BOSTON -- Nine years out of the NHL playoffs and the Toronto Maple Leafs looked rusty. And sloppy. And, by the end, befuddled.
David Krejci had a goal and two assists as the Boston Bruins spoiled Toronto's long-awaited return to the post-season, scoring four unanswered goals to defeat the sloppy Maple Leafs 4-1 on Wednesday night.
The Bruins went behind early but clawed their way back into the game before a capacity crowd of 17,565 in yellow-and-black at TD Garden -- Boston's 154th straight sellout. The experienced Bruins turned the screws on the error-prone Leafs as the game wore on.
"I just thought we self-destructed ... We know that this is going to take more than an ordinary effort and tonight our effort wasn't anywhere near close enough to put us in a competitive position," said Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle.
Fans may have partied early in Toronto but last call was reserved for Bruins fans on this night.
Wade Redden, Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk also scored for Boston on a night where video review ratified one Bruins goal and disallowed two more.
Krejci, meanwhile, registered his 13th career multi-point playoff game in his 60th appearance in the post-season.
James Van Riemsdyk scored for Toronto, whose big guns were silent.
Boston outshot Toronto 40-20, including 14-6 in the third period.
"We left Reims (goalie James Reimer) out to dry for most of the game," said Leafs centre Nazem Kadri, who also lamented a string of undisciplined turnovers.
"We are just killing ourselves when we do those type of things," he said. "No one expects to win when you're playing shinny hockey out there."
"I've never seen so many people fall down with nobody around them," added Carlyle.
Game 2 goes Saturday and Carlyle promised changes in his lineup.
"There are some thing we did that were totally, totally unacceptable from our standpoint and from a coaching standpoint and we have to correct it," he said. "And now we have two days of practice and we're going to practise to get better."
Carlyle said the good news was that his players can perform better.
"And they know they can," he added. "We have to take that responsibility in the next couple of days to get ourselves ready."
The game pitted the fourth-seeded Bruins (28-14-6, 62 points) against the fifth-seeded Leafs (28-17-5, 57 points)
Their records this season may have been similar but the two teams have come from different hockey neighbourhoods.
It was Toronto's first appearance in the post-season since 2004 when the Leafs were beaten in six games by the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2011, were eliminated in the first round by the Washington Capitals last season.
"I hope MapleLeafs fans enjoy their 1st playoff game in HD this evening," tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Not so much.
"We've been better as a group," Toronto defenceman Cody Franson said by way of understatement. "We kind of made our own fate tonight. We got away from our system and it showed."
Going into the game, 15 players on Toronto's current 25-man roster had never seen playoff action. Boston entered the series with 1,273 games of playoff experience on its roster, compared to just 206 for the Leafs.
-- The Associated Press