Nylander Doesn't Play, Matthews Doesn't Show Up in Leafs Game 1 Loss

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs kicked off the 2024 NHL Playoffs by playing an absolutely terrible game and losing 5-1 to the Boston Bruins.

The Leafs were without superstar William Nylander and it showed all night as they had a ton of trouble breaking the puck out of their zone, moving it through the neutrel zone, and scoring, all things Nylander excells at. (They were also without Bobby McMann).

The Leafs started off the game well, then their fourth line hit the ice and it was 1-0 Boston. The Leafs never really recovered.

In the second they got a little wind back in their sails and were starting to press when Boston scored again. The game was never in doubt after that.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Play a Highly Predictable First Game

The Leafs were done in last night by some of the most predictable things possible.

Their two worst players (Reaves and Edmundson) combined to give Boston a brutal two-on-one after the Leafs opened the game with 4 straight shots and nearly two straight minutes of puck-possession.

The Leafs, also predictably, forgot what makes them good (offense) and instead tried to completely change their play style in honour of the playoffs. This led to multiple bad penalties (Auston Matthews' was bad, but Max Domi's was egregiously stupid) and cost them the game.

Next up, as predicted, Ilya Samsonov was horrendous. Joseph Woll almost has to play the next game because Samsonov was straight up garbage on Saturday night. He let in the first shot of each of the first two periods, and seemed to struggle to find the puck any time there was traffic.

Jeremy Swayman was incredible, and Ilya Samsonov was way below average. Not only did he let in four goals, but Boston his four posts. This could have been ugly, and the only reason it wasn't was just good luck.

The Leafs blue-line cannot move the puck, and both Rielly and Liljegren were done in by their partners. Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit had a great game, but the other four defenseman did not.

Auston Matthews once again failed to dominate a playoff game. He was fine, but he didn't drive play and he wasn't a threat whenever he was on the ice. It would be fair to say that the Matthews line was the Leafs worst line.

Ever since the Leafs signed Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi last summer we have heard about what great playoff performers they are, but last night they were two of the Leafs worst players. Domi had a great play early on where he threw a hit and then made a great pass to Matthews, but that was about all he did other than fail to annoy Brad Marchand.

The worst part about this game is that it was probably winnable. If the Leafs didn't take so many dumb penalties, if they could kill a penalty, and if they got better goaltending they might have won.

I would say this game was one where Boston didn't so much beat Toronto as Toronto beat themselves. I thought that McCabe and Benoit, Marner, Robertson and Tavares were good tonight. While Domi, Edmundson, Bertuzzi and Samsonov were bad.


I think you can expect to see TJ Brodie and Joseph Woll next game, which is Monday.