Talking Points: Andersen shuts door on Bruins
Mitch Marner is the “other” explosive rookie in the Leafs lineup along with Auston Matthews, and he had his own impressive showing in the home opener against the Bruins. Marner scored the game’s second goal when he deftly took a stretch pass in stride, stepped on the gas pedal and then whizzed a wrist shot past Anton Khudobin for his first NHL goal. He finished with the goal, plus-2 rating, four shots on net, one hit, three blocked shots and a drawn tripping penalty on Khudobin in his 15 plus minutes of work. While there are going to be tough nights for the Toronto rookies, both Marner and Matthews look like they’ve got a bright future together with the Maple Leafs.
Colin Miller had a rough night for the Black and Gold. He finished with a team-worst minus-3 rating in 15:31 of ice time, didn’t have a shot on net and had a couple of giveaways in a game filled with hesitancy and lack of assertiveness. Miller’s night started badly when he couldn’t help clear a puck in front of the Boston net that ended up as a goal for Connor Brown, and then tried a sweeping, diving poke-check to stop James van Riemsdyk before he pulled the puck back and scored on a wrist shot from the slot area. Miller had a much better game opening night against Columbus even though he was on the ice for the first goal scored by the Blue Jackets, but he was one of the big reasons Boston left Toronto with a loss on Saturday night.
The Bruins were gathering momentum in the second period, and late in the stanza Boston’s top line looked like they were going to put more points on the board. Brad Marchand was wheeling and dealing behind the net with the puck, and fed a perfect strike to David Pastrnak camped out in front. The right wing got off a good shot from his wide open position, but Frederik Andersen was able to turn the bid away and keep Pastrnak from getting his second goal of the night. That was the difference between going into the second intermission down 3-2 with all of the momentum, or the B’s going in down 3-1 before coming out extremely flat for the final 20 minutes of the game. That’s a very big swing.
Frederik Andersen stopped 24-of-25 shots against the Bruins, and did everything he had to do in order to earn the win. Truth be told it wasn’t the toughest game that the Leafs netminder is going to play this season, but he did come up with a couple of very good saves in the second period to keep it a 3-1 lead headed into the final 20 minutes. The biggest stop was in the closing minutes of the second period when he smothered a wide open David Pastrnak bid at the front of the net after Brad Marchand fed him a perfect centering pass from behind the net. Once that shot was turned away, the final 20 minutes were smooth sailing for the new Toronto goaltender.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – the number of fights for the Bruins while trying to show some spunk against the Leafs. David Backes dropped the gloves with Nazem Kadri right after Toronto’s first goal, and then Zdeno Chara rag-dolled Matt Martin in the third period after the big Leafs forward lowered the boom on Torey Krug in the corner.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“There were times that I felt certain individuals weren’t focused enough. There were plenty examples for me to show these guys. We need to be a little more focused, sometimes as a team but more as individuals. It just takes one weak link to throw everything off.” – Claude Julien, clearly not happy with the focus of some of his players in the loss to the Leafs.