May 2, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: B's flip the switch, dominate Leafs

By Jesse Connolly


Shawn Thornton congratulates Wade Redden on his first-period goal in Game 1 against Toronto. (Getty Images)
 

Final: Boston 4, Toronto 1

Recap: Things looked bleak nearly right after the puck dropped, as former UNH star James van Riemsdyk scored 1:45 into the game on the power play, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. Boston answered midway through the period when midseason acquisition Wade Redden scored on a shot James Reimer got a piece of but couldn't stop.

It looked like Redden did it again just three minutes later on a B's power play. His shot was redirected by Nathan Horton, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead. They never relinquished it.

Boston outshot the visiting Leafs by a 2-to-1 margin on the night. They got a goal on a perfectly-placed shot from the slot by David Krejci and a bomb from the point by Johnny Boychuk in the second period to push their lead to 4-1.

In the third, Tuukka Rask needed to make just six saves. He finished the night with 19 stops on 20 shots, taking care of business against a nonexistent comeback attempt by Toronto.

Series: Bruins lead 1-0

Playoff Records: Boston 1-0; Toronto 0-1

Key Play of the Game: With 21 second left in the first period, JVR came within inches of putting the Leafs up 2-1, hitting the crossbar on a shorthanded opportunity. Play went the other way and, just seconds later, Horton redirected what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Connolly's Commendations: Redden! Wade. Freakin'. Redden! I guess it's probably time to stop complaining about the veteran of 1,000 regular-season games being in the lineup after his clutch, two-point night. Guy deserves all the kudos in the world for making the most of a short window to prove himself and earn a role in the top six during the final weeks of the season.

Milan Lucic's strong final few games of the regular season were encouraging, and it looks like the hulking winger picked up right where he left off, notching two assists and playing with some serious tenacity throughout the contest. No. 17 ranked second on the team behind Shawn Thornton (five) with four hits.

The dynamic duo of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg was superb, completely shutting down Toronto's offensive efforts for 99 percent of the night. And let's not leave Andrew Ference out of the spotlight, either. No. 21 blocked two shots and also played a big role in silencing the Leafs' big guns.

Connolly's Critiques: Strictly looking at even-strength play, it wasn't a poor night for the third line, but the trio of Jaromir Jagr, Chris Kelly and Kaspars Daugavins probabl generated the lowest amount of scoring chances of Boston's four forward groups.

Notes: Redden's last playoff goal came back in 2007. For Rask, it was his first playoff victory since Game 3 of Boston's second-round series against Philadelphia in 2010.

Final Thoughts: After all this talk about the Bruins being unable to just "flip the switch" come playoff time, we've all been left with a bit of egg on our faces. Nevertheless, it's still just one game. Toronto will make adjustments going forward, and the B's will have show they can play with the same amount of passion and intensity every night.

Next: The Leafs and Bruins will be back in action on Saturday night at 7 o'clock for Game 2.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com