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Jake DeBrusk torments Leafs again, gets Bruins power play going in Game 1 – NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON – For years, it was Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci who tormented the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans during the playoffs. Now it’s Jake DeBrusk who fills that role for the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins right wing entered Game 1 at TD Garden on Saturday night with nine points (six goals, three assists) in 14 playoff games against the Leafs. He added to that with a fantastic performance in the series opener.

DeBrusk scored twice – both on the power play in the second period – as the Bruins posted a dominant 5-1 win to start the first round. DeBrusk’s eight playoff goals against Toronto since 2018 are the most by any Bruins player in that span.

The 27-year-old right wing extended the Bruins’ lead to 3-0 at 15:02 of the second period when he fired a shot that went past traffic and behind Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov.

“Jake was really good,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said after the game. “That third goal, that shot, that’s a goal scorer’s goal.”

DeBrusk put Boston up 4-0 just 124 seconds later with another power play count. He achieved an excellent position in front of the net and took a nice move from Brad Marchand.

DeBrusk has been very inconsistent this season. He has gone through periods where the offensive production has been really good. He also went through many periods where he scored very little. He ended the regular season with only one goal in his last eleven games.

But the playoffs are a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over.

“I was excited to get this (playoff run) going,” DeBrusk said after the game. “It felt a bit like we were at training camp with the number of practice days. I didn’t like my season. It was quite disappointing for myself. But at this time of year we have an opportunity to go for the ultimate. purpose, and that’s all that really matters.

“It’s one of those things where tonight went well, it was exactly what I wanted to do in that sense. If we’ve played against these guys before, we know it’s going to be a long run. We’ve got to keep that going… .It’s just a matter of playing the right way.”

DeBrusk’s emergence in Game 1 was a huge positive for Boston’s struggling power play.

This unit shot just 10.5 percent over the final two weeks of the regular season, ranking 30th out of 32 teams during that span. The Bruins have made some power play personnel changes over the past week, such as putting Kevin Shattenkirk at point on the first unit with Pat Maroon in front of the net. DeBrusk has mostly been on the second unit lately with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy. These adjustments worked wonders in Game 1, as the B’s had nine shots, six scoring opportunities and two goals with the man advantage.

“I feel like it’s fresh and the players are moving and I like the way we’re growing together,” Montgomery said of his team’s power play. “The pace of the power play looks fast, and when the power play looks fast, the penalty kill has to make split-second decisions. Even on the first few power plays where we didn’t score, I thought there was traffic and convergence at the net that created opportunities to score.”

The power play has now scored five times in five games against the Leafs this season, including Saturday’s win. It’s going to be a real weapon for the Bruins in this matchup, one that the Leafs’ struggling penalty kill needs to figure out as soon as possible or this series could quickly get away from them.

This is an important playoff run for DeBrusk. He remains unsigned after this season and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time this summer. Despite making 80 career appearances in the regular season, he failed to reach the 20-goal mark for the third year in a row, finishing with 19.

A strong performance in the postseason could greatly improve DeBrusk’s value in the offseason. He’s off to a pretty good start.

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