Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Boston Bruins Teach Toronto Maple Leafs a Playoff Lesson in Game 1

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Boston Bruins Teach Toronto Maple Leafs a Playoff Lesson in Game 1

Article excerpt

Bruins thump Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 1


BOSTON - The Toronto Maple Leafs talked at length this week about the importance of trying to contain Boston's powerful top line in their first-round playoff series with the Bruins.

There's lots of work to be done in that department, and a host of others, after Thursday night.

The trio of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron combined for six points as the Bruins thumped the Leafs 5-1 in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

"We've got to be better, obviously," said Toronto head coach Mike Babcock, who had Marchand and Bergeron when all three were part of Canada's team that won the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. "Give them credit, they were good.

"We weren't good enough."

Pastrnak had a goal and two assists, Marchand added a goal and an assist, and Bergeron set up one in a dominant performance that had the Leafs' heads spinning from the raucous opening faceoff onwards.

"They played with a lot of speed," Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly said. "The building was rocking, they were feeling the energy."

David Krejci, with a goal and an assist, David Backes and Sean Kuraly rounded out the scoring for Boston, which got 26 saves from Tuukka Rask. Torey Krug added two assists.

Zach Hyman replied for the Leafs, while Frederik Andersen made 35 stops.

Game 2 goes Saturday at TD Garden before the series switches to Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs may be without forward Nazem Kadri for Game 2. He has a hearing scheduled Friday with the NHL department of player safety after he charged Boston forward Tommy Wingels in the third period of Thursday's game.

Kadri took exception to an elbow to Mitch Marner from Wingels and replied by taking a run at the Boston forward after he tumbled to the ice, earning a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct in the process.

"I just felt like he made contact with Mitchy's head to start, and I didn't see a call there," Kadri said. "He was turning up the wall so I was committed to the hit, and then he ended up falling. It happened pretty quick.

"It's in the hands of the NHL."

Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron -- who totalled 99 goals in the regular season and are stellar in all three zones -- set the tone early with their skating and physical play.

Bergeron said an emphasis on communication between the three has been crucial to their success.

"Every time we come back to the bench we talk about what we saw and what we can do better," said the veteran centre. "That's been key to creating that chemistry."

Boston limited space in the neutral zone at even strength all night long as Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander struggled to find room.

Toronto's power play, which had been operating at 32.2 per cent since the end of January, will also be a point of emphasis after going 0 for 3, while the penalty kill allowed Boston to score three times with the man advantage. …

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