The Boston Bruins first-round playoff series has been evened up at a game apiece, as Toronto skated out of TD Garden with a 3-2 win on Monday night.
It was Toronto’s first win against Boston in nine meetings and its first win at TD Garden in over two years.

Both teams picked up right where they left off Saturday night, combining for twenty-seven hits in the first ten minutes of play.


The Bruins struck first, with Morgan Geekie cashing in on the power play off a sweet feed from Marchand. Unfortunately, the lead would be short-lived, as Max Domi would level the score just fourteen seconds later.


Both teams continued to trade blows into the dying seconds of the period when David Pastrnak pounded home a perfect pass from Pavel Zacha. That would end up being one of the last bright spots for the Bruins in this game.

From the second period on, the Bruins were the second-best team on the ice, and it wasn’t particularly close.

Toronto came out of the intermission with urgency and applied a ton of pressure on the Bruins. The Leafs outshot, outhustled, and outhit Boston, forcing the Bruins to fumble the puck and commit bad penalties.

A Too Many Men call on Boston gave Toronto a power play, which they would score on but were ruled out. Tyler Bertuzzi’s equalizer was overturned for a high stick, but the Leafs kept the pressure on. John Tavares would cash in on a second power play minutes later, and the score held into the second intermission.


Boston held on for dear life in the third period, but it wasn’t enough. In what is quickly becoming a theme in this series, the Leafs started the period dictating the pace.


Toronto put three shots on goal in the first minute, and aside from forcing an excellent save from Samsonov, Boston rarely threatened to score. The second Bruins Too Many Men call of the night wiped out a power play opportunity and any possible momentum.


Boston would only muster three shots in the next ten minutes, looking just as sloppy and discombobulated as last Spring. Toronto’s pressure forced the Bruins into missing passes, fumbling pucks, and second-guessing shooting chances.

With just under eight minutes to go, Maxi Domi dropped a dime to Auston Matthews, who got behind the defense and beat Ullmark to give Toronto the lead. A poor misjudgment by McAvoy allowed Matthews to get the puck out of the air and on toward the goal alone.

A power play opportunity with just over six minutes to go mustered a single shot on the frame as Boston looked all out of sorts. Ullmark was pulled with two minutes to play, only for Lindholm to immediately commit icing.

Samsonov held strong in a net-front scramble in the last minute, and Toronto closed out the 3-2 win.

Despite the close score, it’s hard to argue the Bruins weren’t second-best at almost everything.

Toronto finished with more shots, faceoff wins, takeaways, and, most importantly, goals. Matthews, Domi, and Bertuzzi were held in check in Game One but completely dominated Monday night. Matthews won sixteen of twenty-three faceoffs, including twelve of sixteen against Charlie Coyle.

Coyle finished his night winning just seven of twenty-one faceoffs. The stalwart pairing of Carlo and Lindholm, who dominated Saturday, were analytically the two worst Bruins on the ice. @HockeyStatCards graded Morgan Geekie as the best Bruins skater, and it’s hard to win games when that is the case.


Ironically, the best Bruin of the night was the one people didn’t want to play. 


The goaltending debate had been a hot topic leading up to the game, and Ullmark did more than his part. He made several big saves in the third period to keep Boston in the game when they should not have been. In all likelihood, Swayman will start Wednesday in Toronto, but Ullmark’s play has certainly assuaged some doubts.


Game three will be Wednesday night on ESPN.

Photo: Steve Babineau

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