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Boston Bruins' Sean Kuraly celebrates after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round at TD Garden in Boston, on April 12, 2018.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins administered a thorough whipping to the Toronto Maple Leafs in every area of the game Thursday night, but there was nothing as thorough as their domination on special teams.

The Bruins scored two power-play goals on two opportunities and squelched the Leafs power-play three out of three times in the first two periods to earn a 5-1 win. By the end of the night, the Bruins made it three power-play goals in six opportunities. It may have been just the opening game in their first-round NHL playoff series but there is no question who the alpha dog is right now.

“We were outscored three-zero on special teams, three on the PK [penalty kill]. That’s most likely never going to get it done,” said Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey. “Not nearly enough offensive-zone time for us. It seemed like we spent the vast majority of the game on our half of the ice. We weren’t able to get any long sustained push in their end.”

In the third period, the Leafs, having lost every other battle, lost their composure as well. Or Nazem Kadri did, driving a vulnerable Bruins forward Tommy Wingels into the boards from behind with a leaping hit, which means he will probably draw a suspension from the NHL’s player-safety department. An NHL official said the hit will be closely reviewed.

The Leafs went into the second period down 3-1 thanks to the Bruins’ domination on special teams and they quickly squandered any chance of a comeback. They warmed up by taking a bench minor for too many men on the ice and Kadri followed with a boarding call, both in the first five minutes, to let the Bruins seize control of the game again.

Then Kadri lost control of himself when Wingels threw an elbow at Mitch Marner a few minutes later. He charged Wingels from behind and hit him as the Bruins player fell to the ice, driving him into the boards. Wingels was helped to his feet and did not play for the rest of the game. David Krejci scored during the Kadri power play to make it 5-1 Bruins.

“I just felt like he made contact with [Marner’s] head to start and I didn’t see a call there,” Kadri said. “And he was turning up the wall so I was committed to the hit. I certainly wasn’t trying to hit him when he was down like that.

“I don’t think I stuck my leg out or my hands out. Right now it’s in the hands of the NHL.”

The Maple Leafs said all week they expected the Bruins to come out hard. They also expected a heightened, intense atmosphere at the TD Garden, with 17,000 Bostonians projecting their hatred in a vocal onslaught. Oh yeah, bring it on, they said.

“I love going into buildings that boo you, are electric and hostile,” Kadri said after the morning skate. “That just pumps me up and I’m sure I speak for a lot of other guys.”

Unfortunately for the Leafs, the Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak were pumped up a lot more. They came out strong and hard, leading a Bruins charge for the first 15 minutes of the game that scarcely allowed the Leafs to draw a breath. Marchand and Bergeron put on a clinic in playoff hockey – winning every fight for the puck and keeping it in the Leafs zone almost all of the time.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he would make sure Bergeron’s line played a lot against the Leafs’ top line of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Zach Hyman. That’s how the coach handled it for the most part, although the Bruins’ big unit dominated every line they played against.

Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was also caught with his fourth line on the ice against the Bergeron unit a few times and it was costly. The Leafs managed to escape shifts with Tomas Plekanec, Kasperi Kapanen and Leo Komarov against the Bergeron line a couple of times but paid for it dearly as the second period ended.

When Babcock could not get the Plekanec line off the ice due to an icing call, Cassidy sent Bergeron’s line over the boards. They easily cycled the puck around the Leafs with Pastrnak finishing for a 3-1 lead.

Babcock essentially shrugged off the question of what to do about the Boston trio.

“Give them credit - they were good, we weren’t good enough,” Babcock said. “The puck went in for them, it didn’t go in for us. They were better than us, they won Game 1. So that’s the beauty of this. We’ve got to win four, they’ve got to win three. So that’s where we’re at.”

Marchand and David Backes scored the Bruins’ pivotal goals on the power play in the first two periods. Sean Kuraly scored an even-strength goal in the third period that ended any question of a Leaf comeback. The Leafs’ only goal came on a nice rush by Zach Hyman.


Despite a crushing Game 7 loss the last time Toronto faced the Boston Bruins in the playoffs in 2013, Leafs players say both teams have changed a lot. Leafs head coach Mike Babcock says the first-round series with Boston won’t be “easy.”

The Canadian Press

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