Bruins-Leafs takeaways: Swayman, DeBrusk shine as B's win 5-1 in Game 1


Bruins-Leafs takeaways: Swayman, DeBrusk shine as B’s win 5-1 in Game 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON — It’s a new year, but the same Toronto Maple Leafs showed up at TD Garden for Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series versus the Bruins.

The Bruins swept the four-game regular season series against the Leafs, and they opened Round 1 with a dominant 4-1 win Saturday night.

Boston broke the game open in the second period with three goals to increase its lead to 4-0. That was too much of a deficit to overcome, even for a high-powered offensive team like the Leafs.

The stars of the game for the Bruins were Jake DeBrusk and Jeremy Swayman. DeBrusk scored twice on the power play and Swayman made ? saves.

Brandon Carlo, John Beecher and Trent Frederic (empty net) also scored for Boston.

The Bruins haven’t trailed for a single second against the Leafs this season, and the last time Toronto won at TD Garden was March 29, 2022.

Game 2 is Monday night at TD Garden with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. But before we look ahead to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Bruins-Leafs Game 1.

Fourth line makes a strong impact

The Bruins used a John Beecher-Jesper Boqvist-Pat Maroon fourth line to start the series, and this trio played very well.

It made an immediate impact offensively when Beecher opened the scoring with his first career playoff goal just 2:26 into the period. Beecher took a nice feed from Boqvist on a 2-on-1 rush and beat Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

Boqvist and Maroon both earned assists on the play.

Not long after the goal, Maroon absolutely leveled Timothy Liljegren with a massive hit that sent the Leafs defenseman flying into the Bruins’ bench.

Maroon threw his weight around early and often. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound forward was credited with five hits. The fourth line as a whole combined for eight hits and consistently made the Leafs work to establish inside ice. Overall, Boston was the more physical team in Game 1, and the fourth line led the charge.

The Leafs came into this series with better scoring depth than the Bruins. Toronto scored the second-most goals of any team in the regular season and owned the seventh-best power play. The Bruins need their bottom-six to make an impact offensively to match the Leafs’ firepower. So far, so good for the B’s in that regard.

Bruins win special teams battle

Special teams often plays a pivotal role in the playoffs, and that was the case in Game 1.

The Bruins power play struggled at the end of the regular season with a 10.5 percent success rate over the final two weeks, which ranked 30th out of 32 teams during that span. Boston’s power play found its groove again Saturday with two goals, both scored by DeBrusk in the second period.

The Bruins now have five power-play goals in five games versus the Leafs this season, including Game 1. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Bruins continued to take advantage of the power play because the Leafs are not a good penalty killing team. Toronto’s PK ranked 23rd in the regular season.

The Leafs’ power play ranked No. 7 with a 24 percent success rate in the regular season, but it wasn’t able to cash in on either of its two opportunities in Game 1. Not only did the Leafs fail to score with the man advantage, they failed to generate a single shot or scoring chance in those minutes.

The Leafs have no chance to win this series if the Bruins win the special teams battle by such a lopsided margin.

Swayman shines in net

The Bruins decided to give Jeremy Swayman his first career Game 1 start, and the 25-year-old goaltender played fantastic.

He made 11 saves in the first period, including an excellent left pad stop on a Grade A scoring chance in the low slot. Beecher put the B’s ahead 1-0 just a few minutes later.

Swayman was even better in the second period, making 13 saves, including a couple clutch stops during a Leafs power play early in the frame.

In total, Swayman made 33 saves on 34 shots. The Leafs did manage to get one past Swayman early in the third period when David Kampf got his team on the board. Aside from that, it was a pretty flawless outing for Swayman, who earned his fourth career playoff win.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Bruins use a goalie rotation in this series and start Linus Ullmark in Game 2. The B’s enjoyed a lot of success using a rotation during the regular season. That said, Swayman is now 4-0-0 with a .973 save percentage in four matchups versus the Leafs this season. It might be hard to take Swayman out of the net with those numbers.



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