Toronto Maple Leafs overwhelmed by the Boston Bruins in Game 1

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 12: Morgan Rielly
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 12: Morgan Rielly /

The Toronto Maple Leafs were overwhelmed in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins and need to make adjustments to right the ship.

Sometimes after a loss, it helps to take a moment, clear your thoughts and avoid getting too worked up. Losing 5-1 in Game 1 is not an ideal result for the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially seeing how the Boston Bruins exploited them.

Imagine if Bruce Boudreau was behind the Leafs bench on Thursday night, his face would have been as red as the goal light. Fortunately for them, Mike Babcock appeared to be in a calm mood but it doesn’t mean it will stay that way during Friday’s practice.

The Leafs knew how lethal the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were, especially on the powerplay, and yet they were still overwhelmed by them.

Can things change between now and Saturday night? Potentially losing Nazem Kadri could have a big impact on Toronto’s game plan, but it also means certain players will need to step up.

So what went wrong in this game, other than the Bergeron line being dominant?

At even strength, the Bruins put up dominant possession numbers, especially against the fourth line and the first pairing of Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey. Auston Matthews‘ line was not at their best, even with the nice goal from Zach Hyman.

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Another area that really struggled was the penalty kill. Minus Kadri’s ejection, the Leafs were shorthanded five times in the game; that’s far too many opportunities to give the Bruins, who had a top five powerplay unit during the regular season.

Toronto cannot expect Hainsey and Roman Polak to play more than six minutes a night on the penalty kill and be effective. This obviously means spreading out the minutes more evenly or taking fewer penalties altogether.

On the David Backes goal, both defencemen failed to clear the zone when given the chance. Give the Bruins credit, they did a better job of stopping the Leafs’ cycle and setting plays with the man advantage.

The Leafs will need to find a way to take away space for the Bruins to make plays and not get to the front of the net at ease. It seemed like on numerous occasions that the puck carrier was able to get by or around the defence, especially on the first and fourth goal.

It is time for Babcock to hold the veterans accountable especially on the backend and the fourth line, who had their struggles at pivotal moments.

The Bruins went all out in Game 1 and hopefully, the Leafs can match that on Saturday. Otherwise, it is going to be challenging for this team to make a comeback in this series.

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What are your thoughts on Game 1? What do the Leafs need to improve on going forward? Let us know in the comments below.