NHL

Bruins Respond to Leafs Physicality in 4-1 Win

After three failed attempts at beating the Boston Bruins this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs tried a little rough stuff to see if they could get themselves going against their chief rival and tormenter.

Spoiler alert, It didn’t work.

The Bruins got goals from David Pastrnak in the first period, and three in the second as Trent Frederic, Morgan Geekie and Brandon Carlo all lit the lamp in a 4-1 win over the Leafs at TD Garden. The win completed the season sweep for Boston and was their 7th straight victory over their neighbors to the north dating back to last season.

The game that featured 91 hits and 50 penalty minutes including 4 fighting majors and it was clear from the strt Toronto using physicality to send some kind of message.

And the Bruins were quick to answer the bell.

The Leafs Jake McCabe earned himself two minutes in the sin bin for taking down Jake DeBrusk at 3:54 of the first period. McCabe then turned his ire to Brad Marchand with a cross-check to the chin. Matthew Knies involvement in the ensuing dustup earned him two minutes as well and the Bruins went on a two man advantage.

They cashed in when Marchand found DeBrusk at the post who then slid the puck over to Pastrnak who banged home his 39th goal of the season past Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a response to getting cross-checked in the throat,” Brad Marchand said via the Boston Herald. “That’s where it all starts, right? And then after that, emotions are high with everybody and it just carries through the game. And that’s what happens in playoff time. It was a great opportunity for us, a great test. They tried to play hard tonight. They competed and we pushed back, they pushed back again. Those are the types of games that you love to be a part of.”

The Bruins went up 2-0 a little over four minutes into the second when Trent Frederic poked the puck away from William Nylander at the Boston blue line and raced in for a breakaway, beating Woll five-hole for his 17th goal of the season. The 17 goals ties a career high for Frederic set last season.

The Leafs cut the lead in half 3 minutes later on a power play goal by Mitch Marner to make it 2-1.

But the Bruins padded their lead with a pair of goals late in the period. Morgan Geekie, who has been a man possessed of late scored on the power play off a nifty pass from Kevin Shattenkirk across the crease. It was Geekie’s 15th of the season and 5th in his last five games.

Just 1:07 later Brandon Carlo beat Woll blocker side with a wrister from the blue line with under two minutes to play in the period giving the Bruins a 4-1 lead.

The  Leafs kept up their chippy play in the 3rd to no avail. Max Domi went after Marchand causing another scrum. As all the skaters locked up Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman came out to center ice signaling he wanted Woll to come out and fight him. The Toronto goalie opted to stay in his net.

“It probably didn’t call for it, but to see my guys go in, it’s a team effort. We all go in,” said Swayman. “He [Woll] is my buddy and I respect the hell out of him. It was just an opportunity, but nothing happened.”

The win kept Boston in second place in the Atlantic Division one point behind the Florida Panthers. The Leafs remain in 3rd place and if the season ended today, these two teams would square off in the first round of the Playoffs. Tonight may have been a preview of what kind of game to expect.

“I thought we were really physical to start the game,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters. “I thought we were finishing checks and I thought in turn when we got the lead and the game got out of hand, they got physical in that trying-to-send-a-message, maybe for playoffs potentially, as playoffs started today, we’d be playing them. I liked our physicality. Theirs was a little too late.”

Get the Duck Boats Ready

Prior to the game the Bruins celebrated the final ‘Era Night’ of their Centennial Season with many members of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship team in attendance. The players arrived onto the ice in an actual Duck Boat, the same ones that are used for championship parades in Boston.

Brad Marchand, who was a rookie in 2011 and is the only remaining Bruins player from that Cup winning team admits he was jealous he couldn’t have been part of it.

“As soon as I saw them come out, I was pretty upset that I didn’t get the invite out there, but that’s typical for when I was on that team,” Marchand said with a smirk.

The Garden crowd was already in a frenzy and things got turned to 11 when former captain Zdeno Chara stepped off the Duck Boar, was handed the Stanley Cup and hoisted it over his head, same as he did 13 years ago in Vancouver.

“When Z came out with the Stanley Cup, I had a lot of emotions running through me,” said B’s coach Jim Montgomery.

 

John Zannis

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