BOSTON, MA – In the opening minutes of Wednesday night’s Game 1 match-up between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, Toronto was in command of the action. The visiting Leafs showed no fear in playing the role of underdog in the raucous TD Garden, and even grabbed an early 1-0 advantage.
But the Bruins did not panic, flipping the proverbial switch, and taking it to the Maple Leafs, who admittedly did not play three complete periods, to the tune of a 4-1 Boston win.
“We started well, and then obviously we kind of sat back and they kept coming. That’s basically what happened,” said Dion Phaneuf in the postgame.
After James van Reimsdyk scored on the power play to give Toronto an early edge, the Leafs spent most of the period in the lead. But late in the first period, a Wade Redden shot crept through the equipment of goalie James Reimer to knot the score at one.
“My arm still hurts from it,” said Reimer. “It felt like I got 95 percent of it, but that wasn’t enough.
“It’s frustrating to let that in, it’s a tough bounce, but that’s what happens sometimes, and you have to battle through it.”
Redden was quick to deflect the praise in his postgame interview, with his mindset more on the team, and the task ahead.
“It’s a win. That’s really what it all boils down to. It’s one win in a series,” he said. “I’m not getting too nostalgic on things.
“Obviously, it’s just one game, so you have to keep with it.”
Redden was right back in the mix minutes later when his point shot on the power play found the stick of Nathan Horton for a tip-in goal to give the B’s a lead.
“I was looking to get a shot on net, trying to go up with it,” Redden said. “[Horton] was right in a good spot and he got a good stick on it. That was a big goal, too, late in the first.”
With the Bruins surging, Toronto was unable to match Boston’s intensity, as the Bruins added two more tallies in the second to push its lead to three.
“We started fine, but we’ve got to get back to playing a full 60 minutes, because obviously they did that tonight and we didn’t.”
In the other locker room, the Bruins felt this game was one of their more complete efforts in recent memory.
“Yeah, we gave up the early one but you want to bounce back,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “I thought that we did that and played pretty strong for 60 minutes.”
Despite the lopsided score, both teams acknowledged that it was only one game, and there is plenty of series left to play.
“We’re just trying to focus on going game-by-game,” said Chara. “Our focus was on the first game and now we have to put that behind and focus on the second.”
Toronto though, is hopeful, and confident, that it can bounce back after not putting in a complete performance.
“I think we have to take a page out of their book for a little bit there and get back to work,” said Leafs forward Nazem Kadri. “Our guys realize they have a lot better than that and I’m expecting a bounce back game next game.”