Boston Bruins: Toronto cause little trouble on Causeway

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: Tuukka Rask
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: Tuukka Rask /

The Boston Bruins were impeccable again tonight. Outmuscling the Toronto Maple Leafs in every avenue of the game. Bruins fans revelled in the thought of having Toronto as a first-round matchup.

Tonight was Zdeno Chara’s 1400th NHL game. To give you some perspective here, the seven other defensemen on the Boston Bruins roster have totalled 1,477 NHL games. Making him the 39th player in NHL history to play this many games.

First Period

A truly electrifying period of hockey. The fans inside TD Garden were in a playoff mentality. With every save from the black-and-gold came a cry of “TUUUUUKKKKK” from the Bruins faithful. The same could be said of the players, a breathtaking pace in the opening frame,  the two fierce rivals came to play.

Patrice Bergeron fired the Bruins ahead after a rampant effort from Danton Heinen in the offensive zone to get the puck back on his stick. Feeding Bergeron in the slot who whizzed past the left shoulder of Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. Interesting to note here that in nine previous meetings with the Bruins, Andersen has won all nine.

It didn’t take the Leafs long to level things up. The rapid Mitch Marner firing a shot on Rask that was going wide, the returning Charlie McAvoy attempted to corral the puck but it took an awkward bounce. Ending up in Rask’s net.

Big fan of Boston’s third line in this period. Showed lots of jump just weren’t getting any puck luck. David Backes in particular playing some true blue-collar hockey.

The Bruins outshot the Leafs 13-7 during the first. The Leafs were frankly lucky to be level at this point.

Second Period

The Bruins came out to the second replicating the intensity they had shown throughout the first. Winning puck battles and playing their structured and smart hockey.

David Pastrnak would break the tie, turning on the jets on the right side before shooting at Andersen, the puck trickled in. The 21st of the year for Pasta. It extends his point streak to eight games four goals, six assists. Add in 16 points in his last 14 games (six goals and 10 assists). Assists coming from Krug and Heinen (second of the night).

With this goal David Pastrnak passed Joe Thornton for the second most career goals in franchise history by a player before their 22nd birthday. 80 goals.

The Leafs would take a few penalties trying to keep up with the surging Bruins. Allowing The Bear to turn the screw.

Torey Krug gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead on the powerplay with a rocket from the right-hand circle. Great play from Austin Czarnik and David Krejci who are credited with the assists. Krug’s eighth of the year and second point of the night. Czarnik with his second helper of the year, Krejci’s 17th.

Adam McQuaid was outstanding in the period. A diving sweep-check prevented James Van Riemsdyk a clear opportunity. Also a nice bit of redemption for Frank Vatrano after giving away too many penalties, drew an important one tonight.

The Bruins kept the Hyman-Matthews-Nylander line to just one shot collectively through two periods.

Third Period

The Bruins suffocated the Maple Leafs in another fast and frantic period. The Leafs however certainly seemed to tire from chasing the Bruins all game. In all honesty, the Bruins never truly seemed under the cosh throughout the period.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 3: Tuukka Rask /

Tim Schaller would seal the deal with an empty netter, 4-1 Bruins.

Final Thoughts

Tonight was an emphatic victory for the Boston Bruins. Leafs’ fans were quietly confident earlier in the season at the prospect of facing the B’s in the postseason, they aren’t now. I can’t think of a simple facet in the game where Toronto were superior.

More from Causeway Crowd

Tukka Rask had another outstanding night, saving 23 of the 24 shots he faced. A .958 SV%.

By the way, TD Garden was LOUD tonight and credit to all of those in attendance. It was a genuine playoff atmosphere this evening.