NHL playoffs: Boston Bruins beat Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Wednesday to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series. Here's a breakdown of the action from TD Garden.
• The Bruins’ so-called energy line has been their best line on some nights. The combination of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton gave Boston its first goal of the night and logged significant minutes throughout, in part as an answer to Toronto coach Randy Carlyle’s decision to play Colton Orr and his fourth line for 13 shifts. In eight minutes, Orr amassed 16 minutes of penalties. “They seem to relish that role,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of his fourth-liners. “Two years ago, I played them against the Sedin twins. That’s how much confidence I had in them.”
• Perhaps it was a lack of familiarity, but twice on Boston power plays new Bruin Jaromir Jagr passed the puck back to the middle of ice, in between his defensemen and harmlessly out of the zone. Many teams use a 1-2-2 setup, in which two forwards creep in from the half boards in order to spread the defense out and give several options to a single point man. Twice on rebounds, Jagr slipped a pass in between Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg with Leafs’ goalie James Reimer scrambling to get back into position.
• Bruins forward Milan Lucic is fighting it. With 45 seconds left in the first period, off a pass from Tyler Seguin, Lucic had a chance to sweep the puck past the fallen Reimer in one motion. Instead he took the puck in his skates and spent too much time getting it to lay flat. That’s the sort of play Lucic makes when he lacks confidence. A more confident Lucic would have made the conversion on instinct rather than trying to overthink it. At least his physical play isn’t suffering. He had four hits on the night and played nearly 19 minutes, but the puck still isn’t going in as it has in past years. The 24-year-old forward is coming off 30 and 26-goal seasons, but had just seven this year in the lockout-shortened campaign.
• Speaking of struggles, Reimer had a rough night. In addition to the four goals he allowed, he was also beaten cleanly on a shot from Seguin just a minute into the second period. The quick snap shot went over the goalie’s glove, hit the crossbar and was called a goal. Reimer froze in his net and both teams stopped playing, realizing that the call would be reviewed. No harm done, as it was ruled the puck had not crossed the goal line, but Reimer continued to look out of sorts. He also failed to track a 60-footer from Adam McQuaid four minutes later and was lucky that the shot flew wide of the net. With seven minutes left in the third period, Boston had another goal disallowed when Patrice Bergeron jammed what appeared to be a free puck into the net from under Reimer. After discussing the play, officials ruled that the puck had been covered. The game marked the continuation of an inconsistent stretch for Reimer. Despite good outings recently against Florida and Ottawa in his last five games, Reimer gave up five goals against the Islanders and four against the Lightning and was pulled against the Canadiens in his last regular-season start on Apr. 27.
• It seemed to only get worse for Reimer in the postgame scrum with reporters. The first question after a 4-1 loss in his first playoff game: “James, can you tell us what happened on that fifth goal?”
• Welcome to the playoffs, Tyler Bozak. The fourth-year Leaf was in the middle of a lot of plays on Wednesday night. He picked up an assist on the first goal of the game, and midway through the second period had a clear breakaway on Rask where the puck slid off his stick. Bozak managed only a weak backhand, which Rask easily turned aside. “It’s a little different,” Bozak said of the playoff atmosphere. “There’s a lot more intensity, a lot more stuff after the whistles.” He wasn’t the only Leaf feeling, or at least showing, some nerves. On Boston’s third goal, scored by David Krejci, Marc Fraser fell down after turning the wrong way for a loose puck. Two other Leafs got tangled with each other in front of Reimer. • So now what for Toronto, since the first game is out of its system? “We can’t turn the puck over as much,” said captain Dion Phaneuf. “We have to clean up our game. They’re a team that likes to transition the puck. We need to tighten up a lot.” Added forward James van Riemsdyk: “It’s something we have to learn from. We can’t give up on plays. We didn’t do that during the year.” And from Reimer: “Me, personally, I have to reset and be a lot better. There were some I could have stopped and I have to stop them.”