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Thursday, January 22, 2009

I think this All-Star break was well-earned

In your wildest, alcohol and peyote-induced dreams, did you ever think the Boston Bruins would have an NHL-best (tied with San Jose) 73 points heading into the 2009 All-Star break? Of course not, no matter how much you abused your body, you still wouldn't have been crazy enough to expect this most unexpected of seasons thus far.

The B's (34-8-5) fittingly went into the break with a come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win in Toronto over the Maple Leafs (17-22-8) last night.

Michael Ryder clinched it with a goal as the fourth shooter in the shootout after Tim Thomas had stoned Nikolai Kulemin.

Toronto outplayed Boston for the first two periods. Jason Blake (Lee Stempniak, Dominic Moore) put the Leafs up 1-0 in the first. Blake Wheeler (14th) from Aaron Ward and David Krejci tied it up a little over a minute later.

Stempniak's power-play goal (Blake, Moore) and Brad May's (John Mitchell, Jamal Mayers) gave Toronto the 3-1 advantage in the second.

The Bruins used two power-play goals from defensemen in the third to send it to overtime.

First, Dennis Wideman (9th) scored off assists from Krejci and Ryder. Next, captain Zdeno Chara (11th goal) tipped in a perfect feed down low from Marc Savard (and P.J. Axelsson).

Thomas made 31 saves, inching his record to 20-5-4.

Thomas, Savard, Chara and head coach Claude Julien will go to Montreal for the All-Star Game festivities this weekend while the rest of the team gets a welcome rest.

Boston next meets the Capitals on Tuesday back at the Garden.

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