May 10 2013 08:58PM
Jared Wickerham, Getty via NHL Interactive
With a nervous 2-1 win Friday night at the TD Garden, the Toronto Maple Leafs became the first team of the 2013 NHL playoffs to successfully stave off elimination. It wasn't a Rembrandt, but it wasn't exactly a Picasso either. The Leafs controlled the first period of the game but didn't score until two defensive breakdowns by the Bruins.
When the series began I had picked the Bruins in five—on the theory that the Bruins would control the series five-on-five and the scoring chances in each game, but James Reimer would end up stealing one for the Maple Leafs. That was Game 5, apparently, but it's no less likely from here on out that Reimer steals Game 6 or 7.
The Leafs got a shorthanded goal from Tyler Bozak and an even strength goal from Clarke MacArthur at the beginning of the third period. From there I think we all knew that Boston was going to absolutely pour it on offensively and they did, getting a goal from Zdeno Chara midway through the frame. Jaromir Jagr especially played a very good game in the offensive zone, but the expected threats from the Bruins, Tyler Seguin, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, were invisible around the net.
The nail biting muscles got a workout towards the end of the third. A delay-of-game penalty by Bozak, an icing, and a defensive zone draw with 12 seconds to go offered up several chances for the Bruins to tie it up, but Reimer was strong. Ready to do it all again on Sunday?
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
May 10 2013 01:10PM
While it doesn't have much to do with today's game, or this playoff series, or anything current really, the topic of Tyler Bozak and money he could potentially make was making the rounds again on Twitter this morning. Naturally, I'm left unamused by this, because the concept of Bozak cashing in on a large deal, particularly with Toronto, makes me want to run around in circles anticipating the apocalypse. Of course, while many share the sentiment, there are others who are okay with locking him up.
Some feel that letting Bozak go means investing in a big name, and that this year's crop isn't up to par. Some feel his familiarity with Phil Kessel is an asset. But a lot of the defenders of him will go all in on one aspect of his game: faceoff ability.
Bozak recieved a lot of praise this year for what he did inside the circle. He lead the Leafs in draw winning percentage, and finished tied for second in the NHL in faceoff wins. These are both important, right? Not quite. Let's look at some stats.
May 10 2013 01:06PM
I never really got behind the concept of "must-win" games. They're always trotted out for meaningless regular season games against teams fighting for the same spot in the standings.
Late in the season, I heard the term "must-win" trotted out for the Maple Leafs game at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. The Leafs lost in a shootout but didn't drop in the standings, and held the five-seed to the end of the year.
Toronto didn't have a lot of "must-win" games this year though, even in the clichéd sense. For all the talk about how tight the standings would be in a short season, by the final week of the season it was pretty apparent who would land the low seeds in the East.
Tonight though, is a must-win game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
May 09 2013 12:54PM
So, last night happened. We watched the Leafs play one of their most exciting and intense games in nearly a decade, and promptly fell into a state of wondering after David Krejci scored his third of the night to win the game for the Boston Bruins. Some wondered if the Leafs still have a chance in this series. Some wondered about the players wives and girlfriends. Some wondered if this was really what they were waiting for for nine years. Lastly, a lot of people wondered about how awesome it would be if the Leafs no longer had Dion Phaneuf. Wait, what?
May 09 2013 12:09PM
The Leafs are on the brink of elimination, and all anyone's talking about is a glare, AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN GET IT RIGHT! Figure it out!