Kevin Bieksa, Jake Allen and Biznasty blast the Leafs after game 1

Samer Dagher
April 21, 2024  (4:42 PM)

New Jersey Devils goaltender Jake Allen on the Sportsnet panel
Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered a humiliating defeat in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins, with poor performances across the lineup resulting in a 5-1 loss. Broadcasters Paul Bissonnette, Kevin Bieksa, and Jake Allen didn't hold back in their analysis of the game.

Bissonnette, known as "Biznasty," criticized Maple Leafs forward Pontus Holmberg and defenseman Simon Benoit for their defensive lapses. He highlighted Holmberg's failure to close down his opponent and Benoit's inability to block a crucial shot, which led to a perfect screen in front of the net and a Bruins goal.
"Just horrible defending here on the strong side," said Bissonnette of Holmberg. "Holmberg gives him way too much time and space, you're supposed to direct him down low."

"Don't let that shot end up going far side if you're the defender," said Bissonnette of Benoit's mistake on the play. "Block that shot from the far side perspective and give your goalie the strong side of the net. And what happens? A perfect screen by not only Benoit but by Morgan Geekie in front of the net and it's 3-0."

Meanwhile, Bieksa and Allen, co-hosting a panel, discussed the lack of communication between the Maple Leafs' defense and goaltending. They emphasized the importance of defending the far side of the net and suggested that better positioning and awareness could have prevented Bruins' scoring opportunities.
"We don't like this as a defenseman goalie relationship," began Bieksa while acknowledging NHL goalie Jake Allen in studio. "I really think when a guy walks off the half-wall the D's job is to take away the far side of the net and make him shoot short side.

"When DeBrusk lines up here for Benoit, Benoit is playing for a down low pass and there's nobody even there... Geekie is even showing his stick, everybody knows he's shooting there."

"Part of that is Holmberg who is the up high forward," added Bieksa. "If he crowds DeBrusk, DeBrusk doesn't walk right in and change his angle and make that a lot harder on Benoit... so it's not just Benoit."

Allen, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils, took a swipe at the Maple Leafs system, suggesting that it failed to adhere to fundamental defensive principles.
"Generally that's the rule of thumb,"

Overall, the critiques from Bissonnette, Bieksa, and Allen highlighted the Maple Leafs' defensive shortcomings and underscored the need for improvement in subsequent games of the series.
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Biznasty, Kevin Bieksa and Jake Allen ridicule the Maple Leafs
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Kevin Bieksa, Jake Allen and Biznasty blast the Leafs after game 1

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