Despite one truly beautiful goal from Toronto’s Zach Hyman, the Bruins easily dispatched the Maple Leafs at home in the first game of their opening-round series tonight, winning 5-1. Boston looked good doing it, too—they closed the night with four straight goals, including this third-period highlight tap-in from Sean Kuraly.
But none of the goals will be the key play on everyone’s mind come Game 2. That dubious honor instead belongs to the Leafs’ Nazem Kadri, who, with his team down 4-1, smashed Tommy Wingels’s head into the boards while ostensibly trying to defend his teammate.
Besides putting Wingels into the locker room, that indefensible hit got Kadri kicked out of the game, and it could very well result in further discipline. NHL suspensions are tricky to predict, but Kadri’s hit seems worse than yesterday’s Drew Doughty check that got the LA Kings defender suspended for his Game 2, so it might be a few days before the Leafs center sees the ice again.
One thing we can say for sure, however, is that there’s no way this series calms down from here. Toronto and Boston have history, and it was only a matter of time before the bad blood resurfaced. There are several important holdovers on each team from the 2013 first-round series that ended with a Game 7 Maple Leaf collapse. And even before the game got ugly, guys like Brad Marchand were sinking to bizarre depths to try to mess with their opponent.
There’s no way Boston doesn’t go for revenge on Kadri, whenever he returns to action. And this series is only going to get nastier from there.