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Thomas makes 23 saves to lead Bruins to 3-1 win over slumping Leafs

The Canadian Press
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Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin sits in the crease with the puck just over the goal line after he gave up a goal to Boston Bruins\' Wayne Primeau in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday. (AP/Charles Krupa) Author: The Hockey News

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Thomas makes 23 saves to lead Bruins to 3-1 win over slumping Leafs

The Canadian Press
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Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau, and Patrice Bergeron scored third-period goals as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday night. "A definite change from the way we were playing earlier in the year," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. It seems like we step up our game when we play against them."

Thomas stopped 23 shots for the Bruins, who won for the fifth time in six games. The Maple Leafs lost their sixth straight and have only two wins in their last 11.

"When the losses add up like they have, we've got to find a way to right the ship," said Toronto defenceman Hal Gill, a former Bruin.

Primeau scored the winning goal with 5:53 remaining when he knocked the rebound of a shot by Mark Mowers past Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

"They (Toronto) are having a tough time right now," Stuart said. "We have a lot of confidence right now and our goaltending has been a huge part of that."

Patrice Bergeron added an insurance goal with 1:19 left for Boston.

Toronto scored only one goal against the Bruins for the fourth straight game. The teams were playing for the fifth time in 28 days.

"We have to compete harder," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "Every guy has to finish more checks, control rebounds and have more ownership of our situation."

The Maple Leafs' struggles in the third period continued; the team has been outscored 18-2 during their losing streak and had blown a pair of two-goal leads in the final period the previous two games.

Stuart pulled Boston into a 1-1 tie with 9:47 remaining when his wrist shot beat Aubin over the right shoulder.

Jeff O'Neill scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs. His slapshot bounced off the boards into the goal crease and he then tipped the puck into an open net while Thomas was out of position at the 5:04 mark of the second.

Aubin hasn't won since Nov. 5 and has beaten the Bruins once in nine tries.

Stuart has five points in the last three games including two third-period goals in Boston's victory against Montreal on Monday.

Shean Donovan added two assists for Boston, which has yet to be shut out this season.

Notes: Tomas Kaberle has no goals in 11 games despite being second on Toronto on points. ... Thomas made his 20th consecutive start and has never lost to the Leafs in regulation. ... P.J. Axelsson missed his third straight game with a foot injury. ... Despite winning records, both Boston and Toronto have been outscored this season at even strength.

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Thomas makes 23 saves to lead Bruins to 3-1 win over slumping Leafs