(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

The Boston Bruins are one win away from delivering the knockout punch. James van Riemsdyk netted his first goal since February, and Brad Marchand continued his playoff dominance as the Bruins skated past the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1 on Saturday night.

Marchand posted a goal and a helper for his seventh and eighth points of the series, leading the B’s past the Leafs and one win away from advancing to the second round. David Pastrnak also lit the lamp, and Jeremy Swayman made his second consecutive start in the Boston crease while making 25 saves.

It was special teams galore in the first period. Both teams were whistled for five penalties, resulting in a power play for Boston and two for Toronto. The Bruins were called for another too many men on the ice penalty—their third this postseason—which has been a concerning trend in their opening-round series.

Van Riemsdyk broke open the game as soon as five-on-five play resumed, capitalizing on a Toronto miscue to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Ryan Reaves coughed up a puck along the right boards, which floated out to the stick of van Riemsdyk for the veteran’s first goal since February 17. Mason Lohrei created the giveaway, pinching toward Reaves to set up his first career playoff point.

Boston cashed in on yet another Maple Leafs mistake in the middle frame. This time, it was an undisciplined penalty instead of a costly turnover. Max Domi cross-checked Pastrnak on the numbers to put Boston on the man advantage, and the B’s made him pay.

Charlie McAvoy fed Marchand for a one-timer near the bottom of the right faceoff dot, blasting a rocket past Ilya Samsonov to take a 2-0 lead. Boston’s captain has exploded this playoff series, scoring three goals and seven points to torch the Leafs thus far through four games. His second-period bomb also etched his name in Bruins history, passing Cam Neely for most postseason goals in franchise history with 56.

But Marchand didn’t stop there. With under a minute remaining in the second period, Marchand scooped up a pass from Pavel Zacha to eye TJ Brodie on a two-on-one with Pastrnak. He poked the puck over Brodie’s stick, kicking it off his skate to his tape before sliding it to a crashing Pastrnak for the highlight-reel score. The surging Marchand handed the Toronto faithful a devastating blow in what would be the dagger on Saturday.

But the Maple Leafs didn’t exactly fold, scoring 5:42 into the third period with Auston Matthews sidelined to cut into Boston’s lead. Mitch Marner scored his first of the playoffs, pulling a loose puck between his legs before waiting out Swayman on his backhand and tucking it past the goal line to give the hosts some life with their backs against the wall.

Toronto made a strong offensive push following the Marner goal but was once again met with another untimely penalty to halt their momentum in its tracks. Although the Bruins didn’t light the lamp on William Nylander’s offensive zone holding penalty, it allowed Boston to regroup after a sloppy start to the period.

The Maple Leafs pulled Joseph Woll—their third-period netminder—late in the period, but their six-on-five effort fell short. The Bruins can end the series on Tuesday night in Boston in a win-and-advance Game 5 on home ice.

(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)