LOS ANGELES: Mitch Marner scored on a penalty shot in the second period as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the mistake-prone Boston Bruins 4-1 in the opening game of their NHL playoff series on Thursday.

Marner, who finished with two goals, helped get the visiting Leafs playoff run off to a roaring start in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

“We know we got a quick team,” said Marner. “We got pucks in their zone and made it hard on them. 

“We tried to keep our game plan simple.

“We backchecked well made it hard for them to get to our net.

“They got a lot of firepower so we have to do it all game.”

William Nylander and John Tavares also scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost in the first playoff round to Boston last season. 

Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal for the Bruins, who couldn’t get much offence from their top line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Boston finished with the second-best record overall in the East but limped into the postseason by going 3-4 in their final seven games of the regular season.

On Thursday they played
sloppy defence, especially on offence in the Toronto zone by turning the puck over several times which led to a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes for the Leafs.

The Bruins took only 36 seconds to capitalize on the first power play of the game when Bergeron scored at 9:31 of the opening period but it was downhill from there.

Captain Zdeno Chara took his team’s first penalty and allowed a puck to bounce off him for Marner’s first goal.

Marner scored his second goal on a penalty shot at 2:47 of the second when he deked Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Boston’s Jake DeBrusk mishandled the puck at the Toronto blueline and Marner stole it for the breakaway. 

But DeBrusk chased him down and tripped Marner at the last second which sent the Toronto forward crashing into the Boston goal and resulted in the penalty shot.

Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made 37 saves, while Rask stopped 29 shots for Boston.-AFP