Bruins

BSJ Game Report: Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 1 – Bergeron line, Halak carry B’s past slow start against Toronto

Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

BOX SCORE

HEADLINES

Bergeron line does heavy lifting again

The Bruins had absolutely no business being in this one after a putrid start against a Maple Leafs team coming into the second leg of a back-to-back. And yet, after getting edged in attempts, 29-10, over the first 20 minutes of play, the Bergeron line once again put the team on its back.

Starting with a tip-in goal off the stick of Patrice Bergeron at 16:12 — at a time in which the B’s were being outshot, 20-5 — the top line for Boston imposed its will against the Leafs, with a David Pastrnak hat trick headlining a nine-point showing from the trio. Over the past 12 games (including the postseason) the Bergeron line has ripped up the Leafs’ defense — posting an absurd 50 points during that stretch.

B’s withstand early barrage

Bergeron’s tip-in goal might have bailed the B’s out in the closing minutes of the first, but it very well could have been a 2-1 or 3-1 game in favor of the visitors.

Hockey can be a cruel sport at times, as the Leafs entered the first intermission with an edge in shots (20-6), scoring chances (14-6) and outright attempts (29-10).

Granted, plenty of those attempts came during a four-minute stretch that included a Leafs power play and a number of failed clearing attempts by Steven Kampfer, but credit to Jaroslav Halak and the B’s PK for bending but not breaking against a Toronto team that can put a game out of reach in a hurry.

FOUR UP

David Pastrnak

After *only* scoring two goals in his past six games (brutal slump, I know), Pastrnak tallied his second hat trick in 12 games on Saturday — regaining the league league in goals with 15 tallies on the year.

While he put the game out of reach off of a one-time bomb and a back-door tap-in in the second, Pastrnak also gets a stick tap for generating Boston’s first goal, winning a puck battle against Morgan Rielly and firing one in from a tough angle that Bergeron was able to tip home.

He completed his hat trick at 14:04 in the third, striking one home off a quick feed from Marchand to close out another impressive night for the 22-year-old forward.

Over his last eight games against the Leafs, Pastrnak has lit the lamp eight times and added nine assists. Casual.

Jaroslav Halak

After getting pulled from Thursday’s debacle against the Canucks, Halak managed to right the ship in a major way against a Leafs squad that ranked third in the league in goals per game (3.56) entering Saturday’s tilt.

For the second time this season, Halak finished with at least 40 saves in a single contest, turning aside 40 of the 41 shots that came his way to improve to 5-1-2 on the season. With Tuukka Rask away from the team, the B’s are going to have to rely on Halak heavily — starting with Sunday’s back-to-back tilt with the Golden Knights.

Matt Grzelcyk

While the Bergeron line did most of the damage on Saturday, Grzelcyk was rewarded for executing on some of the smaller details of the game.

The blue liner sparked Boston’s second goal at 5:46 in the second, reading the play and pinching up off of a clear attempt from the low slot. The biscuit skittered past Bergeron and out to Zach Hyman, but an advancing Grzelcyk bumped the puck loose from the Leafs winger and immediately fed it back to Bergeron, who fed the puck to Pastrnak seconds later for his first goal on the night.

Grzelcyk finished with a team-high 22:33 of ice time in Saturday’s win, including over a minute logged on the penalty kill — a testament to the growing game of a defenseman mostly lauded for his playmaking ability from the blue line.

Joakim Nordstrom

Is Joakim Nordstrom a legit top-six winger? He’s doing his best to stay up there with the Krejci line, as the 26-year-old buried his third goal of the season just 26 seconds after Pastrnak completed his hat trick. After tallying two goals over 75 games last season, Nordstrom has already surpassed that mark through 15 games with the Bruins.

ONE DOWN

Steven Kampfer: Not the best night for Kampfer, who jumpstarted a barrage of Leafs shots after getting whistled for an interference call at 5:48 in the first. Along with taking another penalty later in the third period, the B’s were outshot, 9-5, during his 8:21 of five-on-five TOI.

PLAY OF THE GAME

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Bruins will close out their four-game homestand tomorrow night, with the B’s hosting the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.