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.”

Update: Evgeni Malkin is still a bad man

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Sometimes an angry Evgeni Malkin means a stray power play or two for his opponents, but it’s usually not the best idea to make him angry.

Giving a player that big and talented extra motivation just seems like a bad idea, right?

Joel Ward experienced that phenomenon on Tuesday, as Malkin responded to a blow from Ward with the goal you can see above.

This continues a red-hot streak for Malkin. Tonight’s goal and assist (and counting?) stretches his scoring streak to four games, each with at least one goal.

Malkin came into Tuesday with 10 points in his last six games as well, so … yeah, no. 71 is feeling it right now.

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

NBCSN screen

You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Update: Did Hamilton picture all the negative headlines and harness that energy for a greater good? He scored the game-tying goal as Calgary upset Dallas 4-3 via a shootout.