Revived Offense Lifts Bruins Over Maple Leafs
Boston — Nathan Horton scored the go-ahead goal late in the first period and the Boston Bruins used a revived offense to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in their playoff opener last night.
The Bruins scored more than three goals for the first time in 10 games. They closed the regular season on a 2-7 skid that dropped them to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
That set up a first-round matchup with fifth-seeded Toronto, the first time the teams have met in the postseason since 1974. The Maple Leafs, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004, lost four of their last six regular-season games.
Wade Redden also scored in the first period for Boston, and David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk added goals in the second.
James van Riemsdyk had given Toronto a 1-0 lead with a power play just 1:54 into the game.
Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday night in Boston, where the Bruins have won six straight against the Maple Leafs.
Horton gave the Bruins a 2-1 at 19:48 of the first period.
Redden, obtained from St. Louis on April 3, took a shot from the top of the right circle. Horton, sidelined the previous five games with an upper body injury, lifted his stick and deflected the puck past goalie James Reimer.
After video review, it was determined that his stick stayed below the crossbar.
Van Riemsdyk had opened the scoring after Cody Franson fed a pass to him from behind the goal line.
Redden tied it at 16:20 with a slap shot from the top of the left circle that went between Reimer’s left arm and left pad.
After Horton gave the Bruins the lead, Toronto had a good chance to tie it. But Tyler Bozak, who missed the previous two games with an upper body injury, was stopped on a breakaway by goalie Tuukka Rask at 8:40 of the second period.
Krejci extended the lead at 10:25 when he gathered a loose puck in the crease, spun around and put a 15-foot shot past Reimer.
The Bruins made it 4-1 just over three minutes later on a shot from the right point by Boychuk over Reimer’s left arm.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, watching from about 20 rows behind the team benches, waved a towel in celebration.
Boston nearly had two more goals, but video review showed that Tyler Seguin’s shot early in the second period hit the crossbar, and that Patrice Bergeron jammed the puck into the net midway through the third after it had been covered by Reimer.
Notes: The Bruins are 21-4-3 against the Maple Leafs in their last 28 meetings. ... C Rich Peverly was a healthy scratch for the Bruins after playing 47 of their 48 regular-season games. ... Boston has 17 players on its roster from its 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. Toronto has 15 players making their first playoff appearance. ... Former Bruins forward Phil Kessel is scoreless in five games against Boston this season. He led Toronto with 20 goals and 52 points.