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Talking Points: Boston Bruins Outplayed By ‘Hungry’ Leafs

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Boston Bruins

BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

GOLD STAR: it could have been anybody really, but credit where it’s due to Morgan Rielly for being the best defenseman on the ice in a game where Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm were out there as well. Rielly finished with a goal and two points and a plus-1 rating in 25:30 of ice time, had four shot attempts, three hits, a blocked shot and a takeaway while playing solidly at both ends of the ice for a Leafs team that’s had their defensive struggles. Rielly helped keep the gas pedal down for Toronto in the first period after David Pastrnak had tied the game at 1-1 when he followed up a William Nylander rush to the net by popping a puck into the open net before Jeremy Swayman could recover quickly enough to stop him.

BLACK EYE: Connor Clifton might be sitting for a game or two after Tuesday night’s performance. It was Clifton that opened up the floodgates with a really poor clearing attempt off the boards in the first period that ended up right on Jason Spezza’s stick. Spezza immediately took advantage of the turnover and feed it to Colin Blackwell in front of the Boston net for a quick strike goal that gave Toronto an early lead. Clifton compounded that mistake with a point shot late in the first period that got blocked by Alex Kerfoot and turned into a breakaway score for the former Harvard University standout. He finished with a minus-2 for the game and just 14:03 of ice time while undoubtedly making way for Josh Brown and Mike Reilly to play on Thursday against New Jersey.

TURNING POINT: The turning point was undoubtedly the second period when the Maple Leafs scored the first three goals and jumped out to a 6-1 lead after gut-punching the B’s with an Alex Kerfoot breakaway score at the end of the first period. Toronto outshot Boston by a 14-9 margin, really took the game to a blowout level and then frustrated the Boston Bruins so much that Brad Marchand took a 10-minute misconduct penalty at the end of the second period while arguing with referee Francois St. Laurent. Admittedly it wasn’t a glowing night for the on-ice officials throughout the game, but it’s definitely not the reason they came up short against Toronto.

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HONORABLE MENTION: There weren’t too many positives for the Boston Bruins. But they did at least win the third period, and Curtis Lazar scored his first goal in a while after grinding away at the front of the net. And Charlie McAvoy actually played a very good game for the Black and Gold. McAvoy somehow finished a plus-2 despite the final 6-4 score in favor of Toronto, and laid out six registered hits in 25:34 of ice time to go along with the two assists as well. It didn’t make up for the mighty struggles that both Connor Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk had throughout the game, but McAvoy had nothing to hang his head about after drilling David Kampf with one of his signature hits in the neutral zone.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – Former St. John’s Prep star Colin Blackwell scored his first goal as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the very first goal of the game in the first period during a pretty productive return to his hometown.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s tough. I just thought they were more hungry tonight, so that’s a good lesson for us.” –Curtis Lazar on what separated the Bruins and the Maple Leafs on a night where they jumped out to a 6-1 lead before the B’s clawed back a bit in the third period.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Clacker47

Good article. This was a total face plant by the Bruins in a huge game that only one team showed up for. Toronto showed that they could play a frustrating defensive style of game, forcing the Bruins to consistently turn the puck over, and the Bruins showed that they can only play one way. I agree, Clifton cost them 2 goals on bad decisions and helped set the tone for the first period and beyond. He needs to sit out and see the game from the press box.

Michael Parahus

Pick one….Embarrassing, surprising, back down to earth, a bubble burst. Or, pick them all! What a stinker of a game. On a night you thought they’d come out flying and looking to make a statement….they come out flat as a pancake. Even Swayman (as the NESN studio guys pointed out) was off from the start mishandling the puck and looking uncomfortable. A definite downer. Leafs have handled us easily so far this year. That’s disappointing. I know, I know, it’s not the playoffs and the Leafs have to prove themselves to get past the first round…..but…that Leafs team has way… Read more »

Art

2nd time we played them and we didn’t seem interested to play! Besides McAvoy, only Pasta, Hall and Lazar were engaged. Our D just stunk! Hopefully the NESN announcers will stop trash talking the Leafs….they are a much different team from a few years ago. They have skillful players, speed, better 3rd and 4th lines and toughness. All elements that B’s sorely lack. Too bad Sweeny didn’t make a play to get Colin Blackwell! We better hope that we don’t line up against the Leafs in the 1st round!

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