OK, let’s be honest: every Bruins fan was hoping to get retribution against the last opponent in the B’s playoff victory history? RIGHT?!?
Sure, it was still a regular season game. With piles of injuries and Tuukka’s leave, this team needed to congeal a little bit. Yesterday’s game was a step in the right direction.
A very quiet start for Boston, with Toronto getting the first bajillion shots on goal. The crowd, too, was disconnected - and, as the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont noted on Twitter, fans gave semi-sarcastic cheers after each save by both goalies, cheering (mocking?) the 13-goal game in that same building on Thursday.
Steve Kampfer took his first penalty early in the game, and by the midway point of the first, Toronto had amassed a massive 15-2 shot advantage. Many were low-danger shots from the outside or without much mustard behind them from the point, but shots on net nonetheless.
Boston managed to slow the bleeding in the latter half of the period, and after a faceoff loss by Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak collected the loose puck in the offensive corner, wrapped the net, and fired a shot off of Bergeron’s stick that tipped past Leafs goalie Garret Sparks. It was a 1-0 game with just over 3 minutes left in the frame.
After a light ‘n loose first period, Boston really turned on the pressure in the last few minutes, getting a few extra chances if not countable shots on net. The frame ended with a 20-6 shot deficit for Boston, yet the 1-0 lead held.
An early penalty to Toronto yielded nothing on the power play for Boston. An A-MAZ-ing pass by JFK nearly set upDeBrusk off the bench. Excellent vision on display from the forward’s first NHL game this year.
In Carbs We Trust! Pastrnak firmly planted a feed from Patrice Bergeron to put Boston up, 2-0. Balance is overrated, and David is not.
Once again, about five minutes later in the frame, Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead. This one came during a penalty to Martin Marincin for a holding penalty that prevent Anders Bjork from getting a clear lane to a loose puck in the slot. Pastrnak doesn’t miss.
With about thirty seconds remaining in the period, Nazem Kadri got a little tangled with Jaroslav Halak (he had help from the B’s defense), and the puck was passed back and forth to a wide open John Tavares with a nearly unblocked 4x6 at which to shoot, and he made no mistake, putting toronto on the board and sending these two teams to the locker room for the second intermission at a 3-1 count in the Bruins’ favor.
Toronto went into a bit of a defensive shell early in the period, interrupting Boston offensive rushes but being content with chipping it ahead in the neutral zone. By contrast, the Bruins’ defensemen were a bit more liberal stepping up in the neutral zone to move the puck forward - including Chara, who bowled through two Leafs just to force the puck into the Toronto zone before returning to position. The entire first half of the period would play out like this, to the scoreboard’s dismay.
Not long past the halfway point, Kasperi Kapanen took a double-minor high sticking penalty, giving Boston four minutes of advantage that would carry them to under five minutes left. Toronto did manage to control the puck during their PK, which was just as frustrating as Boston’s inability to get a puck through traffic and on net. Some deft passing facilitated by David Backes setting up shop behind the net yielded chances, followed by success. Pressuring one side of the net, Boston duped the Toronto PK into collapsing one way, and a cross-ice pass from Marchand to Pastrnak did not miss. Neither did Yung Dave’s shot, potting his third of the game and putting Boston ahead, 4-1.
While the Garden announcer was still shouting Pasta’s praises, Joakim Nordstrom took a short pass from David Krejci in the corner, snapping the puck under Leafs goalie Garret Sparks for a 5-1 lead.
- Recent forward call-up Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson played well and visibly defense-responsible; maybe it should be expected from a center, but worth mentioning given that it was his first game with the big club this season. The line was active if not superbly effective.
- The shuffling of the bottom six did add some foot speed to the third line (moving David Backes to the 4th line), but they (nor the 4th) put any points up. It won’t happen every night, sure; we’re just hoping that this kind of team effort will result in more balanced contributions.
- For how much it felt like we saw Chara on the ice, it was actually Matt Grzelcyk who had the most time on ice last night. Even John Moore was ahead of Chara, so Bruce did a great job in letting Griz take the reins with a lead in the game, giving him valuable experience.
No time to dwell on it, the B’s are back in action tonight at 7PM! Get ready for a Sunday Back-2-Back!!