Bruins crush Maple Leafs in series opener

Bruins crush Maple Leafs in series opener

BOSTON — Jake DeBrusk had two goals and an assist as the Boston Bruins downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Saturday.

John Beecher, Brandon Carlo and Trent Frederic, into an empty net, also scored for Boston, which got 35 saves from Jeremy Swayman.

Brad Marchand and Charile McAvoy had two assists each for the Bruins, who swept the season series 4-0-0 with the Leafs.

David Kampf replied for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov stopped 19 shots.

The Leafs winger William Nylander sat out with an undisclosed injury — the first game he’s missed for anything other than illness since November 2016.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Monday back at TD Garden.

Toronto won its first post-season series in 19 years last spring before falling to the Florida Panthers in the second round. Boston had a record-breaking 2022-23 campaign, but fell victim to the Panthers to open its playoffs a dozen months ago. 

Toronto and Boston are meeting in the first round for the fourth time in the last 12 years. The Bruins took the three previous series — in 2013, 2018 and 2019 — in seven games.

After the visitors registered the first four shots, Boston took a 1-0 lead at 2:26 of the opening period when Beecher scored his first-career playoff goal on a 2-on-1 after Joel Edmundson pinched at the offensive blue line.

Samsonov heard a symphony of iron behind him as the period wore on as Charlie Coyle hit the post before both Charlie McAvoy and Pavel Zacha chimed shots off the crossbar.

Bruising Bruins forward Pat Maroon also nearly put Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren into Boston’s bench inside a pulsating TD Garden that watched Toronto winger Max Domi cross-check and slash Marchand before the opening faceoff. 

The Leafs couldn’t connect on a 4-on-3 power play to start the second and Calle Jarnkrok — back in the lineup following a long injury absence — was stopped on a partial break moments later.

Toronto superstar Auston Matthews, who finished the regular season with 69 goals, beat Swayman in a race for a loose puck shortly after that, but sent his effort off the post.

Carlo blasted a shot past Samsonov with Leafs forward Pontus Holmberg screening his netminder at 5:47 for a 2-0 lead. 

Boston’s under-fire power play — until Saturday, that is — then went to work.

DeBrusk snapped his first of the night through another screen with Matthews off for high-sticking at 15:02.

Domi then took a slashing penalty and DeBrusk added his second off a Marchand feed for a 4-0 advantage at 17:34.

The winger almost completed his first playoff hat trick short-handed in the period’s dying seconds, but hit another post.

They got a fourth-line goal at 1:39 when Kampf beat Swayman. Leafs defenceman Simon Benoit hit the post shortly thereafter as Toronto finally pushed back.


Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe wouldn’t discuss Nylander’s injury status with reporters, while Bruins counterpart Jim Montgomery didn’t reveal his starting goaltender until Swayman led Boston onto ice for warmups.

“One of the guys wearing pads,” Montgomery said Saturday morning when asked about his crease decision between Swayman or Linus Ullmark.


T.J. Brodie was a healthy scratch despite sitting second in minutes played by a Toronto defenceman this season. 


Edmundson took a moment to reflect on his Cup victory with the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden in 2019 ahead of Saturday’s opener.

“Great memories,” said the Toronto blueliner. “Went out there and took a second to take it all in again. 

“I want to make some more good memories in this arena.” 

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