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Leafs Drop Game One To Bruins, 4-1

The Leafs lost their first playoff game of the season, and it wasn't pretty.

In three days, Reimer will rise again.
In three days, Reimer will rise again.
Jared Wickerham

The Story

Things looked up when James Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring from his new home right in front of the net, but then it was all Bruins. Wade Redden, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, and Jonny Boychuk would all light the lamp.

The Game in Six

The worst thing about this game was the defense. Not only because of sloppy coverage in their own zone, but the fact that they did an impressive job of neutering offense before it got started. There was no breakout unless a forward had the puck. Mike Kostka may have played the worst game of his life, as he was on ice for all four goals against, and was significantly responsible for at least two of them. He and Fraser looked atrocious, especially together on the Krejci goal, and I hope they only became the Leafs' first and third highest icetime skaters somewhere after the fourth goal against.

The forwards didn't do a great job past the first. JVR had a shot off the crossbar, then immediately decided to take the body instead of the puck for reasons I couldn't understand (he didn't see the puck, I guess?). But after that, the Leafs really struggled to generate shots from any line. That said, any "Kessel doesn't score" article should mention the Selke nominee, the Norris winner-and-nominee and this season's third best save percentage above 15 starts. Seriously, check the head-to-head: Kessel spent a combined Anything else would be lazy, if not dishonest. By the fourth goal, Carlyle had starting giving Phil Kessel reduced shifts - he played only 14 minutes on the night - and it's clear that the Leafs' first line had no answer for Bergeron's line. The scoring will have to come from the depth, and the depth will need to be better than "Orr and Fraser for 9 minutes."

I thought James Reimer played well - certainly as well as we can expect him to. I don't think enough people are giving Boychuk credit for that shot on the fourth goal against, though I'm sure it's one Reimer wants back, and every other goal had a pretty nasty defensive breakdown or Leaf-led screen attached to it.

So to summarize, the defense struggled to clear the zone, Tyler Bozak's line failed maintain the puck despite his 57% faceoff percentage, Colton Orr, Frazer McLaren, Mike Kostka, and Mark Fraser played while Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin sat. It's like a "best of" for things we've been complaining about since day one of this season.

Oh, and if you didn't check out this uncalled high elbow on Grabovski, you should. The Bruins also managed to generate a stoppage of play by blowing the goal horn after Seguin hit the post, which neutered the Leafs' counter attack and somehow led to a defensive zone faceoff. Who knows. I hope we get better refereeing going forwards than we saw last night.

We all wondered how we'd do with the Leafs in the playoffs, and the answer seems to be pure, unadulterated anguish. In reality, it wasn't even the worse loss on the night, let alone over any meaningful period of time. Game two is on Saturday, and the Leafs will have a chance to make some roster changes, some strategy changes, and maybe come away with a better game - dare I say, even a win. Go leafs go.

Shit Chart - Head to Head - Zone Starts - Corsi/Fenwick