Boston Bruins fall to Toronto Maple Leafs in first-round opener

Boston Bruins fall to Toronto Maple Leafs in first-round opener

Mitch Marner has been a master of all trades for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season and showcased his full arsenal of skills against the Boston Bruins on Thursday - Game 1 of their first round series. Marner deked Rask easily for what proved to be the game-winner at 2:47 of the second period. Despite an excellent season, they've drawn the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs again.

For the first time since the Auston Matthews era began in Toronto, there's real pressure on the Maple Leafs heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. "And away you go".

The NHL playoffs are the best time of the year to be a sports fan, at least when it comes to the first round. "Obviously, that did the opposite".

Maple Leafs newbie Jake Muzzin had a solid Game 1 and realizes that to win Game 2, they'll have to have an even better effort.

Alex Ovechkin also scored in the first period, and John Carlson notched a hat-trick of assists, getting helpers on all three first-period goals. Nikita Zaitsev and Muzzin drew the Bergeron line assignment, played a two-minute first shift replete with turnovers - "Yeah, that was a good start, eh?" Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots for Boston. A warning sign like a first period playing out almost identically to the Game 1 that went south last spring determined that the Leafs needed something to reverse course. Boston averages 9.7 penalty minutes per game, the second-most in the league.

DeBrusk crashed hard into the boards and appeared to go to the locker room for attention, but returned to the game. But the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-0 lead at home to open the playoffs, and the Leafs are up 1-0 after winning 4-1 in Boston, and all things are possible in the universe, at least for a day.

Frederik Andersen found himself in the spotlight during a stretch of bad games in March
Frederik Andersen found himself in the spotlight during a stretch of bad games in March

"I put my whole weight on my right foot, and then I just couldn't get there anymore", Rask said. "It was a nice move".

Carolina finally got on the board when rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored 5 minutes, 7 seconds into the third period.

"When you don't see a team for a while, when you talk about, "Oh, they're going to do this and stretch you out" and all of a sudden they do it and it's in your net, it gets your attention", Cassidy said. "He has always played well against us, always played hard against us", Cassidy said.

Instead, over time, the challenge that the Bruins present, which includes and won't be limited to their huge talent and often overwhelming physicality, the hostile environment they call home and the confidence borne out of previous successes, all seemed more manageable this time. The last attempt was by Philadelphia's Ville Leino in 2010.

The Hurricanes the cut the lead to 3-2 when he got a second goal a little more than two minutes later, making Svechnikov (19 years, 16 days) the youngest player with multiple goals in a playoff game since 1997.

Calgary had produced mixed results since clinching a playoff spot in mid-March, falling to defeat in four of their final seven regular-season outings, but have continued to play stingy hockey, surrendering just 1.85 goals per game over their past 13 contests.

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