Game Centre: Maple Leafs fall flat to Bruins in Boston
|Toronto Star 08 Dec 2018 at 20:20|
BOSTONâ€”Once 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 donâ€™t 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.
â€śI was disappointed, I thought weâ€™d come in here and play real well, especially after (Thursdayâ€™s overtime loss). Obviously we didnâ€™t,â€ť said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. â€śWe had a pretty good run. Now we have to regroup.
â€śEvery once in a while, you get fed your lunch. Today was one of those days.â€ť
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.
â€śItâ€™s a rivalry game, right?â€ť said Leafs centre Auston Matthews. â€śItâ€™s 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 couldnâ€™t climb out of.â€ť
Nothing seemed quite in sync for the Leafs, even for the top line, which is the only one thatâ€™s intact since William Nylander returned. John Tavares (minus-3), Mitch Marner (minus-3) and Hyman (minus-1) were outplayed by Bostonâ€™s 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.
â€śIn 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€ť the coach said. â€śIt 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€ť
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 Detroitâ€™s Danny DeKeyser.
Hyman later laid out McAvoy â€”â€“ 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 donâ€™t happen anymore were happening, aided, of course, by the lopsided score.
Wagner: â€śHe (Rielly) was the one with the puck, so you canâ€™t 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€ť
Matthews: â€śI mean, thatâ€™s hockey and itâ€™s our job to respond.â€ť
Torey Krug: â€śI 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. Itâ€™s a tough part of the game.â€ť