Game Centre: Maple Leafs fall flat to Bruins in Boston
|Toronto Star 08 Dec 2018 at 20:20|
BOSTONâOnce again, the Maple Leafs were not the better team. This time, just for a change however, Toronto lost in regulation because of it.
The Boston Bruins took it to the Maple Leafs â physically and offensively â and skated off to a 6-3 win Saturday night in a game involving two teams that donât like each other very much.
The Bruinsâ Brad Marchand tussles with Leafs defenceman Nikita Zaitsev during first-period action in Boston on Saturday night.Â Â (Maddie Meyer / GETTY IMAGES)
That ended a Leafsâ points streak of five wins and an overtime loss, during the last two games of which the other teams â Buffalo and Detroit â had played the better game.
âI was disappointed, I thought weâd come in here and play real well, especially after (Thursdayâs overtime loss). Obviously we didnât,â said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. âWe had a pretty good run. Now we have to regroup.
âEvery once in a while, you get fed your lunch. Today was one of those days.â
Perhaps more remarkably, the game featured two fights, three game misconducts, one 10-minute misconduct a boarding penalty, 98 minutes in penalties and at least one hit â Zach Hyman on Charlie McAvoy â that was under review by the league.
âItâs a rivalry game, right?â said Leafs centre Auston Matthews. âItâs going to be physical. I thought it was a good fight by (Nazem Kadri) to give us a wakeup call on the bench and get everybody going. We dug ourselves a hole that we couldnât climb out of.â
Nothing seemed quite in sync for the Leafs, even for the top line, which is the only one thatâs intact since William Nylander returned. John Tavares (minus-3), Mitch Marner (minus-3) and Hyman (minus-1) were outplayed by Bostonâs big guns of David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
Matthews and Andreas Johnsson each had a goal and an assist. Travis Dermott had the other goal. Jake Gardiner had two assists. The Leafsâ offence all came in the third period, after Boston built a 4-0 lead.
âIn the old days what you used to do is you could skate around in warmup, you could growl at each other and it actually made a difference because there was someone out there that could actually whack you,â the coach said. âIt doesn t work like that now and you re not expected â if someone hits you hard, you re not expected to take a penalty. You re expected to keep playing, so it s different.â
Eventually, Kadri and Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo dropped the gloves in the second period. Kadri had stripped the puck off Carlo, and Carlo stripped it back in a tough head-to-head shift. It was the Leafsâ second fighting major of the season, and first since Josh Leivo dropped the gloves Oct. 11 against Detroitâs Danny DeKeyser.
Hyman later laid out McAvoy ââ just back from a concussion â with a shoulder-to-chest late hit. That was followed by a near head shot by Chris Wagner on Morgan Rielly in mid-ice, prompting Ron Hainsey to drop the gloves.
Fights that just donât happen anymore were happening, aided, of course, by the lopsided score.
Wagner: âHe (Rielly) was the one with the puck, so you canât really cheap-shot someone. I thought it was a pretty clean hit for the most part, stayed on my feet. When something like that happens, (Hyman on McAvoy) you want to respond in the correct way.â
Matthews: âI mean, thatâs hockey and itâs our job to respond.â
Torey Krug: âI thought we did a good job of responding after that (Hyman hit on McAvoy), you know, going hard against their skill. Obviously Wagner came through and hits their top moving defenceman. Itâs a tough part of the game.â