Maple Leafs coach Babcock relying on depth to get past Boston

Rick Nash Sean Kuraly Return To Practice For Bruins

Rick Nash Sean Kuraly Return To Practice For Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau (12) struggles for position against Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) in front of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Boston. Updates with new lead.

Toronto and Boston last met in the playoffs in 2013, a series that saw the Leafs become the first team in National Hockey League history to blow a three-goal lead in the third period of a Game 7 before the Bruins eventually won it in overtime. But don't lose sight of the fact that the Bruins' 5-on-5 play was every bit as encouraging, and possibly an even better omen for the remainder of the series. So when he saw David Pastrnak's shot hit off the post and flutter into the air, it was tough for Kuraly to be patient. The Leafs power play is too lethal not to get on the board at some point, and it's worth noting that it did come close a few times Thursday.

But, as it's been for most of the season, Boston's dominant top line and stellar special-teams play proved to be the different maker - as the Bruins came away with a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sean Kuraly eventually broke through with an eye-popping play to bat the puck out of the air and into the net to make it 4-1.

Babcock favors match-ups; Cassidy said he doesn't plan to go overboard pursuing or avoiding them. "It has nothing to do with baseball".

Game 2 of the series is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at TD Garden. They've got a great coach [in Mike Babcock] that I've always looked up to and tried to learn from. "We could feel sorry for ourselves if we want tonight, but that's a waste of time and energy".

With three days between games for the first time since late February, the Bruins were confident that their bad habits developed in the final weeks of the regular season, such as spotting the opposition early leads, would not bleed into the postseason.

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Kadri took exception to an elbow to Mitch Marner from Wingels and replied by taking a run at the Boston forward after he tumbled to the ice, earning a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct in the process. "Where it goes from here is out of my hands".

Zach Hyman replied for the Leafs, while Frederik Andersen made 35 stops.

Also given the winning streak the Bruins went on after losing the back-to-back with Toronto in mid-November, it's impossible to put any weight into those Maple Leaf victories.

"Obviously, our penalty kill wasn't good enough", Babcock said. Noel Acciari will take Nash's spot in the middle of the third line with Danton Heinen and David Backes.

Boston stormed out of the gate in the first inside a raucous TD Garden, and grabbed the lead on the power play at 5:28 when Krug fed a pass between the skates of Leafs defenceman Roman Polak off the rush to Marchand, who beat Andersen on a move to the backhand.

The play is controversial earlier in its development where the Boston Bruins may have been offside on two fronts.

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