Boston Bruins bounce Toronto Maple Leafs in National Hockey League playoff opener

Boston Bruins bounce Toronto Maple Leafs in National Hockey League playoff opener

He said it without smirking.

Toronto proved all season they were better than a wild card team but due to the strong play of the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, the Maple Leafs could never threaten to take away home ice in the playoffs from their division foes.

The Auston Matthews line drew most of the Bergeron assignment on Thursday, as expected, and managed to keep them off the scoreboard at 5-on-5. Veteran dominated young guy and it nearly looked too easy for the best line in hockey - a line in need of a some kind of nickname. Boston, Rask 1-0 (27-26). Pastrnak ripped a wrister from the slot after a nice pass from Patrice Bergeron to make it 3-1 with 38 seconds left in the period.

Third Period_5, Boston, Kuraly 1 (Pastrnak, Chara), 7:41.

Brad Marchand wasted little time doing what Brad Marchand does in the Boston Bruins' opening-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mostly, the Leafs looked like accountants who had wandered into a biker bar at full brawl.

David Backes put the Bruins ahead for good with Boston's second power-play marker at 15:43 before their top line extended that advantage.

While the game wasn't completely out of hand, Nazem Kadri did his best to prevent the Maple Leafs from mounting any comeback attempt.

Also given the winning streak the Bruins went on after losing the back-to-back with Toronto in mid-November, it's impossible to put any weight into those Maple Leaf victories. It's another to lose a player of outcome.

"We were ready, we were on time, and we were energized". During the regular season, the Leafs were masters at finding the open spots on the ice and getting the puck to them.

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It means lights out for the Leafs, at least in Game 1, with the Toronto penalty kill giving up three goals, David Krejci doing the playoff thing he has done so often, and Rick Nash not scoring at all, but drawing penalties for risky looks that resulted in goals.

Toronto never looked this out of place in all of their series against Washington previous year. It remained a problem down the stretch heading to the playoffs and a problem Thursday night.

"It's a good start but it doesn't mean much", said Marchand. "A lot of things went our way".

In the third, with the game out of reach, Boston fans chanted, "We Want The Cup, We Want The Cup".

That isn't something anyone wants to envision in Toronto.

Toronto was able to tie it up after Connor Brown chipped the puck past Zdeno Chara - who pinched in the offensive zone - and Zach Hyman was able to win a foot race to get possession, skate past everyone and put a backhander past Rask. The Leafs did not have even one shot on goal during five-on-five play and were fortunate to be down only one goal. What impressed Bergeron was Marchand's discipline, despite his back and forth with Komarov. At 5-on-5 with Bergeron on the ice, the Bruins controlled 82 per cent of all shot attempts.

Another great showing of the chemistry that has emerged between Bergeron and Marchand, with David Pastrnak the one reaping the benefits.

Any chance for momentum to start the third period was lost when Leaf forwards Mitch Marner and Kadri took penalties in the first five minutes.

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