BOSTON (AP) — Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri temporarily went to the locker room after a knee-on-knee hit from Jake DeBrusk in the second period.
When Kadri retaliated late in the third, he was done for good.
Kadri drew a game misconduct for cross-checking DeBrusk in the face , leading to Boston’s final goal, and Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots to help the Bruins beat Toronto 4-1 on Saturday night and tie the first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
“Obviously, he got frustrated,” Bruins forward Chris Wagner said when asked if he thought the hit merited a suspension. “The league can take a look at that and they can decide.”
Two nights after Toronto beat Boston 4-1 in the opener to steal away home-ice advantage, the Bruins took a 3-0 lead with a 29-16 edge in shots on goal into the third period. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen all scored for the Bruins.
But the main event was DeBrusk and Kadri, who mixed it up all night before Kadri took a shot at him with about six minutes left in the game, drawing a game misconduct. Bergeron scored a minute later to make it 4-1 and clinch it.
Kadri, who was suspended for three games in last year’s first-round series, could be facing some missed time this year, too.
“It ain’t easy, but at the same time we know that going in. You have to keep your composure,” Leafs forward John Tavares said. “Not everything’s going to go your way. Things aren’t going to be called that you think should be called, and we just have to stay with it.”
Kadri scored the Leafs’ only goal midway through the third, and Frederik Andersen made 37 saves for Toronto, which returns home for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday nights. Kadri was not made available to reporters after the game.
“Things were getting pretty amped up there toward the end of the game. A lot of emotions. That’s what playoff hockey is all about,” Marchand said. “That’s what we all look forward to, but at the same time you have to control your emotions. It’s not always the easiest thing.”
Severely outplayed in Game 1, the Bruins responded from the start, calling upon speed and toughness they failed to show in the opener.
Coyle made it 1-0 less than five minutes in on a feed from behind the net from David Backes, who had been a healthy scratch in Game 1.
With four minutes to play in the period, Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin failed to glove a lofted puck at center ice, and David Pastrnak retrieved it. He spun around and fed it to Marchand, who put it between Andersen’s legs to make it 2-0.
Another turnover led to Boston’s third goal midway through the second. After some bad passing in the Toronto zone, William Nylander wound up with the puck next to the net. He lost control of it and Heinen just poked it past Anderson’s skate to make it 3-0.
Kadri deflected a shot from Travis Dermott past Rask to deprive him of the shutout.
Kadri had an eventful few minutes near the end of the second period.
He was sent off for hooking, and he came back on the ice just in time to sneak up on David Krejci from behind and poke the puck away before Kadri was knocked to the ice by a knee-on-knee hit from DeBrusk.
Kadri went to the locker room favoring his left knee.
No penalty was called.
Muzzin also knocked Bruins defenseman Torey Krug out of the game with a hit against the boards.
“The referees let a lot of stuff go, obviously,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “But in the end you can’t let that get in the way of doing what you’re doing.”
GRONK IS A NATIONAL TREASURE
Rob Gronkowski got a huge cheer when he vigorously waved a Bruins flag before the opening faceoff. The retired New England Patriots tight end served as a fan banner captain along with Massachusetts Special Olympian Matt Millett.
The series shifts to Toronto for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday night. Game 5 is back in Boston on Friday night.
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