Joel Edmundson flattens David Pastrnak early in Game 7.

Joel Edmundson flattens David Pastrnak early in Game 7.

Maple Leafs defenseman Joel Edmundson sends an early message with a big hit on Bruins forward David Pastrnak.

Jonathan Larivee

There was reason to believe that Toronto Maple Leafs veteran defenseman Joel Edmundson could be a factor in tonight's Game 7, and Edmundson didn't wait long to deliver.

Edmundson sent an early message during the opening period of Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, flattening Bruins star forward David Pastrnak as he tried to make a play behind the Maple Leafs net and behind Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

Not only did the hit from Edmundson set the tone early for the Maple Leafs defense, but it targeted a player in David Pastrnak who is under a tremendous amount of pressure in tonight's Game 7. Pastrnak was publicly chastised by Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery this week for his performance in the series up to that point, and this hit from Edmundson won't be doing him any favors in that regard.