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Bruins help playoff chances with 5th straight win, 2-1 over Leafs on Bergeron's shootout goal

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BOSTON — A season-high 50 shots weren't enough for the Boston Bruins to keep streaking toward the playoffs.

A shootout goal by Patrice Bergeron made up for it.

With that, the Bruins maintained a three-point lead for a wild-card berth with their fifth straight win, taking their home finale 2-1 over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

"You're always fearing the worst when a team is hanging around that long," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Thankfully, we were able to get a break there in the shootout."

Boston and Pittsburgh hold the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots with 95 points each, but the Penguins have played one fewer game. Ottawa also won and has 92 points with four games left. The Bruins have three remaining — at Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay.

"Everyone is playing desperate hockey, good hockey, and it definitely keeps us on our toes," Bergeron said. "You know it's in our heads. They're not going to quit, and we knew that heading into the last stretch, but we're seeing it right now, so we have to keep going. "

In their five-game winning streak, the Bruins have allowed just seven goals.

"We're not going to give up many goals and that's what it takes to win hockey games right now," defenseman Torey Krug said. "That's how the Boston Bruins win hockey games, by not giving up more than a couple of goals."

Before the shootout, the Bruins' only goal came when Bergeron converted his own rebound 19 seconds into the second period. James van Riemsdyk tied the game at 14:31.

The first three shots of the shootout — by Toronto's Tyler Bozak and van Riemsdyk and Boston's David Krejci — missed. But Bergeron skated in slowly, held the puck and got goalie James Reimer to drop to the ice before lifting it over his left pad. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask followed by stopping Nazem Kadri.

PHOTO: Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask (40), of Finland, reacts after blocking the shot by Toronto Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri (43) during a shootout  in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, April 4, 2015. The Bruins won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask (40), of Finland, reacts after blocking the shot by Toronto Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri (43) during a shootout in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, April 4, 2015. The Bruins won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Toronto, with the second worst record in the East, is 2-9 in its last 11 games and fell to 8-27-5 on the road.

"You want to end off on a strong note," Reimer said.

It was Boston's fourth win in 13 shootouts.

Bergeron gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the second with his 22nd goal of the season. He took a pass from the right corner by Brad Marchand, but his 15-foot shot was stopped by Reimer. The puck came right back to Bergeron, and he connected.

Toronto tied the game at 14:31 on van Riemsdyk's 26th goal. Morgan Rielly's shot from the middle of the blue line was stopped by Rask. The puck bounced off van Riemsdyk, hit Rask and landed behind him. Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid tried to jam it into Rask's pads, but it went into the net.

"I just was going to the net. I didn't even really see (Rielly) shoot it," van Riemsdyk said. "I got a good bounce."

Boston had two good opportunities within a minute during the third period. With about six minutes gone, Ryan Spooner was alone with the puck in front of the crease, but Reimer stopped his shot. Then Marchand shot at a sharp angle from left to right and the puck went across the crease behind Reimer but missed the net.

Boston also failed to score on three power-play opportunities, and has only one goal on its last 15 chances.

The Bruins were aggressive from the start, outshooting the Maple Leafs 19-6 in the first period.

"They obviously needed the two points and they came out hard," Reimer said. "We just wanted to weather the storm and I thought we did a pretty good job of it."

NOTES: Toronto center Trevor Smith did not return after being checked into the corner boards by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara just two minutes into the game. ... Rask played in his 67th game, most by a Bruins goalie since Byron Dafoe played in 68 in 1998-99. ... 14 Bruins players had at least one shot on goal in the first period.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) sets up to score on Toronto Maple Leafs' James Reimer (34) during a shootout in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, April 4, 2015. The Bruins won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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