Tonight marked the first game of a possible seven for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, officially kicking off the 2013 Eastern Conference QuarterFinals. Finally the Bruins flipped the switch and played a solid 60-minute game resulting in a 4-1 victory.
One of the Bruins main focus points in tonight’s game was breaking the pucks out of the defensive zone and good puck management. Through the first twenty minutes, they had strong defensive pressure and numerous opportunities coming from all the lines creating golden breakaway opportunities. The Maple Leafs were able to get on the board first as Tuukka Rask made an initial save on Tyler Bozak that left him sprawling to the net with James VanRiemsdyk waiting in the paint behind Seidenberg and Chara. The Leafs goal was all the Bruins needed to get the emotions overflowing as the linesmen stood at high alert through the rest of the frame, containing each team to their proper positions after every whistle, despite the chirping and shirt-grabbing. The Bruins wouldn’t catch a break until the 16:20 mark with Wade Redden blasting a shot from the left faceoff circle to tie the game. With 2:02 remaining in the period the Bruins found themselves on the power play after Dion Phaneuf went to the box for slashing on Tyler Seguin. In the final 15 seconds Nathan Horton carried the puck up the ice and through the neutral zone, dropped it back to Krejci who was able to feed it back to Wade Redden. Redden waited for the right moment and unleashed a quick shot that Nathan Horton was able to get the stick on for a re-direction into the net behind James Reimer and put the Bruins up 2-1 in the final 11 seconds of the first period. The Bruins owning the shots 15-7.
To begin the second period Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand got the ball rolling as Marchand stole the puck took it wide to have Friesen come over and leave Seguin wide open on the opposite side. He took the hit from Friesen, but he timed the pass just right to Seguin where he ripped it off the crossbar. Upon review it was noted that the puck didn’t cross the goal line, leaving the score at 2-1 with 18:50 left in the middle frame. With just under half of the period remaining David Krejci was able to pivot with the puck in front of the net and is able to flip it past Reimer for a 3-1 Bruins lead. The Bruins dominated the breakaway opportunities through the entire frame and once again it paid off. With 4:16 remaining in the frame Jonny Boychuk released a blast that hit the post and went in behind Reimer. He hadn’t scored in 42 consecutive regular season games, but made his shots count as he put the Bruins up 4-1. A score that would carry them into the final frame, holding a 26-14.
“At this time of it’s crucial we provide energy for the team…it’s playoff hockey everyone is going hard, everyone is playing physical…You’ve got toplay desperate you cant take anything for granted this time of year. It’s something that we know is going to be a long series and every shift counts… If you play consistent and stay the course hopefully it pays off in the end. We have to take it game by game and shift by shift and break it down in to small little areas.”–Gregory Campbell during the intermission with Naoko Funayama
With the third period underway the Bruins had 1:25 remaining on their powerplay with MacArthur in the box. As Horton tried to get a shot on Reimer he held onto it, with Marchand chirping away at the Leafs. In return the Leafs’ Komarov exchanged a few hits and received a ten-minute misconduct in return. 3:15 in Grabovsky went forehand-backhand on Rask who was able to make the save. However, Johnny Boychuk stayed with him into the corner and made a clean, body-to-body hit with Grabovsky going down holding his head. Colton Orr then proceeded to go after Boychuk cross-chekcing him into the boards, resulting in a scrum at the half-boards with Orr and Ference. Each received two for roughing and Orr got an extra two for the cross-check putting the Bruins on the man-advantage for the second time of the period.
As the Leafs turned over yet another puck, the Bruins jumped on the puck with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin charging in. Seguin took the initial shot with the puck getting under the skate pad of Reimer. With no whistle being blown Bergeron skated in and poked it over the goal line. After reviewing the play it was determined by the league officials that the goal was no-good and got taken off. The call was enough to give the Bruins the extra boost they have needed in the final period as they took over another turnover and gained possession in the offensive zone once more with Seguin and Krejci each getting shots of their own, pushing the Bruins shot 13-2 through the first half of the third.
Finishing with 40 shots to the Maple Leafs 20, the Bruins took game one against the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending with some fists exchanged between Chris Kelly and Frazer McLaren with penalties assessed at the 20:00 mark. Regardless, game one is in the books and the Bruins hold a 1-0 series advantage over Toronto moving onto the next one scheduled for Saturday at the Garden.