The Boston Bruins upended the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at the Air Canada Center on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference quarter-final.
The Leafs were playing their first home playoff game in nine years but the Bruins spoiled the party with a three-goal outburst in the second period.
Tuuka Rask was sensational on the night for Boston, stopping 45 of 47 shots to send the 19,746 frenzied fans home disappointed.
Adam McQuaid gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 13:42 into the first period before they doubled their advantage thanks to Rich Peverley’s first goal of the series in the second session.
Toronto finally gave its fans something to cheer about at the 13:45 mark when Jake Gardiner wristed a shot past Rask but Nathan Horton sucked the air out of the building with a quick answer less than a minute later to make it 3-1.
Daniel Paille scored before the period ended to give Boston a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final stanza.
The Maple Leafs did make a game of it as Phil Kessel scored early in the third but Rask shut the door and David Krejci added an empty net goal to give Boston the 5-2 victory.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle was disappointed with his team’s effort, bemoaning the defensive zone miscues that ended up costing the hosts dearly.
“They made less mistakes than we did and their execution level was way above ours,” he said. “You have to give the opposition credit.
“They came in, they played hard, they forced us to make mistakes and consequently they won the hockey game.”
Gardiner echoed his coach’s remarks, saying the Leafs just made too many gaffes to come out victorious.
“Mistakes just killed us tonight,” he admitted after the game.
The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will continue their bruising playoff series when they lock horns on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Center.