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Leafs beat the Bruins to ensure they play the Stanley Cup champs in 1st round

We should have to watch one fewer preseason game next fall for living through this.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

This is (perhaps) the game that will decide who the Leafs will play on Monday, and yet the lineups look almost like preseason. Let’s just enjoy this for what it is.

First Period

There’s a nearly instant goal while the Leafs are putting in a preseason sort of effort.

1-0 Boston

Mark Giordano gets whacked with a stick, and the Leafs get a four minut power play. It takes about three for a not very clever zone entry to turn into a goal:

Tie Game

This is the third SOG for the Leafs over halfway into the period:

William Nylander creates a similar rush to Engvall’s above, but the result is very different:

2-1 Leafs

Man amongst boys there.

Just want to point out that this is Kyle Clifford putting the moves on the entire Bruins team.

ZZ GOAL

Whooo hooooo.

Great shot/pass from Mo, and Abruzzese has his first NHL goal. Awesome. Loud ovation from the fans, too.

3-1 Leafs

Thoughts

Malcolm Subban is cool:

Second Period

Ugh. I don’t like this sort of thing. Jake DeBrusk goes down and slides back first into the boards. He falls on a shoulder check from Holl that wasn’t really much of a hit.

He skates off under his own power, so hopefully he’s fine.

The Bruins have been trying to play better, but the Leafs just titched up the effort and they’re dominating again.

Nick Foligno goes off for tripping, so it’s power play time! Put Joey Anderson out on the first unit, Keefe, I dare you.

Not the most disorganized power play ever, but it had that Team Canada on the first day look to it.

Liljegren goes down and appears at least a little hurt, so naturally Morgan Rielly picks a fight with Tomas Nosek.

Okay, on the replay, I should have said that Mo rightfully goes to kick his ass. That’s a dirty hit of the most dangerous kind. The play ends up four-on-four, but I’ll accept no criticism of Mo here.

The period ends with Liljegren gingerly skating off.

Thoughts

  • We saw in the last game that Nick Abruzzese has legitimately passed Nick Robertson on the depth chart, at least in the near-term. He’s well past Joey Anderson too.
  • The quiz in the first intermission asked which Leaf is most improved. How could you watch this game and not say Mikheyev?

Third Period

Liljegren back on the bench, and the four-on-four continues.

I’m not calling this action, you understand, because it’s maybe the least interesting hockey I’ve ever watched.

(sorry, I went and read the NHLPA news below, you’ll have to imagine five minutes of boring pretend hockey)

William Nylander scores a goal that looks, honestly, like drunk road hockey.

4-1 Leafs

Gord Miller tells us that was the Leafs first shot in over 15 minutes, and I have to confess that I did not watch all 15 of those minutes.

Ten minutes to go, and this game is effectively over.

Oh sure, now he can score. Nick Foligno with his 500th NHL point. Whatever.

Errrrrp. No goal, offside.

Jake DeBrusk proves he’s okay with a power play goal.

4-2 Leafs

Boston pulled their goalie for reasons only they know. A Källgren goal is the only just result.

Alas, it’s Engvall, who tried to gift Nylander a hat trick, but had to take it himself.

5-2 Leafs

Thoughts

This is the important thing that happened tonight. Reminder that the Executive Board is the 32 player reps.

The Executive Board named the following seven players to the committee: Ian Cole (Carolina Hurricanes), Justin Faulk (St. Louis Blues), Sam Gagner (Detroit Red Wings), Zach Hyman (Edmonton Oilers), Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres), Nate Schmidt (Winnipeg Jets) and Kevin Shattenkirk (Anaheim Ducks). Additional members may be added by the Executive Board up to and during the Executive Board meetings in July.

Don Fehr will continue to lead the NHLPA as Executive Director throughout the search. The Search Committee will provide a progress report to the Executive Board at the summer meetings in Toronto on July 18-20.

I’ll have a playoff series preview up tomorrow sometime. My goal in writing was to piss off as many people as possible, so we’ll see how I do.