Marner doubles down, Maple Leafs steal opener over Bruins

photo found at SportsNet

In their second playoff meeting in as many years, the Boston Bruins hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of NHL action on April 11. Last season, it came down to the wire as Boston edged out Toronto 4-3. The Leafs are looking for revenge, winning the series opener 4-1 led by Mitch Marner’s pair of goals.

Boston strikes first

The Leafs owned most of the game but it was the Bruins who held a slight edge early on. Nearly halfway through the first period, the Leafs led with eight shots on goal, compared to the Bruins’ four. A high sticking penalty on William Nylander put Boston on the power play just over 30 seconds in, and Patrice Bergeron cashed in.

Toronto had the shots on goal advantage, but the goose egg stayed on the board until late in the first. Bruins goalie Tukka Rask had saved all nine shots he faced, while Frederik Andersen saved three of four shot attempts.

Marner double dips

The shots kept pouring in for the Leafs with one ringing off the post and Marner was “johnny on the spot” sliding to his knees but slapping a put-backer on net. He was quick enough to beat Rask and the score was knotted at 1-1.

Just under three minutes into the second period, the Bruins were back on the power play. 30 seconds into their power play, the Leafs stole away the puck and hit a streaking Marner. As he approached the goal, Jake DeBrusk slid his stick into the back of Marner’s skate, bringing him down with a tripping call.

Marner made quick work of Rask on his penalty shot.

Speedy Leafs create more chances

The Leafs could do no wrong from that point forward, using their speed to outdo the more physical Bruins squad. Several stretch passes by the Leafs’ defensemen led to scoring chances, including this one by Nylander.

The Leafs had 19 takeaways compared to the Bruins’ six. Their speed and precision passing put pressure on the Bruins defense all night long.

Andersen shines in net

As offensive-minded as the Leafs were, it was the Bruins who generated more shots on goal. Boston put 38 shots on goal, to Toronto’s 33. Andersen stopped 37 of the Bruins attempts.

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