The first head-to-head between the Bruins and Maple Leafs in nearly two full calendar years came with the emotional charge one would’ve expected, but not the result, as the Bruins fell into too deep a hole and dropped a 5-2 final in Toronto.
Deadlocked at 1-1 through the first frame after goals from the Bruins’ Taylor Hall and Toronto’s John Tavares, the Bruins were forced to weather a heavy storm from the Maple Leafs in the second period with 18 shots off Maple Leaf sticks (compared to just eight from the Bruins), and it was back-to-back power-play goals from Auston Matthews that broke this game open.
The first came off a Matt Grzelcyk high-sticking penalty, and after a sequence where an attempted one-handed clear out of danger by Derek Forbort put the puck back on Mitch Marner’s stick and then back to Matthews for a chance and rebound goal against Boston netminder Linus Ullmark. Matthews’ second, meanwhile, came following a Brad Marchand penalty and on a one-time bomb (with some jazz on it) that went through Forbort and Ullmark for Toronto’s third goal of the evening.
For the Leafs, it was two Matthews goals in just under four minutes, both off Boston penalties, and both in the final five minutes of the middle frame. Just an absolute killer.
It got worse for the Bruins when John Tavares outworked Grzelcyk and Mike Reilly for a net-front putaway just 2:53 into the third period, making it a three-goal edge for the Maple Leafs with 17 minutes and change left in action.
The Bruins would make their push, however, with a David Pastrnak goal that beat Jack Campbell at the 8:29 mark of the third period and gave the Bruins some serious juice in their skates for the remainder of the game. In fact, following the Pastrnak goal, the Bruins hammered 15 of the next 17 shots in the game, but failed to find the back of the net, and it was Marner who made the 18th shot count with an empty-net goal that officially put a bow on the Toronto victory.
Campbell certainly earned that victory in the third period, too, with 22 saves in the third period and 42 by the night’s end.
In the Boston net, Ullmark took the loss with a 31-of-35 effort in net.
Bruins winger Taylor Hall, wearing an ‘A’ with the Bruins for the first time, opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal. The goal was Boston’s fifth power-play goal in their last seven opportunities after a game-tying power-play goal last Saturday and a 3-for-5 effort against the Red Wings, but it would be their only man-up goal in a 1-for-4 night on the man advantage.
Taylor Hall tips home Bergeron's shot from the bumper.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 6, 2021
1-0 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/MpgKXeGIaj
The Bruins will get back to work Tuesday night at home against the Senators.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.