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Talking Points: Quick-Strike Leafs Leave Bruins Searching For Indentity

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The Boston Bruins hadn’t played the Toronto Maple Leafs since November 15, 2019, and Saturday night in Toronto, they got a harsh reminder of the quick-strike offense the Leafs can apply and fell 5-2 to their Atlantic Division rivals.

Auston Matthews broke a 1-1 game open with two power play goals 3:55 apart in the second period; Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists and John Tavares finished with two goals and an assist. Leafs defenseman Morgan Reilly played a role as well in the Leafs’ high-octane offense with two helpers. Boston Bruins wingers Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak lit the lamp for the B’s and Brad Marchand chipped in with two assists.

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark did his best to compensate for multiple defensive breakdowns with 31 saves but Leafs goalie Jack Campbell was clutch as he turned away 42 Bruins shots.

GOLD STAR: Mitch Marner has felt the wrath of the Toronto media and Leafs fans since opening night but on Saturday he shut the naysayers up. Marner was creative and electric every time he touched the ice. Tavares and Matthews lit the lamp twice but they fed off the recent scapegoat amongst the Toronto media and fans. As a fantasy hockey player, I can tell you, I am quite happy I have rejected the insane trade offers I’ve had for Marner. Taylor Hall may have scored for the Bruins Saturday but Marner was looking a lot like Adam Oates and somehow, just somehow justified that annoying Leafs goal song.

 

 

BLACK EYE: It would be easy to harp on the penalty kill Saturday but let’s be honest, the neutral zone of the Boston Bruins has been swiss cheese this season, and Saturday in Toronto may have exposed the most holes thus far. As a result of the lax defense and pressure by the Bruins as the Leafs pushed through mid-ice, the danger zone chances in front of Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark were too easy. This has been the case more often than not for the B’s this season and it needs to change ASAP.

TURNING POINT: In a span of 3:55, Matthews lit the lamp twice on the powerplay and the Boston Bruins were on their collective heals.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Boston Bruins tried hard to get Leafs captain John Tavares as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, and he hasn’t really made them regret that he signed with his hometown team. On Saturday though, he was worth every penny of the seven-year, $77 million contract Toronto locked him at. Tavares was a 200-foot force and a gem on offense.

BY THE NUMBERS: 723 days since the Leafs and Boston Bruins met before this game and the Bruins may be wishing that stretch lasted a bit longer.

QUOTE TO NOTE:

We’ve got to create our identity where we’re hard to play against for 60 minutes – not 20, 30, or 40.” – Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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Lawrence Maiolo

A one line team can only go so far.

William Mahoney

Tarvaris first; now week effort to get Eichel. The Bruins are losers!

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