Toronto Maple Leaf fans waited nine years to see their team in playoff action, but after tonight’s performance I’m sure they could have waited a little longer. The Boston Bruins outplayed Toronto for just about the entire 60 minutes en route to a 4-1 victory. The Leafs were hesitant and inexperienced, while the Bruins went full speed ahead and looked like a team full of confidence.
Toronto will now have the next two days to figure things out and make any lineup changes before Game 2 which goes on Saturday night. The Leafs elected to dress Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren, who didn’t contribute much, other than roughhousing. Then again, there weren’t many Leafs who made a decent contribution on this night.
Here are some things that stood out from the game.
About the only thing the Leafs did well on this night was get off to a good start. I thought if they could survive the first 10 minutes in good shape they would have a chance to take the crowd out of it and get a win. Well, apparently not. Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead less than two minutes in thanks to a power play goal by James van Riemsdyk, but it was all down hill from there. Giving up two goals to Boston late in the opening frame destroyed any momentum they had generated.
Boston actually didn’t do anything overly special in this one. In actuality it was the Leafs that gifted them plenty of chances. There were countless turnovers and rushed clearances that just went straight to a Bruins player. Boston did well to capitalize and turn the mistakes into a 40-20 shots on goal advantage. There is no way the Leafs are going to take even a game from a team as good as the Bruins if they continue to play this way.
I’m seems like every time we recap a game, the fact that Kostka continues to play heavy minutes gets questioned. For the life of me I just don’t understand what Randy Carlyle is thinking when it comes to Kostka. Once again he looked hesitant and made several poor decisions throughout the night. Kostka finished as a minus-3 and was the Leafs’ third leading skater in ice-time. I can see not wanting to play Jake Gardiner because of inexperience (even though it’s worth pointing out he actually has more NHL games played than Kostka), but how about giving Ryan O’Byrne a shot? He does have playoff experience and is solid defensively. However, something tells me nothing will change after this performance and we will still see Kostka in the lineup again on Saturday.
Bozak has been dealing with an upper-body injury and although he was cleared to play, he just didn’t look right. It seemed like he couldn’t take a proper shot and that was evident when he had a breakaway in the second, and awkwardly just slid the puck into Tuukka Rask. If he is in this much discomfort it may make sense to slide him down the pecking order a bit and give Nazem Kadri some more minutes at centre with the top line.