Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One

Leafs ‘need to dictate’ against the Bruins


So, the Maple Leafs’ first playoff game since the spring of 2004 didn’t go like folks in Toronto had hoped.

The Maple Leafs were soundly thumped by a final score of 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

The Leafs, who actually opened the scoring, were outshot 40-20 and couldn’t match the Bruins’ tenacity in all three zones of the rink.

“We were responding too much to what they were doing,” Leafs defenceman Mark Fraser told on Thursday.

“We had a pretty good start but they weathered the storm nicely and then just kind of brought it right back against us. We really need to dictate.

“They had a great forecheck (Wednesday) night and just kind of kept us in our zone.”

Meanwhile, the Bruins, Stanley Cup champions from 2011, are expecting another nasty affair in Game 2.

On Thursday, the National Hockey League suspended Bruins’ defenseman Andrew Ference one game for his elbow to the head of Leafs’ forward Mikhail Grabovski.

That wasn’t the only incident of note.

Bruins’ forward Brad Marchand accused James van Riemsdyk of spearing him “in the privates.”

“He speared me in the privates, so I kinda reacted,” Marchand told “It’s pretty simple.

“It was the end of the game and we were up by a couple of goals, so it seemed like they were trying to send a message. But stuff happens in hockey. It’s a different game in the playoffs. It’s a completely different atmosphere where the game amps up a little bit, and it gets a lot more physical.”

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…