Mitch Marner on Thursday scored on a penalty shot in the second period as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the mistake-prone Boston Bruins 4-1 in the opening game of their NHL playoff series.
Marner, who finished with two goals, helped get the visiting Leafs’ playoff run off to a roaring start in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.
“We know we got a quick team,” Marner said. “We got pucks in their zone and made it hard on them.”
“We tried to keep our game plan simple. We backchecked well, made it hard for them to get to our net. They got a lot of firepower, so we have to do it all game,” he added.
William Nylander and John Tavares also scored for the Maple Leafs, who last season lost in the first playoff round to Boston.
Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal for the Bruins, who could not get much offense from their top line.
Boston finished with the second-best record overall in the East, but limped into the post-season by going 3-4 in their final seven games of the regular season.
On Thursday they played sloppy defense, especially on offense in the Toronto zone by turning the puck over several times, which led to a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes for the Leafs.
CAPITALS 4, HURRICANES 2
Nicklas Backstrom scored two of Washington’s three first-period goals as the Capitals held off a late Carolina rally for a 4-2 victory over the visiting Hurricanes in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Game 2 was set for yesterday in Washington.
Backstrom had multiple goals for the third time in his playoff career, coming just more than three minutes apart in that opening period.
Alex Ovechkin also scored in the first period, and John Carlson notched a hat-trick of assists, getting helpers on all three first-period goals. That tied the NHL record for most assists in a period of a playoff game.
Lars Eller added an empty-net goal and goalie Braden Holtby finished with 27 saves.
Carolina finally got on the board when rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored 5 minutes, 7 seconds into the third period.
The Hurricanes the cut the lead to 3-2 when he got a second goal a little more than two minutes later, making Svechnikov (19 years, 16 days) the youngest player with multiple goals in a playoff game since 1997.
FLAMES 4, AVALANCHE 0
Mike Smith stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn the shutout and Matthew Tkachuk scored twice as the hosts Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 in the first game of their Western Conference playoff series.
Game 2 was to be yesterday in Calgary.
The score might make it seem as if the game was a rout, but Smith was undoubtedly the star while posting his fourth career playoff shutout and adding an assist in the process.
There was actually a debate over who should take the net for the series opener, Smith or David Rittich, as Smith struggled throughout much of the season.
However, Smith was the stronger goalie down the stretch, warranting his selection.
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