Bruins overpower Maple Leafs in potential playoff preview

Pavel Zacha had two goals, and star winger David Pastrňák dished out three assists as the Boston Bruins overpowered the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-1 win at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night.

The Bruins started the game strong by getting out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Morgan Geekie and Zacha. Winger Jake DeBrusk made it 3-0 with his second-period goal, silencing a Scotiabank Arena crowd in what could be a potential first-round playoff matchup for the Atlantic Division rivals.

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares answered for Toronto in the third period, his 19th goal of the season, giving his team and the fans some life. It was temporary, as Zacha would capitalize and score his second of the game less than 10 minutes later.

Leafs goalie Joseph Woll stopped 26 of 30 shots in his second start since returning to action from an ankle injury. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman was solid, turning away 32 of 33 shots.

Morgan Rielly and new addition Ilya Lyubushkin assisted on Tavares’ goal. Rielly registered his 459th career point and surpassed Tim Horton for the third-most points by a defenceman in Maple Leafs history. He now trails Tomáš Kaberle (520 points) and Börje Salming (768 points) on Toronto’s all-time scoring list for defencemen.

The Bruins are eight points ahead of the Maple Leafs for second in the division and improved to 3-0 against Toronto this season, with both other wins coming in overtime and via the shootout. The Leafs have not beaten the Bruins since Nov. 5, 2022.

The Florida Panthers, first in the division, beat the New York Rangers on Monday and are 10 points ahead of the Leafs.

Losses within their division continue to plague Toronto, who is now 6-8-2 against teams in the Atlantic. In comparison, the Panthers entered Monday with a 12-1-3 record against divisional rivals, with the Bruins improving to 13-3-3.

The Maple Leafs will look to rebound against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night before travelling to Boston for a rematch with the Bruins on Thursday.

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