The final horn has sounded at the TD Garden as the Toronto Maple Leafs prevailed to tie their series with the Boston Bruins 1-1 in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was hardly the wire-to-wire dominance we saw from Boston in game one. Here are a few observations.
Much to the surprise of the Bruins, Toronto showed up.
It’s understandable for Boston fans to get excited about such a dominant victory in game 1 and just assume the Maple Leafs would wilt. The Bruins can’t afford to do this, and game 2 should be a lesson learned.
Toronto came out of the gate unafraid, getting right back in the faces of the Bruins. At first glance, it looked like this took Boston by surprise. That can’t happen again. It would be foolish to assume the Maple Leafs, though new to the playoffs, are just going to lay down after a game 1 beating.
As soon as Toronto took a 3-1 lead, from a goal by former Bruin Phil Kessel nonetheless, the Bruins looked shell-shocked. The Maple Leafs also seemed to throw Boston off guard when they continued to attack Bruins big man Zdeno Chara.
Newsflash: Toronto knows Chara is the best defenseman on the ice, and they’re going to do everything in their power to neutralize him. This should not be a plot twist. It’s up to the Bruins to fight back and not let the constant pressure on Chara throw the entire team off their game.
The Bruins first line continues to be the best performers.
Once again, the line of Nathan Horton, David Krecji, and Milan Lucic seemed to be clicking the most for Boston. Though it wasn’t as impressive as game 1, this line continues to build off some solid play, including a dirty goal by Horton to take an early lead.
Unfortunately, the Bruins other lines struggled to generate enough quality chances.
Boston was a one-line show for much of the season this year, which was a major cause of their uneven play. Toronto has a lot of skill on their bench, and in order to counteract this talent, the Bruins need significant contribution from as many lines as possible.
Tyler Seguin is looking snake-bitten.
Seguin had about as good a night as you can have without netting a single point. He put a team-high eight shots on net. Only problem was none went in.
While Seguin’s net-front presence was a key for Johnny Boychuk‘s second goal of the playoffs, he was unable to cash in on his own opportunities. He continued to pressure and put pucks on the net, but the bad luck wouldn’t leave him alone.
The worst thing that could happen here is these troubles getting into Seguin’s head. He’s too talented to keep running into issues scoring, but if he starts letting it get to him he could find himself in quicksand.
Jaromir Jagr is not clicking with his linemates.
Something needs to be done here. Jagr just doesn’t seem to be showing any chemistry with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, and it seems to be preventing him from getting quality scoring chances.
Everyone knows Jagr, at age 41, is not the player he used to be. That being said, he still possesses great puck handling skills and, when given good looks, a nasty shot. Unfortunately it’s going to waste on his current line.
The Bruins need to determine whether it’s worth moving Jagr to try and get him going. This would involve breaking up one of their top two lines, which could do more harm than good.
Jagr was acquired at the trade deadline to score goals for Boston. If they want him to actually fulfill this duty, it may be time to try something new.