In the last six years, the Leafs have faced the Bruins three times in the first round of the playoffs, building a rivalry that has dominated Leafs Nation in recent years and put tensions with the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators on the back burner.
Toronto's third-line centre was suspended for the remainder of the first round by the NHL's department of player safety Monday evening for delivering a unsafe cross-check to the head of Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk. Last year, the Maple Leafs also saw their 4-1 lead in Game 7 crumble, leading to their elimination.
Andreas Johnsson, also with a goal and an assist, and Trevor Moore provided the rest of the offence for Toronto.
Kadri was also suspended during the 2018 Leaf-Bruins series for a high, retaliatory hit, on Tommy Wingels, for which he was banned three games.
Going into the postseason, I published a story about how the NHL Playoffs offer terrific opportunity for bettors who hunt for value, rather than just picking the team they think will win. Frederik Andersen played another incredible game, but his efforts were wasted by another poor effort from his team.
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Tuukka Rask was nearly as sharp for the Bruins down at the other end of the ice. That helped the Leafs keep their equilibrium, but the Bruins were defensively sound, getting in front of a lot of Leafs shots in the early going. Mitch Marner leads the team in goals with two lamplighters. The Leafs centre stayed down, skated off on his own and returned for the third.
Referees Chris Rooney and Kyle Rehman did not come out whistling down even the slightest infraction, which often happens in the wake of rough games.
What is more useful for the purposes of this investigation is the numbers that a very similar Leafs team posted last year against a very similar Bruins team, and this year has seen a world of improvement over those statistics. It's pretty clear at this point that playing in a third-line role behind John Tavares and Auston Matthews was a transition that was hard for him to make.
"To be honest with you, when you come in here, initially you're hoping you probably get a split", Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.
Not only does Kadri have an extensive track record of incidents that have risen to the level of supplemental discipline, resulting in several suspensions, but this is the second year in a row he has taken himself out of a playoff series for an extended period of time due to his own recklessness and selfishness. In the first period, the two mixed it up and received offsetting minors. Moore scored his first National Hockey League playoff goal at 2:38 when he slapped in a Morgan Rielly rebound at the net. And it's pretty clear that without their top line clicking, the Bruins are fighting an uphill battle against the Leafs. In the end, you can't let that get in the way of what you're doing. Johnsson made a lovely setup pass to Matthews at the left faceoff dot and he ripped his famous one-timer past Rask for his first goal of the series. Through much of the regular season, that wasn't much. Patrice Bergeron would get his second of the night just a minute into the ensuing power play to give the Bruins the win.
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