David Pastrnak got the scoring started in the first when he put home a loose puck, but the Leafs, given about a day to mull it over, challenged it. The goal was overturned for allegedly being offside. You be the judge. Still tied.
Not to be deterred, Pastrnak came calling again, and it was a beauty. 1-0 Bruins.
Kasperi Kapanen found a soft spot in the Bruins’ defense early in the second, and wired home a slapshot. 1-1 tie.
The Bruins responded, and it was Pastrnak again - this time on the giving end. Brad Marchand buried this crazy pass to make it 2-1 Bruins.
With Zdeno Chara in the box for tripping, Kapanen found Alexander Kerfoot alone in the slot, and he didn’t miss. 2-2 tie.
Jake DeBrusk takes the puck to the net and gets a shot off. The puck deflects off a Leafs’ skate directly to Brett Ritchie, who buries it. 3-2 Bruins early in the third.
The Bruins came up with a big penalty kill late in the third. Shortly after Sean Kuraly got out of the box, he forced a juicy rebound that Par Linholm tucked home for his first as a Bruin. 4-2 Bruins.
And that’s how we finished! A nice win for the Bruins heading into 3 days off.
- We are quickly running out of superlatives to describe the play of David Pastrnak. He has been on another planet for a little over a week. While only one counted, he scored twice tonight, and came close a couple of other times. The pass on Marchand’s goal was a work of art. He currently leads the league in goals with 10, and is putting up points at an absurd (and obviously unsustainable) 154-point pace. NOT BAD.
- Speaking of Pastrnak, Bruce Cassidy noted after the game that Pastrnak has benefited from continuing to get stronger on the puck. He cited that strength as a reason some of Pastrnak’s creative plays have worked, as he’s now harder to knock off the puck.
- Patrice Bergeron had a couple of grade-A chances tonight, but the puck found Michael Hutchinson’s chest. Tough breaks for Bergeron.
- Anders Bjork was fine tonight. He had some flashes of excitement, including a rush in the second period where his shot beat Hutchinson but hit the crossbar. He was also solid along the boards, which is an area where the Bruins wanted to see him improve. He finished with a little more than 13 minutes in TOI.
- I know I’m letting myself get sucked into the feel-good comeback story, but tonight had to be tough for David Backes, who skated just 7:13, more than three minutes less than the next-closest Bruins skater.
- It was Brett Ritchie’s goal, but Jake DeBrusk’s effort on the goal was impressive. It was one of those rough-and-tumble DeBrusk rushes that have endeared him to many Bruins fans. The points aren’t pouring in for him yet, but DeBrusk’s effort is certainly there.
- The Bruins threw 39 shots on net tonight, after throwing 46 at the Leafs on Saturday night. The games were close, sure, but the Leafs aren’t going to have much success against the Bruins if they continue to allow 85 shots in 2 games.
- Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews were quiet tonight, vastly outplayed by the Bergeron line. The duo managed to land 5 shots on goal combined, but I don’t remember many sparkling chances generated by either.
- Kasperi Kapanen was the best Leaf on the ice tonight. His speed has given the Bruins fits before (see that breakaway goal in Game 7 in 2018), and it was a weapon again tonight. The pass to find Kerfoot on the Leafs’ second goal was excellent, and the shot he had that beat Rask was a true laser. He’s a fun player to watch.
- Tonight was my first time back in the press box this season, and the Garden looks great. They’ve completely overhauled Level 9, and are in the process of adding a few more bars and seats. My spot was in one of the new glass-enclosed overhangs, which aren’t for those who fear heights. The Bruins’ new locker room is spectacular as well. An older building is still an older building, but Jacobs & Co. deserve credit for trying to spruce the place up.
- With Karson Kuhlman out, expect Bjork to get a few more looks. Cassidy confirmed as much after the game, and also implied that he may give Tuukka Rask another start on Saturday.
- I know tonight was the celebration of his 500th regular season start, but I found myself caught off-guard by the fact that this is Rask’s 13th NHL season. I was at a high school graduation party for a classmate when I found out about that trade, so I’m old now, but it really doesn’t seem like Rask’s NHL career is now a teenager. He’s off to quite a start this season.