The Boston Bruins looked like a completely different team Monday than the one that took the ice in a lopsided loss to the New York Islanders over the weekend.

And for Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, everything changed against the Toronto Maple Leafs starting with how Boston played right in front of its own net.

Montgomery lauded Boston’s strong defensive presence against the top offense in the NHL, as that crucial improvement in its own end was critical to the Bruins notching a 4-1 win over the rival Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

“Protecting our house and defending the rush were the two biggest ones,” Montgomery told NESN’s Andy Brickley, as seen on the network’s postgame coverage. “But I really liked the way we transitioned and got to their net as well.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Bruins kept the Maple Leafs out of high-danger areas for the most part and Jeremy Swayman stepped up with 32 saves. And even when the Maple Leafs got the puck past Swayman, the Bruins were there to back him up.

With the game still hanging in the balance late in the second period, veteran defenseman Brandon Carlo just barely cleared a puck off the goal line that Maple Leafs star Auston Mathews had snuck past Swayman.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Boston’s penalty kill was a big part of the sound defensive effort as well. The Bruins shut down all four of Toronto’s power-play opportunities, a big accomplishment given the collection of offensive weapons the Maple Leafs can put on the ice during the man advantage.

“I think our sticks were really good,” Montgomery said of the PK. “I thought we pressured, one went, we all went and then I thought our forecheck up ice was really good.”

Story continues below advertisement

The performance against the Maple Leafs was the good to come out of the Bruins’ resounding loss to the Islanders. It made the Bruins fix their correctable mistakes.

“It was a horrible game against the Islanders but a lot of it we did it to ourselves,” David Pastrnak told reporters, per NESN postgame coverage. “That’s why we refocused, make sure we focused on details. Sometimes when you’re doing good, you get away with some mistakes. But when you’re doing bad, you have to reset and kind of focus back on the small details.”

Here are more notes from Monday’s Bruins-Maple Leafs game:

— It was unclear if Pavel Zacha would even play after a lower-body injury in the first period Saturday knocked him out for the remainder of the game. Montgomery sure wasn’t banking on it.

Story continues below advertisement

But Zacha made his way into the lineup and accounted for half of Boston’s goal production by scoring twice.

“It was great,” Montgomery told reporters, per team-provided video. “I talked to him at the morning skate and he goes, ‘I think I’m going to be able to go.’ It was a big lift and obviously he had a great night.”

— Pastrnak can do more than just score. He registered three assists and tied his career-high with 52 helpers on the season.

— Jake DeBrusk went without a point in 14 of the last 15 games, but he broke out by registering a goal and an assist in the win. DeBrusk’s second-period goal was a beauty as he sniped the upper-right corner of the net to beat Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll.

Story continues below advertisement

— The Bruins have won six straight games against the Maple Leafs dating back to last season.

— The Bruins head right back home for the second leg of a back-to-back against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Puck drop from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.

Featured image via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images