BEFORE PUCK DROP
Bruins Injury Report as of 1pm EST:
Riley Nash is expected to play following an ear laceration suffered late in the season that kept him out of the first two games in the series.
Tommy Wingels is cleared to play after he was injured by Leafs’ Kadri in Game One, who was given a three-game suspension for the play. However, head coach Cassidy says that Wingels will most likely be a healthy scratch for Game Three.
Matt Grzelcyk suffered a lower-body injury in Game Two, he is doubtful to skate in the game. Defenceman Nick Holden expected to take his spot if Grzelcyk is unable to play.
What To Possibly Expect:
The Bruins have been stellar in the first two games in this first round matchup, scoring 12 goals and allowing only four from the Toronto team. Boston was able to kick out Frederik Andersen in Game Two as he allowed three Bruins goals on only four shots in the first period. With that, Maple Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock claims that Andersen will start in goal for Game Three. Also in the game, Bruins d-man, Kevan Miller collided with Leafs forward, Leo Komarov, who withstood the majority of the impact. He is expected to be scratched for the game.
As predicted everywhere, the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to come out of the gates quickly and they did just that. Toronto steered away from the physical play that they tried to use against the Bruins in the first two games of the series and played the style of hockey that got them into the playoffs in the first place – speed and skill.
For the majority of the first twenty minutes, Tuukka Rask held his own between the pipes, making 11 saves on 12 Toronto shots including some big saves on Kasperi Kapanen.
Similar to Game Two, Kapanen sped past the Boston d-men and was all alone against Rask. On Saturday’s chance, Rask looked unsure, leaving the net wide open only for Kapanen to ring it off the post, demoralizing the Leafs. However, this time, Rask stayed strong and followed Kapanen, making a solid save. Kapanen didn’t have the best shot, but a big momentum boost for the Bruins.
A change from what B’s fans are used to, Boston lost the battle on the faceoff dots, going 46% compared to Toronto’s 54%. Faceoff wizard, Patrice Bergeron went 1-for-3 on the dot against Bozak in the period, including a defensive zone defeat that led to the only goal of the period.
End of period: Leafs 1-0, Shots 12-8 Leafs
Oh, you wanted goals? Goals are all we got in the second period and for what seems like all series-long so far, the goals were not all from the Bruins.
As absolutely everyone suspected, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid scored the tying goal just over three minutes into the second frame. The goal was set up by an always hard-working Bruins fourth line, who won crucial puck battles before Tim Schaller found McQuaid on the point, Quaider’s shot trickled by Andersen, making it 1-1.
Toronto, however, would do a great job eliminating the momentum of the road team, as Patrick Marleau scores on a Mitch Marner pass, beating Rask.
The game continued to be back-and-forth, as the series was supposed to be all throughout until Boston captain Zdeno Charo lasered a sharp-angle shot off of Andersen’s head, tying the hockey game once again. Chara was forced to take the outside as the middle was clustered with blue sweaters, but clearly, Big Zee doesn’t need the middle of the ice.
For the remaining minutes of the second period, which in my opinion has been the best period to watch for both teams, the puck bounced from end-to-end. Both teams had numerous chances, but it was superstar forward Auston Matthews, scoring his first point and goal of the playoffs. The top line for the B’s got caught tired in the defensive zone led to a poor play along the boards by Pastrnak and Matthews sniped it past Rask.
The period would finish with more pressure by the Maple Leafs as well as some saves from both netminders.
End of 2nd Period: 3-2 Leafs, Shots 24-23 BOS
Entering the final period down by a goal for the first time in the playoffs, the Boston Bruins needed a goal sooner rather than later.
Boston would go on their first power play of the night only 26 seconds into the game, a hooking call on Patrick Marleau. Boston would have some solid opportunities on the man-advantage, but no such luck when it comes to putting the puck past Frederik Andersen.
Boston outshot Toronto by a sizable margin within the final period, 18-7. Statistically, the Bruins played better than the Leafs. More shots, fewer giveaways (12 for TOR, 5 for BOS), and more blocked shots, one of them being by Adam McQuaid in the neck area.
Following some possible missed calls against the Maple Leafs and some continuous chances by Boston, Patrick Marleau would eventually score his second goal of the game, giving Toronto a two-goal lead, solidifying the victory.
As usual, the black and gold would not go out without a fight. Morgan Rielly and Brad Marchand each had offsetting penalties, meaning a four-on-four game for nearly the remainder of the game. Boston fired many one-timers, wrist shots, deflections. Anything to hopefully get one goal closer. The best chance from Boston was robbed with the stick of Andersen, which essentially sealed the deal.
There were three main issues tonight for the Bruins in the loss. One, being on the road against Toronto is not an easy task, especially this season. Two, the Maple Leafs were very disciplined tonight compared to the previous two outings, preventing the B’s powerplay from getting hot again. And finally, the Bruins missed many chances to score when it mattered the most.
Final Score: 4 – TOR vs 2 BOS (BOS leads series 2-1)
1st Star – TOR G Frederik Andersen
2nd Star – TOR F Patrick Marleau
3rd Star – TOR D Morgan Rielly
The two teams now have a two-day break before Game Four in Toronto on Thursday night. Scheduled puck drop is for 7:00pm EST.