GOLD STAR: Mitch Marner finished with a goal and two points, a plus-2 and 10 shot attempts in 13:57 of ice time, and helped the Leafs get out to a fast lead with both teams looking to get off to a quick start. It was Marner that picked off an errant Brandon Carlo outlet pass, and immediately snapped a shot over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask to give Toronto a quick lead. Marner was again part of the combination that pushed the third goal past Rask in the third period as well, and that score essentially iced the game for Toronto. Marner has struggled for Toronto for large portions of the still-young season, but his game got healthy pretty quickly against the Bruins.
BLACK EYE: Brandon Carlo called himself the “Achilles Heel” after the game was over, and while it might have been a bit overly harsh, it certainly wasn’t wrong. Carlo blew the outlet pass up the middle on a gift-wrapped turnover that Mitch Marner turned into Toronto’s first goal, and it was his hooking call that almost immediately led to Toronto’s power play strike. To top it all off, Carlo screened Tuukka Rask on Toronto’s third goal before unintentionally redirecting the puck past the Bruins goaltender on a truly bad luck play. Carlo finished with a minus-2 rating in 15:17 of ice time, and should just be focused on bouncing back from a rough couple of nights against Toronto as quickly as possible.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs by a 13-11 margin in the second period and were only down by a 2-1 score at that point, but they couldn’t get anything past Toronto backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney during the barrage. The best chance was a Patrice Bergeron lead pass to Brad Marchand in front of the net, but McElhinney was able to stuff Marchand’s backhanded bid and get the puck out of danger. Once the Maple Leafs managed to survive Boston’s big push in the second period, they snapped back with a third insurance goal that sealed any chances the Bruins had of getting back into the game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Frank Vatrano was one of the few bright spots for the Bruins. He scored the team’s only goal in the first period, he threw three hits including a big one on Toronto D-man Nikita Zaitsev against the side boards and he even blocked a couple of shots while playing the 200-foot game for the Black and Gold. Vatrano also drew an interference call on Tyler Bozak in the third period to set up a Bruins power play that they weren’t able to score on. It all started with Vatrano scoring the goal and his confidence growing from there in the first game where he appeared to be truly engaged this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0-3-3 – the Bruins record against Eastern Conference teams this season after dropping both ends of the home-and-home against Toronto.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Around the net they were better than us. So, we’re frustrated, but not...we’re not discouraged. I mean, we’re playing hard, just you go through these lulls where you need to be a little bit better." –Bruce Cassidy, of a Bruins team that’s lost three in a row for the first time all season and lost six of their last eight games.