TORONTO -- Toronto captain John Tavares smashed his stick against the post late in another loss in which a decent effort was undone by preventable errors.
That’s been a recurring theme for the Maple Leafs this season.
Brad Marchand scored twice in the third period and the Boston Bruins defeated Toronto 4-2 Friday, handing their Atlantic Division rivals a fourth consecutive setback.
"We're just on the wrong side of it," Tavares said. "It was a pretty good hockey game other than a couple of mistakes that obviously hurt us."
Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist, and Zdeno Chara added another score for Boston (12-3-4). Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for the Bruins, who snapped a 0-2-2 slide.
"It's a game that we get up for," said Marchand, whose team has eliminated the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs the last two springs. "A lot of history."
Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen scored for Toronto (9-8-4), which got 30 saves from Frederik Andersen.
The Leafs have just six regulation victories this season, and only two in their last 14 games.
"There's a huge sense of urgency," Tavares said. "We're not where we want to be."
Boston snapped a 1-1 tie 11 seconds into the third when Marchand scored his 12th goal of the season, scoring off his own rebound after stepping around Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly.
"Just ends up in our net," Rielly said. "I don't know what you want me to say."
Toronto countered at 3:54 when Kapanen took a feed from Tavares and scored his sixth. Marchand silenced the crowd just 1:14 later, slicing between two Maple Leafs in the slot and again following up his initial shot.
"He really took (the game) over," Rask said. "He wanted to be the difference maker."
Neither side gave up much the rest of the way until Chara scored into an empty net with 1:33 left in regulation, prompting a frustrated Tavares to splinter his stick against the iron.
"It's not something I, personally, really want to do," he said. "Some emotion came out ... just kind of happened."
"We've got a lot of hockey left to play," Tavares added. "It's not going to change overnight. We've got to continue to put the work in and fix our mistakes and continue to find ways to be better — and stay with it — because it's going to be hard."
Without star winger Mitch Marner (high ankle sprain) and center Alexander Kerfoot (dental fractures), Jason Spezza was in the lineup for the Leafs. But Toronto's injury bug continued in the first when Trevor Moore took a big hit and didn't return.
The Bruins were minus defenseman Torey Krug, as well forwards Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, who are all nursing upper-body ailments.
Boston, which has eliminated its Atlantic Division rival in the first round of the playoffs the last two springs, led 1-0 after 20 minutes before the Leafs tied it midway through the second.
Jake Muzzin's shot from the point looked to be headed wide, but Matthews lunged his stick out in the slot for a redirection that fooled Rask at 9:20. It was Matthews’ his 14th goal, withstanding a brief video review.
The Bruins had a chance to retake the lead moments later when Sean Kuraly fired high over Andersen's net on a breakaway.
Boston got a power play later in the period, with David Pastrnak just missing on a one-timer and Patrice Bergeron hitting the post on the rebound off the end boards.
Toronto nearly scored to grab its first lead when Kapanen put the puck through Bergeron's skates at the blue line and then slid a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Tavares, but the Leafs captain couldn't find the target.
Boston grabbed a 1-0 advantage at 13:48 of the first when Coyle scored his third of the season after another Toronto mix-up in the defensive zone. Leafs blue-liner Travis Dermott was battling the Bruins center in front, but left his check to challenge Matt Grzelcyk, who promptly fed Coyle from behind Andersen's net.
Both goalies were sharp early, with Andersen stopping Marchand and Pastrnak, while Rask stymied Andreas Johnsson on a partial breakaway before Spezza misfired a loose puck with what looked like a sure goal. Matthews also hit the post from in tight.
Moore took a crunching, open-ice hit from Chris Wagner later in the period, went right to Toronto's locker room and was ruled out shortly thereafter.
NOTES: The Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2019 — Hayley Wickenheiser, Guy Carbonneau, Sergei Zubov, Vaclav Nedomansky, Jim Rutherford and Jerry York — was honored before the game. ... Attendance was 19,434.
Bruins: Host Washington on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: At Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
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