Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Bruins 7, Leafs 3: Leafs pushback falls short against menacing Bruins

Sara Civian
April 14, 2018 - 10:58 pm

A huge pushback was brewing for Game 2, right? It had to be.

That was a completely logical reaction after the Bruins’ 5-1 Game 1 destruction of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team that was, allegedly, considerably faster would show up Saturday.

For the first few minutes, it kind of did -- if not collapsing into a total dumpster fire counts as showing up. The Leafs even got the first shot on goal. Progress! But rest assured, the dumpster fire resumed in one of the worst 20 minutes of defense assembled in recent memory.

"(Expletive) happens, I guess," Auston Matthews said.

Expletive happened.

The dismantling started on David Pastrnak’s backhand at 5:26, and credit to Toronto, that’s one of the last places any opposition wants to find itself. Still, he had a clear path to the net while William Nylander flailed over to catch him, and the rest of the Leafs just kind of...watched?

Then Jake DeBrusk, who treats every shift like The Last Supper and celebrates like it too, tipped it in on the power play for the 2-0 lead at 9:46. Again, where are the Leafs? Almost everywhere except between the puck and the net.


 

Kevan Miller made it 3-0 three minutes later, because why shouldn’t Kevan Miller join in, I guess. Shout out to Nikita Zaitsev, who had the foresight to generally stand around the net for this one.

If Rick Nash really did have a playoff curse, he shook it off Game 1 and laughed in the face of the witch who cursed him Game 2. Here, you’ll see another Bruin standing directly in front of the net and Roman Polak reacting with the physical representation of a grunt.

"His impact has been tremendous, right from last game, from the first shift on," Patrice Bergeron said of Nash. "His speed is obviously something they have to be aware of."

So, four goals on eight shots, 2-for-3 on the Bruins’ menacing power play, Pastrnak’s three points gave him 10 in eight playoff games...and there was 40 minutes left.

"They're a good team, they're going to have a push," head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the Leafs. "...we lost it a little bit there in terms of what we were doing well in the neutral zone not allowing them to come through. But we got it back."

The Leafs at least attempted a comeback in the second, and two goals from Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak reminded us that they exist. Despite Toronto proving it wasn’t going to forfeit the series halfway through Game 2 and a few forgettable minutes for the Bruins’ defense including a slight lapse from Ryan Donato, Playoff David Krejci playoff David Krejci’d to keep the game out of reach.

For the love of God, somebody stand in front of Frederik Andersen.

Pastrnak became the first Bruin with a five-point game in the playoffs since Vladimir Ruzicka in 1991 to seal this one. James van Riemsdyk responded with the first Toronto power play goal of the series.

6-3 with 5:07 left. He tried. The decimation started on Pastrnak's backhand, and that's exactly how it ended. 7-3 with 1:36 left.

"Terrific...and terrific," Cassidy described his first line. "I don't think I can say anymore. I mean, you saw it right?"

Not sure any given Toronto defenseman could fully answer "yes" to that question. 

Maybe a huge pushback isn’t going to brew. Or maybe it's just not enough against these Bruins.

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