Bruins lose 4-3 heartbreaker to Leafs

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Bruins lose 4-3 heartbreaker to Leafs

TORONTO -- Mitch Marner stepped up with Auston Matthews sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Marner had a goal and three assists, the last on Ron Hainsey's winner with 1:23 remaining, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Boston 4-3 on Saturday night to match the franchise record of nine straight home wins.

"I think everyone in this room wants to step up," Marner said. "We talked about how big a role (Matthews) is on this team, but we can't sit back and relax, we've got to make sure we put our foot on the pedal and work hard and do more just to fill that void. I'm just trying to help out more down low and trying to bring on, I think, a bigger role."

Matthews was hurt Thursday night in a victory over the New York Islanders.

Hainsey's one-timed William Nylander's pass past goalie Tuuka Rask for his fourth goal of the season.

"Just trying to get it by the guy in front (of me) from the blue line," Hainsey said. "Nice job by (Nylander) coming around the net and (Zach Hyman) down there. "A lot of traffic down there, both teams sending guys to the net so you're just hoping to get it through."

Toronto moved a point ahead of Boston for the second seed in the Atlantic Division.

"What happened was they were a lot better than us," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said about the second period. "We came out of it tied, but they were clearly the better team."

Nazem Kadri scored twice, Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists, and Nylander had two assists. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves to improve to 10-1-0 against the Bruins.

Brad Marchand scored twice, and Jake DeBrusk also connected for Boston. Rask made 32 saves.

Marchand opened the scoring, taking a pass and beating Andersen glove-side at 6:11 of the first. Toronto responded just over a minute later when Marner took a Nylander's feed and beat a sprawling Rask for his 16th at 7:15.

Kadri gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead on a power play, tapping in James van Riemsdyk's pass at 10:30 for his 22nd of the season.

Boston tied it 2-2 on Marchand's second of the period. Marchand beat Andersen from close range for his 23rd of the season.

DeBrusk gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead at 1:55 of the second, re-directing Ryan Spooner's pass over Andersen for his 12th.

With Charlie McAvoy serving a tripping minor, Kadri one-timed Marner's pass over Rask's glove for his 23rd of the season with 55.9 seconds remaining in the second to tie it at 3.


Bruins: At Buffalo on Sunday.

Maple Leafs: At Tampa Bay on Monday night.


The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.