2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

BSJ Playoffs Report: Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1 – B’s bully Leafs to even series, but lose DeBrusk, Krug & Clifton

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 4-1 win over Toronto in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

Box Score

HEADLINES

Bruins sock Leafs in the mouth: After getting out-hustled and out-muscled in Thursday's Game 1 loss, Bruce Cassidy opted to add a bit more size and snarl to the lineup when he inserted David Backes into the forward corps. The power forward did his job — throwing his weight on the forecheck and setting up Charlie Coyle’s opening tally at 4:44 in the opening period. But the rest of Boston’s roster apparently got the memo after getting bullied around by the Leafs two days ago. In what was a dominant opening stanza for the B’s, Toronto was knocked all over the sheet, unable to solve a suffocating forecheck in the O zone while getting hemmed into the neutral zone by a much more aggressive defense for Boston.

By the end of 20 minutes, the Bruins had themselves a 2-0 lead, while holding a commanding 21-6 edge in shot attempts during 5v5 play.

Boston did not let up for the remainder of the night when it came to making things uncomfortable down low for the Leafs, with even skill players like David Krejci (three hits, one roughing penalty) and David Pastrnak (four hits, one charging penalty) battering Toronto en route to a 4-1 win.

After Boston managed to both shoot itself the foot with poor puck play and get into a track meet for most of Thursday’s loss, the B’s turned the tables on Toronto Saturday, getting the Leafs to fall into the kind of scrapfest that they are not going to come out on the right side of it this bad blood continues all series.

B’s lose bodies on blue line: In a game featuring plenty of post-whistle scraps and heavy hits, it was a given that both clubs were not going to escape Game 2 unscathed. Toronto appeared to lose its third-line center at the end of the second period when Nazem Kadri banged knees with Jake DeBrusk while coming out of the penalty box — but despite how severe the initial hit was (based on Kadri’s reaction), he was back out for the start of the third and made his mark on the game in multiple ways (more on that later).

Despite taking a few haymakers to the face, the Leafs can at least find a silver lining in that none of their players were knocked out of commission by way of injury. The same can’t be said for Boston — as the B’s lost two of their six defensemen throughout the course of the game.

Already up by a pair of goals, the Bruins lost their offensive spark plug on the blue line in Torey Krug, who was flattened by Jake Muzzin midway through the second period. While he attempted to get back on his skates, Krug was clearly dazed from the collision and exited the game for good. Add in the departure of Connor Clifton in the closing minutes of the third, and Boston could have some major vacancies on their roster, especially with Kevan Miller and John Moore still sidelined.

DeBrusk and Kadri have at it: If there ever a brouhaha that was set to boil over, it was going to be between DeBrusk and Kadri, especially after the latter tripped up the former on a late hit during Game 1. Once Kadri returned for the start of the third period, one had to assume the worst — especially for a repeat offender like Kadri known for his retaliatory hits.

Sure enough, Kadri dropped DeBrusk with a cross-check to the face at 14:03 in the final stanza, causing the B’s winger to exit the game and Kadri to leave with a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

From a Bruins perspective, you have to be concerned, as DeBrusk noted postgame that he underwent concussion testing and clearly seemed out of it after taking the hit up high. If you’re the Maple Leafs, you have to be livid. Not only did Kadri’s five-minute major lead to a Patrice Bergeron power-play goal and seal a win for Boston, but it seems like a given that Kadri is going to sit for a long, long time — especially now that’s been offered an in-person hearing by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. For the second straight year, it looks as though Kadri will get the boot against the Bruins, and it could be for an extended stretch.

FOUR UP