Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Apr 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) scores a goal and celebrates with left wing Brad Marchand (63) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY

By sticking with Jeremy Swayman for his second straight start Saturday night in Toronto, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery bucked the trend he had established for his netminders for well over two full months.

Swayman’s performance through two starts, with a playoff-best .955 save performance, in this series may have been reason enough. The Bruins and Maple Leafs were also given an extra day of rest between Games 3 and 4 as a means to get Game 4 on Hockey Night in Canada, which truly only benefitted Swayman, who has started more sets of two games in four nights than two games in three nights in 2023-24. There was also the ‘mental’ aspect that Montgomery and the Bruins had started to acknowledge as potentially real for Swayman in this head-to-head with the Maple Leafs after five straight wins on the year, especially in the aftermath of Max Domi accidentally on purpose bumping Swayman in Game 3.

But no matter the reasoning or rationale, it was a decision and challenge that Swayman and the Bruins not only accepted but downright dominated by way of a 3-1 final to give the Bruins a 3-1 series lead heading back to Boston.

  • In a game that kicked off with the Bruins and Maple Leafs trading failed power-play opportunities, the Bruins upped their pressure — specifically in the attacking zone and against Toronto fourth-line wing Ryan Reaves — to open things up for their first goal of the evening on Ilya Samsonov.

    As Reaves handled a puck along his wall, the Bruins converged on him with both Trent Frederic and a strong activation from Mason Lohrei and forced Reaves into a downright ugly turnover that landed on the stick of James van Riemsdyk and then through Samsonov for Boston’s first goal of the night, scored at the 15:09 mark of the first frame.

    The goal was good for van Riemsdyk’s first since a two-goal outing back on Feb. 17, and also came with the first Stanley Cup Playoffs point of Lohrei’s NHL career. Coming in just his second career playoff game, Lohrei became the fifth Bruins rookie defender since 2010 to record his first playoff point in his second game or earlier, and the first since Kevan Miller.

  • Apr 24, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand (63) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period of game three of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 24, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Bruins forward Brad Marchand (63) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

    Up by one through two minutes of play, the Bruins made Max Domi pay for what was a downright careless crosschecking penalty against the Bruins’ David Pastrnak, and with the strike from chief Toronto villain Brad Marchand.

    On what was a beautiful passing sequence, with some loose puck battles won along the way, the Bruins hit a wide-open Marchand for a clean look on Samsonov that was ripped into the Toronto cage for a lead-doubling strike.

    NHL on Twitter: "The goal that put Brad Marchand atop the @NHLBruins all-time #StanleyCup Playoffs goals list. 👇🇺🇸: @NHL_on_TNT (TBS, truTV) & @SportsonMax ➡️ https://t.co/W9mpYG1lMO🇨🇦: @Sportsnet or stream on Sportsnet+ ➡️ https://t.co/sEijvXhbA1 https://t.co/jss1cEQEbq pic.twitter.com/ntI8jugPHp / Twitter"

    The goal that put Brad Marchand atop the @NHLBruins all-time #StanleyCup Playoffs goals list. 👇🇺🇸: @NHL_on_TNT (TBS, truTV) & @SportsonMax ➡️ https://t.co/W9mpYG1lMO🇨🇦: @Sportsnet or stream on Sportsnet+ ➡️ https://t.co/sEijvXhbA1 https://t.co/jss1cEQEbq pic.twitter.com/ntI8jugPHp

    The goal was Marchand’s 56th career playoff goal, breaking him out of a tie with Cam Neely for the most in team history.

    But Marchand and the Bruins were not done with their second-period scoring.

    As the Leafs’ Jake McCabe inexplicably stepped up on a hit on Pavel Zacha in the waning moments of the period, it took all of a second for McCabe’s decision to backfire, as it opened the door for a two-on-one chance for Marchand and David Pastrnak, and with Pastrnak fed by Marchand for an easy goal on Samsonov.

  • It was pretty much as bad of a response period as the Leafs could’ve put forth, and the frustration on the Toronto bench (and from their top dogs) was more than noticeable.

    And while the Leafs kicked off the third with a change in goal, with Joseph Woll summoned into the crease for his first action of the series, the period also came with some downright awful news for Toronto, with Auston Matthews ruled out for the remainder of the evening with an undisclosed issue.

  • But even with Matthews done for the night, the Leafs made their third-period push, which kicked off with the first goal of the series for Mitch Marner, scored with just over 14 minutes left in the third period.

    And as the Bruins whiffed on a power-play chance gifted to them by Toronto’s continued offensive-zone penalty woes, things got even more dicey for the Bruins with Pastrnak called for a slash on Simon Benoit.

    But the Bruins buckled down and secured the win with some gutsy shot blocking, phenomenal defensive layers, and a 25-save performance in the B’s crease from Swayman.

  • Apr 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The pucks sit on the board during the warmup before game four of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsMandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The pucks sit on the board during the warmup before game four of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. (Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports)

    While the Bruins stuck with the same lineup they iced in Game 3, Saturday’s Game 4 did come with some tweaks for the Maple Leafs. The Leafs welcomed William Nylander back after the 98-point scorer missed the first three games of this series with an undisclosed injury, which has been rumored to be everything from a back ailment to migraines. And on the backend, the Leafs made one switch, with T.J. Brodie thrown back into the mix for the Leafs.

    Nylander finished with three shots and two hits in over 22 minutes of time on ice, but took an absolutely brutal third-period penalty that derailed the Leafs’ momentum with the Bruins downright drowning in their own end.

    Game 5 is set for 7 p.m. at TD Garden on Tuesday night .

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