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Toronto Maple Leafs lose 3-1 to Boston Bruins in Game 4

Brad Marchand became the Bruins’ all-time leading playoff goal-scorer and added an assist as Boston suffocated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the teams’ first-round playoff series.

James van Riemsdyk and David Pastrnak had the other goals for Boston, which can close out the best-of-seven series at home on Tuesday in Game 5. Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves.

Mitch Marner replied for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov stopped 14-of-17 shots in 40 minutes of action. Joseph Woll played the third and finished with five saves. Leafs star Auston Matthews, who missed practice Friday, played two periods, but didn’t come out for the third.

Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Toronto on Thursday.

Leafs winger William Nylander made his 2024 playoff debut after missing the first three games with an undisclosed injury.

Swayman, who also played Games 1 and 3, got the start over Linus Ullmark as the Bruins strayed from their crease rotation that had seen the goaltenders rotate starts since February.

Two men face each other on a hockey rink, raising their hands and cheering.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, left, and goaltender Linus Ullmark celebrate after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Before the puck dropped, the Leafs paid tribute to late play-by-play man Bob Cole — the famed broadcaster was the voice of hockey for generations of Canadian fans — with a video montage of some of his memorable calls. Cole died Wednesday at age 90.

Toronto, which won a post-season series for the first time since 2004 last spring, was unable to connect on two first-period power plays — dropping to 1-for-13 in the series — with the crowd buzzing before the visitors pushed ahead.

Leafs tough guy Ryan Reaves had the puck in the defensive zone, but had it knocked off his stick by Bruins rookie defenceman Mason Lohrei. Van Riemsdyk, who played in Toronto from 2013 though 2018, jumped on the miscue and outwaited Samsonov to score his first goal of the series at 15:09.

WATCH | Hockey world honours long-time announcer Bob Cole:

Legendary NHL play-by-play announcer Bob Cole dead at 90

2 days ago

Duration 2:38

Bob Cole, one of Canada’s most recognizable sportscasters who hosted Hockey Night in Canada for five decades, has passed away at age 90.

Toronto winger Max Domi took a cross-checking penalty seven minutes into the second, and Boston’s red-hot power play took advantage when Marchand one-timed his second of the playoffs — and the 56th of his post-season career — at 8:20, surpassing Cam Neely for the top spot in franchise history.

The goal was also Marchand’s 12th playoff goal at Air Canada Centre/Scotiabank Arena, to tie Bryan Trottier for the most by a visiting player at an opposing arena in NHL history. Trottier scored 12 times in the post-season at Washington’s Capital Centre.

Frustration started to creep onto the Leafs bench as the period progressed, with Matthews and Mitch Marner getting into an animated discussion. William Nylander was caught on camera muttering to himself before Marner slammed his gloves.

The Bruins — who topped Toronto in seven games in the opening round of the 2013, 2018 and 2019 playoffs — put things to bed with 41.6 seconds left in the period on another series of Leafs miscues that led to a 2-on-0 where Marchand fed Pastrnak for his second.

Fans were encouraged to make noise after some criticism about the atmosphere in Game 3, but channelled that energy into a loud chorus of boos as the clock ticked down to the intermission.

Two men in blue hockey jerseys sit on a bench. The man on the left has a stressful look on his face, while the other man bows his head with his hand over his hair.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Max Domi, left, and John Tavares react on the bench during third period action against the Boston Bruins. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The Leafs made the goaltending change and were without Matthews when Toronto defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin rattled Swayman’s crossbar three minutes into the third.

Marner finally got the home side on the board when he slid his first of the playoffs past Swayman at 5:42.

The Bruins goaltender then denied Joel Edmundson on two successive chances with the Leafs pressing.

Toronto got another power play with less than six minutes to go in regulation, but barely gained control in the offensive zone to fall to 1-for-15 in the series.

The boos returned in the final minute to send the Leafs — who now need three straight victories against a team that has won 10 of the last 11 head-to-heads — to keep their season alive.

LISTEN | Familiar voice hits the ice for Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff run:

Metro Morning4:59The pressure on the ice for the Leafs anthem singer Natalie Morris

<p>Natalie Morris is the anthem singer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.</p>

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