Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

Leafs thrill fans with 4-1 away-game playoff win over Bruins

Mirtle Why I’m picking the Bruins over the Maple Leafs Mirtle Why I’m picking the Bruins over the Maple Leafs
Cary Erickson | 14 April, 2019, 21:24

They didn't look like kids who wandered into a bar brawl.

That weird historical element that hangs over proceedings when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs felt present once again. This game followed them around all season, more or less, right to the end. It remains a long shot, but it's getting closer to a territory where other big names like the Washington Capitals, the Calgary Flames, and the Bruins are now sitting on.

The Leafs were ready. They turned the puck over in high danger areas.

"He was a rock back there for us", defenceman Jake Muzzin said. When the horn sounded, it was 4-1. Marner was a big part of that with his two-goal game, including being just the fifth player to score a shorthanded goal on a penalty shot in the playoffs. This was what everyone had been waiting for.

Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal for the Bruins, who could not get much offense from their top line. "Maybe we weren't ready for that kind of pressure, but they were just better that we were". "We're going to need to keep going here throughout the series".

"We're a fast team", said Marner, who pointed to Toronto's confidence as a difference this time around against Boston.

It's not easy to hit or stop Nylander, either. Connor Brown threw a rib-shaker. Making an impact in limited minutes: Trevor Moore ... I thought Coyle was arguably the Bruins best player.

It's hard to hit what you can't catch. Frederik Andersen has given up one goal on 38 shots faced.

The Bruins are 16-10-2 against opponents from the Atlantic Division.

One win does not a series make.

"My 19-year-old year, when it was April, I was drinking beers in my frat basement", Dallas defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. Obviously, I didn't like the result of that and then he scored.

Griffin misses Pistons' win-and-in finale
Griffin has been the focal point of the Detroit offense, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game this season. In San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge had 34 points and 16 rebounds and the Spurs beat Dallas in Dirk Nowitzki's final game.

Toronto talked about pressuring the Boston defence with speed and physicality, with Kadri talking about heads on swivels.

It was Toronto's first postseason penalty shot in 20 years. They could have scored three more times late in the second, too. "The team that (loses) always digs in and as the team that won, we have to do the same or we'll be left behind".

"It was a great move", said Auston Matthews.

Toronto did a good job limiting the line of Marchand, Bergeron and David Pastrnak - the trio combined for 30 points against the Leafs last spring - at 5 on 5 in the opener. "Because we have two groups there and a third group that we're not as concerned about".

As for other matchups, I think the Calgary Flames will go pretty far, and beat the hot St. Louis Blues in the Western Final.

"You shorten down your goals and focus on what you can do right in the moment". The other guy gets to do whatever he wants.

"You're going to let in a goal, you've got to focus on what's coming next", he said.

Nothing's guaranteed. It's one game, and the Bruins will be better, and this is hockey.

"They're a team that works hard and gets their chances by putting the puck on net and converging", Bergeron said.

Bruce Arthur is a Toronto-based sports columnist.