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Leafs and Bruins split first two games of series in Boston

by Adam Proteau Proteautype / MapleLeafs.com

The Maple Leafs and Bruins are now in a best-of-5 after splitting the first two games in Boston, following a 4-1 loss on Saturday.

LEAFS FACE DIFFERENT BRUINS APPROACH, TRAIL 2-0 AFTER FIRST FRAME

Hoping to win Game 2 against the Bruins - and take a commanding 2-0 first-round series lead in the process - the Maple Leafs expected their opponent to play a different, more robust physical game in front of their home crowd Saturday. And that's exactly what they got, but Toronto couldn't stop the Bruins from getting on the scoreboard in the first period: Boston outshot the Leafs 14-7 in the first 20 minutes, and Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand scored before the first intermission to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the second.

The Bruins made some slight lineup alterations for Game 2 - bringing in forward David Backes - and the effect was positive for Boston to begin the night. They kept the Leafs on their heels and beat them in puck battles along the boards and through the neutral zone, and Buds goalie Frederik Andersen made several big saves throughout the night to keep the Leafs in the game at the break.

SECOND PERIOD SIMILAR TO FIRST FOR LEAFS, WHO TRAIL BY THREE ENTERING THIRD PERIOD

Boston continued to pressure the Leafs in the middle frame, outshooting Toronto 15-9 and extending their lead to 3-0 at 10:39 on a goal from Danton Heinen. And the Leafs couldn't make the most of their three power plays through the night, including one late in the second. Special teams can make the difference between winners and losers in the post-season, but on a night where, to be charitable, few knew what comprised a penalty, the Leafs needed to capitalize on at least one of their three power plays, and that didn't happen.

KADRI GETS LEAFS ON SCOREBOARD MIDWAY THROUGH THIRD, BUT BRUINS SCORE INSURANCE MARKER ON POWER PLAY 

The Leafs reversed the Bruins' dominance of the shot counter in the third, outshooting Boston 15-10 in the third - and Toronto finally scored on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask when centre Nazem Kadri deflected defenceman Travis Dermott's shot at the 10:44 mark to cut the B's lead to 3-1:

Video: TOR@BOS, Gm2: Kadri tips in Dermott's shot

Kadri had an impact not just on the scoreboard, but also in terms of his physicality. He and Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk had a battle that lasted all game - and that included a questionable knee-on-knee hit where DeBrusk went at Kadri and wasn't penalized for it - and it peaked when DeBrusk took a run at Patrick Marleau and Kadri sent DeBrusk into the boards immediately afterward. 

Kadri was ejected from the game at that point, and on the ensuing Bruins power play, Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron scored to lock up the victory for his team and send the series back to Toronto tied at one game apiece. Andersen stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced, in a solid performance despite the loss.

As the series shifts to Scotiabank Arena for Game 3 Monday, the Leafs will have to be more disciplined and more determined to beat Boston, and make an adjustment the same way the Bruins made adjustments after Game 1. That's the nature of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it's now up to the Leafs to tweak their game and come out with a different result than the one they got Saturday night.

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