Four goals on eight first period shots were more than enough to propel the Boston Bruins over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2 of their first round postseason series.
Five different players scored in all for the Bruins in a 7-3 win, who head up north to Canada for Game 3 on Monday night with a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
David Pastrnak had six points for Boston, a hat trick and three assists. Through six periods this postseason, the 21-year-old has nine points (four goals, five assists) for the Black and Gold.
“He’s continually working on his game, trying to play the right way,” Brad Marchand said of his linemate. “I think that’s what’s been most impressive about the last couple of games – not so much his scoring, but it’s the way he’s played really well defensively and he’s chipping pucks at the right time. When he plays the right way, good things happen.”
Pastrnak wasted no time taking control of the game, as it was his tally which broke open the floodgates for the B’s against Toronto netminder Frederik Andersen.
After failing to convert on a number of well-executed stretch passes in the early minutes of the game, Marchand’s two-line pass to Patrice Bergeron enabled the Bruins to finally set up shop in the attacking zone. Bergeron dished to Torey Krug, who curled out from behind the net and found Pastrnak just outside the crease.
“They’re the best line in hockey for a reason,” said Krug of the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak triumvirate, which accounted for 14 total points in the game. “They do things 200 feet and it translates into offense for them. They’re great forecheckers and everyone brings something to the table.”
Pastrnak buried the puck at 5:26 of the first period, the beginning of the end for Andersen. Jake DeBrusk scored the first goal of his playoff career at 9:46 on the power play, a major boost after Toronto hit the post while man-down moments earlier.
“You need some breaks,” Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You need some saves, there’s always a few when you look back at the end of the game where things could have swung either way. I can’t tell you it would have derailed us, I think we were ready to play.”
Kevan Miller’s tally at 12:13 of the first spelled the end of the night for Andersen, who stopped only one of the four shots he faced.
His replacement, Curtis McElhinney, fared no better. Rick Nash, who missed the final 12 games of the regular season with a concussion, scored a power play goal at 15:00 of the first to make it 4-0 Bruins.
Goals in the second period (David Krejci) and third (two more for Pastrnak) helped stave off Toronto’s late-arriving offense.
Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman executed a textbook 2-on-1 for the Leafs off a Bruins turnover just 1:22 into the middle frame, which Pastrnak helped nullify with a rip deflected by Krejci that found its way past McElhinney at 3:46.
Tyler Bozak scored at 9:02 of the second for Toronto, which continued to linger until Pastrnak cashed in off of more sloppy defense from the Leafs at 12:34 of the third period. A James van Riemsdyke goal for Toronto moments later was far too little, too late to mount any sort of a comeback.
Pastrnak completed the first hat trick of his postseason career with 1:36 left in regulation on assists from his linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, each of whom finished with four helpers for the game.
“Terrific and terrific,” Cassidy said of his top line, asked about how they played both even strength and 5-on-5. “I don’t I can say any more.”
The Bruins are now halfway to their first win in a postseason series since 2014, when they beat the Detroit Red Wings in the first round. The Maple Leafs haven’t won a postseason series since 2004.