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Bruins nip Leafs to snap mini skid

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BOSTON—A two-goal lead was down to one, and suddenly the Boston Bruins were trying to avoid another third-period collapse.

“At least we didn’t sit back; we didn’t panic [and] our guys responded well,” Bruins’ coach Claude Julien said after Boston snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.

“When they made it 3-2 . . . we looked more like the team we were before than we did the last couple of games,” he added.

Tyler Seguin had two goals and an assist, and Patrice Bergeron had one of each, as the Bruins recovered from back-to-back blown leads to beat Toronto and hold onto the No. 2 point total in the Eastern Conference.

David Krejci also scored for Boston, Brad Marchand had a pair of assists, and Anton Khudobin stopped 25 shots.

“Today was a great third period,” said Khudobin, who was subbing for starter Tuukka Rask while the Bruins play 20 games in 36 days.

“We learned from [the previous] two games,” he noted. “Maybe we didn’t have good third period or second period, but we’ll learn.

“Today was a great third period. Guys played awesome.”

With the win, the Bruins moved three points ahead of Toronto in the Northeast Division while remaining one point behind first-place Montreal.

Nazem Kadri and Jay McClement scored for the Leafs while Ben Scrivens made 21 saves for Toronto.

“It’s about good habits,” said Clarke MacArthur, who assisted on Kadri’s sixth goal in four games.

“We can take a lot of good things out of the game,” he noted.

“Obviously those two points would have been huge for us, but we have to take the good positive things we did and take that into Pittsburgh.”

The Bruins lost two in a row for the first time since January, blowing a 3-2 lead to the first-place Canadiens and a 3-0 advantage to the last-place Washington Capitals.

Boston opened a 3-1 lead when Seguin and Krejci scored in the second period, but McClement made it a one-goal game with 5:08 left.

“You can’t live in the past,” Julien stressed.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty,” he added. “When you lose two games the way we did, I knew it was going to be tough.

“There’s peaks and valleys along the way, and we’re going through it like any other team,” he reasoned.

“Except for Chicago.”

The Leafs, who had won three-straight, pulled their goalie in the final minutes, but they struggled to set up in the offensive zone and Seguin had an empty-netter with 15 seconds left.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Winnipeg beat Tampa Bay 2-1, Montreal doubled Carolina 4-2, Columbus nipped Vancouver 2-1 (OT), Detroit blanked Edmonton 3-0, the N.Y. Rangers edged the N.Y. Islanders 2-1 (OT), and Pittsburgh topped Philadelphia 5-4.

Washington dumped Florida 7-1, New Jersey shaded Buffalo 3-2 (SO), St. Louis doubled Phoenix 6-3, and Dallas beat L.A. 5-2.

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