Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri cheap-shots Jake DeBrusk with crosscheck to the face

Nazem Kadri cheap-shots Jake DeBrusk with crosscheck to the face

Nazem Kadri can expect a suspension to come his way.

Kadri and Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk went at it throughout Saturday night's Game 2 matchup, but the Maple Leafs forward took it too far in the third period. After DeBrusk put a hit on Patrick Marleau, Kadri retaliated with a cheap crosscheck to DeBrusk's face.

Kadri received a game-misconduct. Fortunately, DeBrusk skated off the ice under his own power and appeared to be OK after the scary incident.

This isn't Kadri's first time pulling something like this against the Bruins. In last year's first-round series, he was suspended three games for a dirty hit on Tommy Wingels.

The Bruins earned a 4-1 victory to even the series at 1 heading into Toronto.

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Brandon Carlo gives Nazem Kadri faceful of fists in Bruins-Leafs fight

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USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Carlo gives Nazem Kadri faceful of fists in Bruins-Leafs fight

The Boston Bruins are putting a beating on Toronto Maple Leafs -- in more ways than one.

With Boston already holding a 2-0 lead over Toronto late in the second period Saturday night at TD Garden, B's defenseman Brandon Carlo dropped the gloves with Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri for an entertaining fight.

The 6-foot, 192-pound Kadri admittedly held his own, but we're giving the decision to Carlo, who used his 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame to deliver some pretty big blows before pinning Kadri to the glass.

The Bruins added a third goal before the end of the period, taking a 3-0 lead into the final frame as they aim to snap a three-game losing streak.

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Bruins know they 'have to be better defensively' to close out Leafs

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File photo

Bruins know they 'have to be better defensively' to close out Leafs

TORONTO – The Bruins have scored less than three goals exactly once in their playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Offense really hasn’t been an issue against a Toronto team that can’t consistently stop the Black and Gold. No, it’s much more about defense and slowing down the Maple Leafs while keeping preventable goals out of the back of their net. 

Some of it is about effectively cutting down the transition, stretch passes that Toronto likes to use to kick-start their offense, and that’s about minimizing the risk-taking offensively while also taking care not to allow leaking, sneaking opponents behind their defense. Some of it is just about good, fundamental defense as the Bruins simply didn’t play 2-on-2 situations very well on rushes from the Toronto forwards in their Game 5 loss at TD Garden. 

All of it is about holding players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri in check as the Bruins have done for long stretches of the series with a steady diet of Zdeno Chara greeting the Leafs franchise center wherever he goes.

“In games like that we have to be a little better defensively,” said Brad Marchand, referring to Game 5’s defeat where they scored three goals. “We can’t expect to score five goals every game, so we can’t be giving up four [goals]. If we’re a little bit better there and continue to pepper away with the shots, hopefully things will work in our favor.”

Bruce Cassidy went through each of the first three goals allowed by the Bruins in their Game 5 loss last weekend, and each of them needed better “rush defense” executed by the Bruins. The first was a simple one-man rush into the zone by Matthews, the second was Andreas Johnsson getting behind the Bruins defense before connecting with Kadri on a perfect pass, and the third was a backbreaking Tyler Bozak score from the slot after the Bruins had just scored and grabbed momentum in the game. All of them arrived via Toronto’s speed and aggressive mindset entering the offensive zone, and that’s something Boston has stifled to a much more effective degree until Saturday night.  

“They make a play up the wall where we’re normally there to contest that, slide and have the appropriate adjustment between the forward and the ‘D.’ We didn’t slide until the rush. That will be addressed and was addressed. That’s what we need to do against Toronto when we have the numbers and we didn’t do it,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Then they won a puck at the net where we’re generally good there, but they got it to the net. Give them credit, they got it there. They got it to the net and won a battle by going to the dirty areas. 

“The second goal was a 2-on-2 and a good play, but still a 2-on-2. We need to defend it better from our end. From their end, it’s a nice play. The third goal was a quick up, we were a little late trying to kill it. … We were a little late in every area, we needed a save there and we didn’t get it. So those are the three goals I look at, and I look at the rush defense that could have been better.”

Given that the Bruins have scored 20 goals in the five playoff games vs. Toronto and hit the 40 shots on net three different times in the best-of-seven series, it’s about holding the Leafs down a little more effectively as they’ve done in their three wins. If the Bruins can play sound defense and once again slow down the Maple Leafs track meet on the ice, then it’s highly doubtful this series will be going back to Boston for a Game 7. 

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