When asked about the play of the Boston Bruins top line, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews replied, “That’s Hockey.” Well, actually Matthews said a little more than that. Matthews made a number of comments following the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday Night. The Leafs fly home to Toronto for Game 3 on Monday Night. With the Bruins winning the first two games in convincing fashion, the third game will be a must-win for the Leafs. Matthews reflected on what has gone wrong in the first two games.
Auston Matthews Comments on Game 2
— The Cheapseats (@TCheapseats) April 15, 2018
Maple Leafs struggle with Patrice Bergeron‘s line
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak have been unstoppable in the series, which the Boston Bruins lead the series 2-0 following a 7-3 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. And if you’re looking for answers on how to subdue the Bergeron line, you probably shouldn’t turn to Auston Matthews.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs have any hope of getting back in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Bruins, they’ll need to slow down Boston’s top line. The line of
has produced 20 points in two games, while the Maple Leafs have struggled offensively. Pastrnak has four goals and five assists; Bergeron has five assists; and Marchand has a goal, four assists and this magical moment with Leo Komarov.
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) April 13, 2018
Toronto comes up short offensively
The Toronto Maple Leafs have only scored four goals while playing in Boston for the first two games of the series. During the regular season, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner all had 60 or more points. This post-season it has been other lines stepping up. Zach Hyman (one goal, one assist), and Morgan Rielly (two assists) join Marner (one goal, one assist) as the top producing Leafs with two points each.
Auston Matthews is allowed to be frustrated about how well the Boston Bruins are playing, because they are producing at an efficient rate. When Matthews says, “That’s hockey”, he isn’t wrong. The Boston Bruins have had a spectacular regular season and show no shows of slowing as they go deeper and deeper into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy trusts his Bruins
Often in the post-season, it is harder for top lines to produce at the rate they hope to. Coaches key in on match-ups and use their best defensemen against top forwards. That clearly has not been the case for Boston’s top unit this postseason, as they have had little trouble with any of the Maple Leafs defensive units.
“We are communicating after almost every shift about what we’re seeing and trying to change things up,” Patrice Bergeron said. “That being said, yeah, we had some good looks in the first two games, but we can’t stop there.”
The Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand Show
Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand have been playing like they have played together for their whole lives. But in reality, the group did not even start the season together. Instead, Bergeron and Marchand paired up on the top line, while David Krejci and Pastrnak worked on the second unit together. At that point, Cassidy was simply trying to give his offence more depth.
But as injuries struck the team, Bruce Cassidy had to try something to get his offence going. Creating one top line was the solution, and it stuck.
“Once they started playing well together, it was hard to break them up,” Cassidy said. “It kind of evolved where we started winning games and that line could stay together and we were getting offence elsewhere.”
Boston Bruins have Depth
A big part of that has been the effort from the Bruins secondary scoring. So far this postseason, 12 of Boston’s 19 skaters that have played have tallied at least one point. Six of those skaters have multiple points.
Not to put any more pressure on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Game three of the series and the first in Toronto is a must win for the Leafs. The game starts at 7:00 pm tomorrow evening.