THE BOSTON BRUINS spoiled the return of playoff hockey to Toronto, scoring two quick goals in the second period in a 5-2 victory over the Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille and David Krejci, with an empty-net goal with 1:17 remaining, scored for Boston

The win came in front of 19,746 fans inside the Air Canada Centre. Outside, a blue-and-white throng watched on a big screen in Maple Leaf Square as playoff hockey returned to Toronto for the first time since 2004.

After being beaten 4-2 in Boston on Saturday night, the Bruins upped their game. The Leafs, meanwhile, made mistakes and paid, although they tried to close the gap with a busy third period in which they outshot the visitors, 18-6. The Leafs finished with a 47-38 edge in shots.

Game 4 is Wednesday in Toronto, with Boston leading the series, 2-1.

The dominant line of Milan Lucic, Krejci and Horton finished with two goals and six assists. They have combined for 17 points through the first three postseason games, with five goals and 12 assists.

Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel replied for Toronto in a physical game.

It was the Leafs' first home playoff game since May 4, 2004, when they fell, 3-2 in overtime to the Flyers, to lose the conference semifinals in six games. Fans were rewarded for their patience with free scarves Monday night - but not with a win.

Inside the arena, chants of "Go Leafs Go" started before warmups. Even the national anthem singer got an ovation, with the crowd belting out "O Canada" with him.

For the Bruins, the playoffs are business as usual. Boston, which won the Cup 2 years ago, is in the postseason for the sixth straight year.

In other games * 

At New York, Derek Stepan and Arron Asham both scored tiebreaking goals in the third period for the Rangers in a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3.

The Rangers finally found their offense and got back into their first-round playoff series. New York still trails 2-1 in the Eastern Conference series, with Game 4 at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.

Stepan gave the Rangers the lead for good with 6:25 remaining when he deftly tipped in a pass in front from Rick Nash. Asham had put New York in front 3-2 at 2:53, but Jay Beagle got the Capitals even again 4:26 later.

Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists for the Rangers, who managed only one goal in the first two losses in Washington and hadn't scored since the first period of Game 1 - a scoreless stretch of 124 minutes, 6 seconds.

"It was an interesting game," Stepan said. "The flows of it were up and down. Early lead, they tie it. We get another one, they tie it.

"As a team we just stuck together. On the bench everyone had a good feeling."

* At Detroit, Damien Brunner scored 15:10 into overtime, lifting the Red Wings over the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2.

Detroit evened the series, 2-2.

Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller made 46 saves in a losing cause. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard had 31 saves.

Noteworthy * 

The NHL announced that the Los Angeles Kings will host the Anaheim Ducks in an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium next Jan. 25.

The logistics of playing outdoors in balmy California temperatures might seem daunting, but the NHL and the teams seem confident that ice-making technology exists that could meet NHL standards.

The Kings played the New York Rangers in an outdoor exhibition game at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1991 as temperatures topped 80 degrees. The Kings beat the Rangers on ice that held up reasonably well.