Leafs limp home after two muggings
The Toronto Maple Leafs had designs on a long playoff run when they boarded Wednesday’s flight to Boston, confident of their chances ahead of a firstround National Hockey League series with the Bruins after a record-breaking regular season.
Now they’re simply looking for a way — any way, really — to slow down a juggernaut that’s bashed them around in two crushing defeats to open their best-ofseven Eastern Conference quarter-final.
Losses of 5-1 and 7-3 at Boston’s Toronto-Dominion Garden have the Leafs in an 0-2 hole as they prepare to host what amounts to a must-win Game 3 at Air Canada Centre on Monday.
Toronto isn’t done yet, but a lot has to change in 48 hours following an embarrassing beat down in Beantown.
“We were outplayed for two games,” Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey said after Saturday’s blowout. “If you add it up, it’s 12-4 over six periods. We deserve every bit of criticism far and wide. Good news is, story’s not totally written yet.
“We can try and change the story.”
A place to start would be getting in the way of Boston’s top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, which has combined for a stunning 20 points in 120 minutes of action.
Heading into Sunday, Pastrnak led the playoffs in scoring with nine points, including three goals and three assists in Game 2, followed by Marchand’s six points and Bergeron’s five.
The trio has dominated at both ends of the ice with speed, skill and relentless puck pursuit.
In addition to stellar play in the offensive zone they’ve also shut down the Leafs’ No. 1 line led by Auston Matthews, which has been held off the scoresheet.
Toronto will likely try to get Matthews away from Boston’s top unit.
Hats litter the ice after David Pastrnak’s third goal Saturday. The Bruins sniper added three assists in a 7-3 whipping of the Leafs in Boston.