pastrnak's game winner.
– Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 13, 2019
"They deserve every point they get on the state map," says Pastrnak about Wagner, Kuraly and Acciari. "They work really hard for each other and have played really well together, so I'm really happy about them."
Bruins rarely got the secondary scoring spark in the first half of the season. Over the past few weeks, the WAK line brings Bruins, who score plug outside Boston's strong top line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
"I think the whole line has played well for a couple of months now and they are really rewarded now so it's great to see" goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "They work extremely hard every game and every day, and I think we're just happy that they get the reward they deserve."
Talking of Fast …
Rask takes back his starting place
Jaroslav Halak goes through his worst stretch of the season, but there is no doubt that the tour operator pushed Rask to be better after Finland's slow start on season. The tables have beaten Rask's favor for the Christmas holiday.
Quick had a star night, a crazy jump on Andreas Johnsson's tenth of the season and Mitch Marner's blast – both coming in second season. The 2014 Vezina winner was up to the task of timely stoppage against the Marner, John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and the powerful Leafs attack on its way to its fifth straight victory.