The Boston Bruins opened up their 2024 Stanley Cup Playoff campaign with authority, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Saturday night.

It was the first playoff game in nearly five years between the Original Six rivals when Boston eliminated Toronto in Game Seven of the first round in 2019.

In the sense of Deja Blue, that game also ended with a 5-1 final score.


The lopsided final score was not indicative of the flow of the game. Toronto came out determined to set the tone right off the opening faceoff and forced Swayman to make some difficult saves early.


Despite Toronto’s efforts, it was the Bruins who broke the ice less than three minutes in when John Beecher cashed in on a two-on-one breakaway.

Both teams would trade quality scoring chances and several body checks throughout the rest of the period, but the score would remain 1-0 Boston.

The second period started out heavily in Toronto’s favor

The Maple Leafs dominated play to start, recording the first six shots of the period. Auston Matthews nearly tied the game on an error by Jeremy Swayman but missed the open net by mere inches. Moments later, Brandon Carlo picked the top corner, and the floodgates started to open.

Jake DeBrusk cashed in on a pair of power plays two minutes apart, courtesy of Matthews and Max Domi, to effectively put the game out of reach.

Toronto again came out of the intermission controlling play and finally managed to beat Swayman. David Kampf snapped home a loose puck into an empty net to break the shutout bid. The Leafs would continue to press to no avail, and Boston was content to sit back and lay some hits.

Trent Frederic would put the game on ice with an empty net goal to wrap up the 5-1 win. 

Jeremy Swayman, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie McAvoy picked up the three stars of the night. Swayman stopped thirty-five of thirty-six shots, DeBrusk recorded three points, and McAvoy assisted in both of DeBrusk’s goals.

Beecher’s Stanley Cup Playoff debut rightfully earned credit from coach Jim Montgomery. The rookie recorded two hits and two takeaways and won six of ten faceoffs to go with his first playoff goal.

Both teams combined for 103 hits on the night, with Patrick Maroon leading Boston with six.


Now the goaltending debate begins: who starts Game Two?


Swayman’s stellar performance last night was a strong argument for keeping the net going forward. His statistics this year against Toronto make a strong argument in favor, but Bruins fans are also wary of repeating last season.

Coach Montgomery was tight-lipped about his game-one starter; we should expect the same for Monday night.


Who do you think should start Game 2? Let us know in the poll below.


Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe

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