The Boston Bruins take 1-0 series lead, due to offensive flurry highlighted by 3 powerplay goals.
After stumbling at the final hurdle in the regular season, the Boston Bruins entered the playoffs losers 4 out of their last 5 and play a team in Toronto that has beaten them 3 out of 4 meetings this season. Then, with a few days rest, they came out buzzing and took it to Toronto early. A strong defensive game kept them afloat and allowed the offense to take over at the end of the game.
You couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Bruins playoff run.
The Bruins had control of the game as soon as the puck dropped. The Patrice Bergeron–Brad Marchand–David Pastrnak line had the Leafs hemmed in their own zone for the opening minutes. With the Bruins pressure mounting, Boston would head on the powerplay as James van Riemsdyk was called for hooking.
The Bruins 4th ranked powerplay unit went to work early in the man advantage. Torey Krug rushed up the ice with control of the puck and entered the zone with speed. Krug threaded a pass to a streaking Brad Marchand, who jumped by the defense and with a beat Frederik Andersen with a slick backhanded finish to open the scoring for Boston.
Right after the goal, we had our first huge offsides decision in the series. The entry was very close to being offside, and Toronto looked at the play but chose not to challenge the play. If Toronto did challenge the play and lost, they would have been shorthanded again, this time down 1-0.
Less than a minute after Marchand’s powerplay marker, the Bruins were shorthanded as David Krejci got whistled for hooking. The Leafs had some looks while up a man but as the powerplay headed towards its conclusion, the B’s had some more great chances to add to their lead. Andersen stopped both bids, one by Marchand, then Bergeron.
In the second half of the first stanza, the Leafs found their game and took control. Most of the play was inside the B’s defensive zone it looked like Toronto would find an equalizer in the period. Jake Gardiner’s point shot hit the post late in the period, keeping Boston’s 1 goal advantage intact. The Leafs did find their equalizer as Zach Hyman burst out of his d-zone with a ton of speed and fought off the checks of David Krejci and Charlie McAvoy and slid the puck past Rask with a nifty backhander.
The horn sounded with both teams tied at 1 as we head to intermission.
More from Causeway Crowd
- Harrison, Toporowski shine in Prospects Challenge
- Obscure former Boston Bruins: Steven Kampfer
- Bruins release Prospects Challenge roster, schedule Tuesday
- Bruins release full “Historic 100” list ahead of season
- McAvoy, Lucic named to “Historic 100” list over the weekend
The Maple Leafs’ momentum continued into the second frame, as they drew a penalty just 1 minute into the period. While Boston was able to kill it off, the Leafs had plenty of good looks and shots on goal to open the period. Later, the Leafs had their third powerplay of the game, and once again the Bruins killed it off, lead by the strong play of Tuukka Rask.
Similarly, to the opening period, the Bruins started slowly in the middle frame but got better as the period wore on. After two unsuccessful Leaf powerplays, the Bruins got their chance while on the man advantage. Like the first powerplay, the B’s were able to convert to regain the lead. All 5 players touched the puck before the goal, which was scored by David Backes, who was parked in front of the goal. Backes kicked the puck to his stick and roofed it past a sprawled out Frederik Andersen, to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
With under a minute remaining in the period, the Bruins struck once more. Brad Marchand picked up a rebound along the corner boards, and freed himself with an unreal move and found David Pastrnak in the slot, who snipes one past Andersen to give the B’s a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
After a very successful second period, the Bruins kept control into the final frame. Within the first 5 minutes of the period, Boston had 2 powerplay opportunities, first for too many men, then Nazem Kadri was called for boarding Tommy Wingels. They scored on both man advantages earlier in the game but were shut out on both chances.
The B’s finally found their fourth goal of the contest just before midway through the period. A great stretch pass by Zdeno Chara found David Pastrnak who outmuscled a Leaf defender in front, but his shot hit the post. Sean Kuraly did his best Sidney Crosby impersonation and knocked home the airborne rebound into the goal.
Earlier in the period, Kadri was called for boarding Wingels, but 40 seconds after Kuraly’s goal, his second infraction should result in a multi-game suspension. Wingels was on his knees after a puck battle along the boards, and Kadri barreled into WIngels’ head in what can only be described as a dirty hit. Kadri was called for a game misconduct and ejected from the game.
On the 5 minute powerplay, the Bruins scored once, as David Krejci banked the puck off of Andersen from a near-impossible angle for a 5-1 Bruins lead. Boston thought they got a 6th goal courtesy of Timmy Schaller, but the official lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead.
Tuukka Rask shut down any chances the Leafs could muster late in the game, and the Bruins take game 1 over Toronto with a 5-1 victory.
- Rick Nash and Sean Kuraly both returned from injury in game 1 and both looked impressive in their return to action.
- Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug were the only skaters to eclipse the 20-minute maker, with McAvoy leading TOI with 20:51.
- Even though Toronto didn’t create much offensively, Tuukka Rask was on his game, shutting down the Leafs best chances, especially on the powerplay.
- Brad Marchand was everywhere tonight, he had 2 points and was involved in many offensive threats.
- Back at it again for Game 2 on Saturday night.