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Bruins surge late to outlast Leafs

THE Boston Bruins found yet another way to win.

Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, and Michael Ryder scored the shootout winner in the Bruins' 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

Tied with San Jose for the National Hockey League overall lead entering the All-Star break, the Bruins earned a full two points for the first time in nine games (1-6-2) this season when trailing after two periods.

"It wouldn't have been the end of the world," coach Claude Julien said. "But for us, we thought it was important. We just lost the last couple of games...and we wanted to make sure that we felt good about ourselves heading into the break."

Ryder beat Vesa Toskala with a high wrist shot in the fourth round of the shootout. Blake Wheeler scored in regulation and the shootout, and Martin St. Pierre also scored for Boston (34-8-5) in the tiebreaker. Jason Blake and Lee Stempniak scored for Toronto in regulation and the shootout, and Brad May also had a regulation goal.

"It's that time of the year that you're going to face some adversity, some challenges," said Chara, set to join Julien and teammates Tim Thomas and Marc Savard at the All-Star game in Montreal. "It was a tight game."

In other NHL games, it was: Devils 5, Canadiens 2; Flyers 5, Thrashers 3; Kings 6, Avalanche 5; Blues 2, Blackhawks 0; Flames 5, Blue Jackets 4 (in a shootout); Lightning 5, Sabres 3; Stars 4, Panthers 1; and Islanders 2, Ducks 1.

In Toronto, Wideman and Chara tied it with goals on two of the Bruins' four straight powerplays in the third period.

"They're just bad penalties," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "They might be picky to some people, but they're penalties. It's needless to take a penalty on the other side of the red line. You can't defend those penalties."

Thomas made 31 saves, the last five in overtime when Toronto (17-22-8) had a powerplay for 1:40.


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