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Brad Marchand scores winner, Bruins down Maple Leafs to take 2-1 series lead

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TORONTO — Brad Marchand scored twice, including the winner in the third period, and added an assist as the Boston Bruins downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series Wednesday.

Jake DeBrusk and Trent Frederic had the other goals for Boston.

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The Bruins got 28 stops from Jeremy Swayman, who made 35 saves in his team’s 5-1 victory in Game 1 before giving way to crease counterpart Linus Ullmark in the Leafs’ 3-2 triumph two nights later.

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Tyler Bertuzzi and Matthew Knies replied for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov made 30 saves.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven matchup goes Saturday back at Scotiabank Arena. Game 5 is set for Tuesday in Boston.

Leafs winger William Nylander took line rushes at the morning skate, but missed a third straight contest — the Swede played all 82 in the regular season — with an undisclosed injury.

Moments after the Leafs tied things 2-2 to send Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy and then nearly took the lead off a Swayman turnover, Marchard took a pass from Danton Heinen and ripped a shot past Samsonov’s ear at 11:53 of the third.

Toronto pulled Samsonov for the extra attacker with just over two minutes to go in regulation, but Leafs captain John Tavares took a holding penalty with 64 seconds left before Marchand sealed it into the empty net.

Tied 1-1 through 40 minutes, DeBrusk bagged his third goal in as many games when he scored on a man advantage 67 seconds after the restart off a Marchand rebound when the Leafs lost structure on their struggling penalty kill.

Toronto’s power play came over the boards a few minutes later, but couldn’t connect despite a couple of great chances for Bertuzzi, slipping to 0-for-5 on the night and 1-for-11 in the series.

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Bruins winger James van Riemsdyk hit the post on a partial break midway through the period before Bertuzzi tipped a Morgan Rielly shot off Boston defenceman Hampus Lindholm to tie the game 2-2.

Marchand — Boston’s captain seemingly always in the thick of things at this time of year — responded just 28 seconds later to give his team a lead it would never surrender to re-establish home-ice advantage.

The Leafs opened the scoring at 13:10 of the second when the under-fire Mitch Marner — without a point through two games and the subject of intense media scrutiny — deftly moved past a defender and slid a pass for Knies to redirect upstairs on Swayman.

Samsonov stopped van Riemsdyk on a partial breakaway moments later, but the Bruins tied it at 17:37 when Frederic fired his second goal of the series in off the post on a shot the netminder will want back.

The play unfolded as Marchand and Bertuzzi got tangled up in the neutral zone, and moments after, Leafs star Auston Matthews was tackled behind Boston’s net by Charlie McAvoy.

Toronto, which fell to Boston in seven games to open the 2013, 2018 and 2019 playoffs, was buzzing around the offensive zone on an early power play before the Bruins had the best chance on a short-handed Pavel Zacha breakaway that Samsonov turned aside.

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Toronto defenceman Joel Edmundson made a crucial block with his goaltender out of position later in the first period on a David Pastrnak opportunity.

The Leafs had another fruitless power play before Tavares ripped a shot off the crossbar.

Toronto winger Max Domi then created a turnover behind the Boston net and nearly capitalized, but Swayman was there.

The home side brought some physicality as the period wound down, with Simon Benoit, David Kampf and Ryan Reaves throwing their weight around to raucous approval.

Matthews hit the post early in the second and had another chance on a Marner power-play setup. Samsonov then denied Pat Maroon at the other end before the teams finally broke through.


Van Riemsdyk, who was a healthy scratch for the first two games, suited up in a building he called home for six seasons with the Leafs from 2012-13 through 2017-18.


Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was asked about a playoff schedule that sees two days off on either side of Game 4.

“I would have rather been here Thursday/Saturday, if I’m being honest,” he said.

“I think we’re spending more time in Toronto than Toronto’s spending in Boston.

“And we’re the home team.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.


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