Positive Takeaways From Toronto Maple 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 were stunned by the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of their opening round matchup on Saturday night.

Although they would have loved to take the first contest, it was the Bruins who overwhelmed the Leafs to the tune of 5-1.

While some have said the Game 1 loss was predictable, it's not how the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to begin their playoffs.

Despite the Leafs getting themselves into an early hole in the series, there are still positive takeaways that are worth focusing on prior to Game 2.

Positive Takeaways From Toronto Maple Leafs Game 1 Loss


Game 1 opened with the Maple Leafs trying to hit hard and often.

The players had clearly decided pregame that they were going to finish their body checks. Since the Bruins are a physical team, it makes sense that the Leafs wanted to establish that they were going to play with sandpaper.

Unfortunately, they took this too far and were overly-aggressive. In Ryan Reaves' first shift, he threw a check that ended up pinning his defenseman teammate Joel Edmundson, which created a two-on-one opportunity for the Bruins. They used this to score the game's opening goal.

The Leafs figured out their hitting as the game went on, and they stopped trying to finish hits when it wasn't necessary. By the end of the second period, the Leafs had outhit the Bruins 41 to 34. (All statistics are via NHL.) The game ended with both teams having thrown an even 50 per side. The Leafs have established that they won't be pushed around and this series will not be a walk in the park for the Bruins.


In Saturday's opening period, the Leafs played as if they were sitting in a job interview. Their jitters were clear. Pucks were bouncing off their sticks and passes were uncharacteristically poor. This can be attributed to the players being nervous.

By the second period, this had already changed. The Leafs had settled down and weren't rushing to unload the puck. By the third period, the Leafs confidence appeared to have fully returned. Reaves had even made up for his big first-shift blunder when he assisted on David Kampf's goal. It was clear that the nerves had completely settled before the final horn of the game. This is great news for Game 2 where the Leafs can be expected to be more relaxed for all sixty minutes.

Bad Penalties

It's hard to win a game when you spend a great portion of it killing penalties. Many of those penalties were undisciplined.

There may be no better example of a bad penalty than when Max Domi slashed Brad Marchand's wrists. Marchand didn't even look back at Domi and skated away, while Domi went to the penalty box and the Bruins put the game away with another power-play goal.

Another bad penalty was the two-minutes handed to Jake McCabe for interference in the third period because he was hit by Jakub Lauko. Instead of McCabe letting being hit go in the best interest of his team, he retaliated by hitting Lauko three consecutive times with the puck already gone from the corner.

The Leafs have time to reflect on the game and understand where things went wrong. When they review the footage and hear their coaches' feedback, they'll learn that the penalties cost them both goals and valuable minutes. There's a very good chance that Toronto will come to Game 2 prepared to be more disciplined and will do their best to spend less time in the penalty box.


While we don't know their status yet for Game 2, the Maple Leafs didn't have William Nylander and Bobby McMann in game one.

Nylander is one of the best players in the world, and McMann adds valuable secondary scoring. Obviously the Leafs aren't the same team without these two players (especially Nylander).

Auston Matthews and the First Line

Auston Matthews skated 20:53 of ice time and had five shots on goal and hit a post. Matthews wasn't nearly as good as he usually is, but just the fact that he can almost score and put five shots on net when he's a little off is a good sign for the Leafs, since he almost never plays two games in a row like this. (stats naturalstattrick.com).

Matthews effectiveness was hurt by bad games from Domi and Bertuzzi, and the line had the lowest expected goals rating of any line the Leafs used on Saturday. Both of Matthews' wingers seemed to be a little too excited and overdid it a bit from a phsyical standpoint. You can expect both of them to play much better in the subsequent games of this series.

Though the Leafs are down a game in the series, there are positives worth focusing on. There's no reason to feel defeated too early.


The Leafs need to lean into those positives and come back strong in Game 2.