3 Bruins Takeaways From 2-1 Loss to the Maple Leafs

All good things eventually come to an end and the Boston Bruins found that out against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night (Nov. 5). Boston saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end with a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena in the final game of their four-game early season road trip.

The Bruins had their moments in the game, but Toronto was the better team more than the Black and Gold were, which turned out to be the difference. Here are three Bruins takeaways from their second loss of the season, their first since Oct. 18 against the Ottawa Senators, which dropped them to 10-2-0.

Auston Matthews Was the Difference

Last season, Toronto superstar Auston Matthews scored 60 goals on his way to winning the Maurice Rocket Richard Award and the Hart Trophy. This season in his first 11 games, he had just four goals, but as a goal scorer as prolific as Matthews, it was only a matter of time before the first overall pick in the 2016 Entry Draft found his groove.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the first period, he won a battle behind the net and was able to beat Linus Ullmark from the side of the net for a 1-0 lead. In the second period, he scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal when he finished off a pass from William Nylander. Early on Toronto’s first power play, Nylander entered the Bruins’ zone with speed, cut behind the net, and slide a pass to Matthews who redirected the puck into the net.

Matthews has eight career goals against the Black and Gold and was the difference Saturday night.

Bruins Not Able to Capitalize on Third-Period Power Plays

Yes, Brad Marchand scored the only Boston goal on a penalty shot while they were on a power play in the second period, but when they needed a goal in the third period on back-to-back opportunities, they came up empty. Trailing 2-1, John Tavares was called for interference and Rasmus Sandin was called for boarding three minutes later, but the Bruins could not capitalize.

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On the first power play, the Bruins struggled with zone entries and were not able to set up as quickly as they would have liked. The second power play had more zone time, but sometimes you have to give credit to where credit is due. Toronto in each of their penalty kills had their sticks in the passing lanes, took away David Pastrnak for the most part, and did not allow too many high-danger chances. Pastrnak did hit the post in the third period on the man advantage, but it was his only chance.

The Bruins were also not able to take advantage of a Maple Leafs’ goaltending switch to begin the final period. Starter Ilya Samsonov left after 40 minutes with a knee injury and Erik Kallgren finished out the game. Boston finished with 21 shots on the net in the game, seven in each period, but did not test Kallgren during the power plays or with many high-danger chances. A lot of that had to do with the Toronto penalty killers playing well.

Ullmark Kept the Bruins in the Game

Ullmark had his perfect start to the season ended with his first loss of the season, but it was hardly his fault. He stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced, including 15 in the second period to give his team an opportunity to tie the game in the third period.

Linus Ullmark Boston Bruins
Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Ullmark was sharp early in the game and stopped Toronto’s Denis Malgin with a pad save in the first period as he broke down the left side on him. In the second period, he stood on his head as the Bruins had trouble getting the puck out of their end which led to too many opportunities for the Maple Leafs. Ullmark once again tracked the puck well, challenged shooters with confidence, and made some reactionary saves, and limited rebounds. He drops to 8-1-0 with a 2.16 goals against average (GAA) and a .929 save percentage (SV%) this season in 10 games. His workload is only going to increase after Boston put Jeremy Swayman on injured reserve before the game.

When the Bruins hit the road for their four-game road trip on Oct. 28 after winning four straight at home, this trip was seen as their first true test of the 2022-23 season. Winning three of the four games, including wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 1 in overtime and a win over the New York Rangers on Nov. 3 that saw the Bruins score four third-period goals is about as successful of a trip as they could have had early in the season. They now return home to play five of their next six games at the TD Garden still on top in the Atlantic Division.

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