Heading into the playoffs, much was discussed about the figurative switch that the Bruins planned to turn on for the postseason. They had such a lackluster April that it seemed as if they were waiting for the playoffs to arrive to elevate their game.
Game 1 began with the Bruins' most valuable penalty-killer getting called for a trip on Leafs' winger James Van Riemsdyk. Less than 20 seconds into Toronto's early power play, Van Riemsdyk scored to give the Leafs an early lead.
So much for that switch, right?
Fortunately for the Bruins, that was the lone bright moment for Toronto, which appeared in its first playoff game in nine years.
The B's carried the play the remainder of the period, when defenseman Wade Redden scored the tying goal that just got by Leafs' netminder James Reimer. Redden's goal came off a strong fore-check by Gregory Campbell and Dan Paille, who excelled throughout the game.
Redden found himself on the score sheet again just a few minutes later, when the Bruins gained clean entry into the offensive zone on the power play. Nathan Horton tipped in Redden's shot from the point to give the Bruins a lead and all the momentum heading into the first intermission.
The Bruins nearly scored again early in the second period when Tyler Seguin rang a point-blank opportunity off the post—a position where Seguin has to bury those. Brad Marchand caused a turnover in the neutral zone and took a huge hit from Leafs' defenseman Cody Franson, which led to the odd-man rush for Seguin and Kelly.
The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line was in top form all game long. Lucic and Horton were physical and weren't making stupid decisions with the puck like they had been during the season. This showed on Krejci's goal when the trio entered the offensive zone and attacked the slot, more specifically Kulemin and Fraser. Krejci was able to get the puck past a rattled Reimer to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Boston had no problem wreaking havoc in Toronto's zone and putting pucks on net. Reimer looked uncomfortable when making saves, giving up bad rebounds and looking behind him several times after making a save. Reimer was considered the Leafs' biggest weakness heading into the series, especially in comparison to the Bruins' Tuukka Rask, and that was as clear as day in Game 1.
Johnny Boychuk added a fourth Boston goal later in the second period on an opportunity that was created by the Krejci line again, gaining clear entry through the neutral zone thanks to the craftiness of Krejci. The Boychuk goal gave Krejci his third point of the night, and he received the first star of the night honors.
Other things to note:
— Rask was stellar as usual, though he didn't face too many challenging shots. He was the game's third star.
— Phil Kessel had just one shot on goal in 13:51 TOI and was shut down successfully again by his former team.
— The Leafs bested the Bruins in faceoffs, 29-25. Tyler Bozak won 57 percent overall and went 6-for-11 against Bergeron.
Hopefully the Bruins can prevent Toronto from flipping that switch back off Saturday night as the teams battle in Game 2.
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