BOSTON — The Boston Bruins had trouble closing out games in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, but they finished the job with ease in a 5-1 drubbing in Thursday night’s Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
After two late goals in the second period that increased their lead to 3-1, the Bruins scored two more times in the middle of the third to eliminate any chance of a Leafs comeback at TD Garden.
Boston’s offense, which was red-hot for most of the season, got goals from five different players.
The B’s take a 1-0 series lead into Saturday’s Game 2.
Here’s how Game 1 went down.
Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk and Danton Heinen all played in their first career Stanley Cup playoff game.
Torey Krug executed a perfect zone entry on Boston’s first power play — facing little to no resistance from the Leafs — and then passed to Brad Marchand, who beat Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen for the first goal at 5:28 of the opening period. David Pastrnak also picked up an assist on the goal.
EXPERT PENALTY KILLING
Marchand and Patrice Bergeron completely dominated the puck during Toronto’s only power play in the first period. They created more scoring chances and shot attempts than the Leafs, successfully killing off the penalty and preserving Boston’s 1-0 lead.
HECK OF AN EFFORT
Leafs forward Zach Hyman beat David Krejci to a loose puck and beat B’s goalie Tuukka Rask to tie the score at one goal apiece. Hyman showed off excellent speed to win the race to the puck. The goal was scored with 3:08 left in the period and was assisted by Connor Brown and Morgan Rielly.
ANOTHER POWER-PLAY TALLY
David Backes scored on the power play late in the second period to put Boston back ahead. He out-battled Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey in front of the net and flipped the puck past Andersen. It was Backes’ 14th career playoff goal and second as a member of the B’s. Charlie McAvoy and Krejci earned assists on the goal.
Pastrnak put the Bruins up 3-1 with just 38 seconds remaining in the second period after unleashing a wrist shot past Andersen. Marchand did good work below the goal line and along the boards to corral the puck and find Pastrnak. Marchand and Pastrnak each had a goal and an assist after this tally. Bergeron, in addition to Marchand, assisted on the goal.
Toronto attempted just two shots over the last seven minutes of the period. The B’s scored twice during that span.
PUTTING THE GAME AWAY
It’s baseball season, so Sean Kuraly demonstrated good bunting form by batting the puck into the net for Boston’s fourth goal at 7:41 of the third period.
Pastrnak earned his second assist and third point of the night on Kuraly’s goal, while Chara also picked up a helper.
Nazem Kadri, who took a penalty for boarding Tommy Wingels at 4:44 of the third period, received a five-minute major penalty for charging at Wingles nearly four minutes later. Kadri launched his rear at the head area of Wingels. It’s certainly a hit worthy of a suspension.
SEALING THE DEAL
David Krejci scored on the power play that resulted from Kadri’s major penalty. The B’s forward banked the puck off Andersen and into the net.
Game 2 of the series is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at TD Garden.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports