Bruins rookie’s impressive Game 1 performance draws high Jim Montgomery praise

The Boston Bruins are hoping to make up for last season’s embarrassing failure in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Saturday night, they did that and then some. Boston defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 in front of their home fans in Game 1 of the first round. And they received a big-time performance from rookie forward John Beecher.

Johnny Beecher Using Recent Scratch as 'Learning Curve' - Boston Bruins  News, Analysis and More

Beecher’s play doesn’t jump off the stat sheet. However, he certainly made an impact. The Bruins rookie scored the first goal of the game in the first period. He also contributed a blocked shot, two hits, and two takeaways. Overall, he was buzzing all over the ice and made life difficult for Toronto.

His performance in Game 1 did not go unnoticed. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery had high praise for his rookie forward after beating the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. “I think that’s the best game Johnny Beecher’s ever played as a pro,” he said, via Bruins reporter Ty Anderson.

Bruins take Game 1 over Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs lose Game 1 to Bruins, and it wasn't even close

Game 1 was close at the start, and remained so through the first period. John Beecher scored the lone goal in the opening frame. In the second period, the Bruins took over. Defenseman Brandon Carlo began the scoring in the middle frame. Forward Jake DeBrusk added to the effort with two goals of his own.

The Maple Leafs had some fight left in them, though. David Kampf scored early in the third period to give Toronto fans some hope for a comeback. Unfortunately, that wasn’t on the cards. While Toronto kept Boston at bay for most of the third, Trent Frederic scored an empty net goal to put the nail in the coffin.

This win gives the Bruins a 1-0 series lead over their Atlantic Division rival. Losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is certainly an unfortunate occurrence. But if history is any indication, Toronto certainly may have trouble mounting a comeback in the rest of the series.

Boston, Toronto have Stanley Cup Playoffs history

Bruins tackle Maple Leafs to put season sweep of rival in sight | Reuters

The Bruins and Maple Leafs are certainly no strangers to each other. Both teams are Original Six franchises and are some of the most storied teams in the NHL. However, their Stanley Cup Playoffs history in recent years heavily favors Boston, and it isn’t close.

Maple Leafs fans certainly remember the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto had a three-goal lead with around 10 minutes remaining in the third period of Game 7. However, they lost the lead entirely. Boston tied the game and forced overtime, where Patrice Bergeron ended the series.

More recently, the two Original Six franchises met in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2018 and 2019. Both of those matchups went all the way to Game 7. In both cases, the Maple Leafs could not get the best of the Bruins. Boston won both Game 7s and even went to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

Things are certainly different this time around. For instance, John Beecher was drafted in 2019 and didn’t debut until this season. He never had the chance to play with the likes of Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, or David Krejci. Still, the changes with both franchises have added to the stakes in this year’s matchup.

The Maple Leafs got rid of nearly 20 years of misery with their first-round victory last year. They want to prove that that series win was no fluke. Meanwhile, the Bruins lost in embarrassing fashion to the Florida Panthers in the first round in 2023. They want to move past that with a deep playoff run this year.

For now, the Bruins have a leg up on their Canadian rivals. However, that can still change over the course of this series. And it’ll certainly be interesting to see if the Maple Leafs can mount a comeback and finally overcome Boston in the postseason.

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