BOSTON – They don’t put as many home-and-home series in the NHL schedule as they used to, and the Bruins are probably hoping that they didn’t do it at all anymore.
That’s because the Toronto Maple Leafs, without Auston Matthews no less, were able to secure a home-and-home sweep of the Bruins on Hockey Hall of Fame weekend with a 4-1 win over the Black and Gold at TD Garden on Saturday night.
The Leafs never trailed in the game, and held a two-goal advantage for much of a game where the Bruins couldn’t score, made enough D-zone mistakes to lose and really only came to play in the middle period of the game.
It was a tough night for Brandon Carlo that started with a turnover right onto the stick of Mitch Marner in the middle of the ice. Marner quickly snapped the puck up and over Tuukka Rask’s shoulder for the goal that got the Leafs off and running. Toronto made it a two-goal lead less than six minutes later with Carlo in the penalty box for a hooking call. The Leafs won the ensuing offensive zone face-off, and Nazem Kadri fed James van Riemsdyk holding inside position on Zdeno Chara in front for the power play strike.
It was JVR’s 14th career goal against the Bruins, which leads all Toronto players and makes him a certified Bruins killer at this point.
The Bruins finally answered with a Frank Vatrano redirect of a Torey Krug point shot to halve the lead, but that’s the only goal the B’s would scratch for against Leafs backup goalie Curtis McElhinney. Instead he made 38 big time saves, and the Leafs were able to extend the lead with a Morgan Rielly point blast in the third period.
Patrick Marleau put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal in the final two minutes to seal things for the Maple Leafs.