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Bruins rookie’s impressive Game 1 performance earns plenty of praise from Jim Montgomery

The Bruins got a big performance from John Beecher.

The Boston Bruins are hoping to make up for last season’s embarrassing failure in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 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 got a big performance from rookie forward John Beecher.

Beecher’s game does not stand out from the statistics. Still, he certainly made an impression. 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 buzzed around 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 this is the best game Johnny Beecher has ever played as a pro,” he said, via Bruins reporter Ty Anderson.

Bruins take Game 1 over Maple Leafs

Boston Bruins center John Beecher (19) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Capital One Arena.
Hannah Foslien-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1 was close at the start, and remained so throughout the first period. John Beecher scored the only goal in the opening stages. The Bruins took over in the second period. Defender Brandon Carlo started scoring in the middle frame. Forward Jake DeBrusk added to the effort with two goals of his own.

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

This win gives the Bruins a 1-0 lead over their Atlantic Division rival. Losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is certainly an unfortunate event. But if history is any indication, Toronto could certainly struggle to make a comeback in the remainder of the series.

Boston and Toronto have Stanley Cup Playoff history

The Bruins and Maple Leafs are certainly no strangers to each other. Both teams are Original Six franchises and are among the most storied teams in the NHL. However, their Stanley Cup Playoff history in recent years is heavily in Boston’s favor, and it’s not close.

Maple Leafs fans certainly remember the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto had a three-goal lead with about 10 minutes left in the third period of Game 7. However, they lost the lead completely. 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 matchups went all the way to Game 7. In both cases, the Maple Leafs were unable to get the best out of the Bruins. . Boston won both Game 7s and even went to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

This time, things are certainly different. For example, John Beecher was drafted in 2019 and didn’t make his debut until this season. He never had the chance to play with players like Bergeron, Zdeno Chara or David Krejci. Still, the changes at both franchises have raised the stakes of this year’s matchup.

The Maple Leafs ended almost twenty years of misery last year with their victory in the first round. They want to prove that that series victory was no fluke. Meanwhile, the Bruins lost in embarrassing fashion to the Florida Panthers in the first round of 2023. They are looking to move past that with a deep playoff run this year.

For now, the Bruins have the edge over their Canadian rivals. However, that could change during the course of this series. And it will certainly be interesting to see if the Maple Leafs can stage a comeback and ultimately beat Boston in the postseason.