Bieksa, Bissonnette call out 2 Maple Leafs after a brutal Game 1.

Bieksa, Bissonnette call out 2 Maple Leafs after a brutal Game 1.

A pair of Maple Leafs were the target of criticism from two different former NHL players.

Jonathan Larivee

Game 1 went about as bad as it could have from the perspective of the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the Boston Bruins largely dominating the game from start to finish. There will be plenty of blame to go around after what was a rather lackluster game from the Maple Leafs, but interestingly enough there are two members of the Maple Leafs roster who may find themselves under the spotlight heading into Game 2.

During the course of the game both Maple Leafs forward Pontus Holmberg and Maple Leafs defenseman Simon Benoit found themselves the target of criticism from a pair of former National Hockey League players whose opinions carry a good deal of weight in the hockey community. Entirely independent of one another, both Paul Bissonnette on the TNT broadcast, and Kevin Bieksa on the CBC broadcast, singled out Holmberg and Benoit as significant issues for the Maple Leafs in the second period.

"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."

If you thought Bissonnette was being harsh, his sentiments were echoed exactly by Kevin Bieksa on an entirely different channel.

"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."

Bieksa acknowledged that Benoit wasn't the only man to blame and like Bissonnette on TNT he also pointed out how Holmberg's poor defensive play had contributed to the Bruins' dominance in Game 1.

"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."

For what it's worth, Jake Allen also seemed to agree with the assessment from both Bissonnette and Bieksa as well.

"Generally that's the rule of thumb," acknowledged Allen.