Mitch Marner had a pair of goals in the Toronto Maple Leafs’, 4-1, victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Game 1 of their 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup on Thursday.
Frederik Andersen (1-0-0 record, 1.00 goals against average, .974 save percentage in one game played this postseason) made 37 saves on 38 shots against in the win for Maple Leafs.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (0-1-0, 3.05 GAA, .906 SV% in one GP this postseason) stopped 29 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.
Toronto leads the series, 1-0, and is 1-0 this postseason, while Boston is 0-1.
The two clubs are meeting in the playoffs for the 3rd time since 2013, Bruins prevailing in seven games in 2013 and 2018 over the Leafs.
Boston re-assigned Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Jeremy Lauzon and Zach Senyshyn to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Sunday ahead of their 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup after utilizing the group of forwards to rest their veteran players for the series against the Leafs.
Bruce Cassidy revealed his lines for the B’s ahead of Thursday’s game, leaving Karson Kuhlman on the second line right wing with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, while moving Danton Heinen to the third line with Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle.
Steven Kampfer was the only defender that was a healthy scratch for the B’s.
Midway through the opening frame, William Nylander caught Clifton with a high-stick and was assessed a two-minute minor penalty at 8:55 of the first period.
Less than a minute into the ensuing power play, Boston worked the puck around the offensive zone as Brad Marchand connected with Patrice Bergeron (1) to give the Bruins the lead, 1-0, at 9:31 of the first period.
Marchand (1) and Torey Krug (1) collected the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal as Marchand faked a shot and slid a pass across the ice to a wide-open Bergeron, forcing Andersen to play catch up.
With the goal, the current longest-tenured alternate captain in the NHL (Bergeron) now has four goals and eight assists (12 points) in his last eight playoff games against Toronto.
Late in the period, Marner (1) tied the game, 1-1, as the Maple Leafs pounced on an erratic face-off in the attacking zone, first tipping the puck off the near post, then banking it off a body in front of the Bruins net and into the twine.
After 20 minutes of play, the score was tied, 1-1, with the Maple Leafs leading in shots on goal (10-8), as well as takeaways (7-5), giveaways (6-5), hits (17-14) and face-off win percentage (58-42).
Boston led in blocked shots (4-2) and was 1/1 on the power play entering the first intermission. Toronto had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the second period.
Early in the middle frame, Kasperi Kapanen caught DeBrusk with a high-stick and took a trip to the penalty box with a minor penalty at 2:16 of the second period.
The B’s failed to convert on the resulting skater advantage and allowed a shorthanded breakaway that nearly resulted in a goal for Marner.
Instead, DeBrusk tripped Marner as the Leafs winger reached the crease and rewarded Marner with a penalty shot at 2:47.
Marner (2) scored his second goal of the game– a shorthanded penalty shot goal– after getting Rask to commit to the poke check, pulling the puck around the Boston netminder and pocketing it into the mostly open twine.
No. 16 in blue-and-white became just the 5th player in NHL history to score a shorthanded penalty shot goal in the playoffs and the first Toronto player to convert on the penalty shot since Mats Sundin did so against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 4 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Final on May 29, 1999.
Late in the period, Nylander (1) scored off the paddle of Rask’s stick and through the Bruins goaltender’s five-hole after receiving a stretch pass from Nazem Kadri and breaking into the zone all alone.
Kadri (1) and Patrick Marleau (1) notched the assists on Nylander’s goal and the Maple Leafs led, 3-1, at 18:25.
Through two periods of play, Toronto led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and in blocked shots (8-7), takeaways (12-6), giveaways (9-5) and hits (25-21).
Boston led in shots on goal (29-24– including a, 21-14, advantage in the second period alone) and face-off win% (52-48) entering the third period.
The B’s were also 1/2 on the power play after 40 minutes of action.
Midway through the final frame, Zdeno Chara was penalized for interference against Marleau to the displeasure of the Boston crowd– despite the obvious infraction– at 11:45 of the third period.
Toronto did not convert on their only power play opportunity of the night.
With 2:37 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker. About a minute later, after a stoppage in play, Cassidy used his timeout to draw up a plan to score at least one goal and cut into Toronto’s two-goal lead.
Things didn’t go as planned for the Bruins.
After winning a face-off in the neutral zone, Boston bungled a pass that was quickly intercepted by Tavares (1) as the Leafs center went on to bury the puck in the empty goal frame, icing the win, 4-1, for Toronto at 18:41 of the third period.
Tavares’ first postseason goal as a Maple Leaf was unassisted.
At the final horn, Toronto took the, 1-0, series lead with a, 4-1, victory on road ice, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 38-33.
The Maple Leafs finished Thursday night leading in blocked shots (14-11), giveaways (12-7) and hits (33-31), while both teams were 50-50 in face-off win%.
Boston went 1/2 on the power play and Toronto went 0/1 on the skater advantage.
In their four regular season meetings, the team that scored the game’s first goal went on to win all four games. On Thursday, the team that scored the game’s first goal lost.
Welcome to the postseason. It’s a whole new [hockey] game.
Game 2 is Saturday night at TD Garden with puck drop expected shortly after 8 p.m. ET. Viewers can tune into NBC, CBC or TVAS.