The Leafs were in Boston tonight (that’s the Toronto-Dominion Arena) to take on the Bruins. The closest thing the Leafs have to a rivalry currently, this matchup shaped up to be an entertaining Saturday night.
Keys for tonight’s game:
- Try not to get dominated by the Bergeron line
- Get Auston Matthews some offensive zone time
- Shelter the heck out of the Hunwick/Polak pairing
The Kadri line was given yet another shutdown assignment against the above-mentioned Bergeron line. Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak have comprised easily the most dominant line this year and it will be no small task for Komarov, Kadri and Nylander to battle against them.
Early in the first, Martin Marincin went down hard against the boards after being pushed and possibly tripped by David Krejci. Kadri gave him a few hacks to let him know he wasn’t happy. No penalties were called on the play. Marincin did not return in the game.
The game had been lacking energy despite the potential rivalry hype. There were a few chances, mostly by the Bruins, but overall the first period definitely lacked gusto.
The Bruins lead the Leafs 11-2 in shots on goal and 17-5 in 5v5 shots. Not a good period for the Leafs, but they escape with a score of 0-0.
Early in the 2nd, the Leafs got off to a good start with Nylander on the ice with Matthews. Nylander made a slick controlled zone entry and found Matthews in the slot, who fired it high and beat Tuukka Rask.
This was a much more balanced period for the Leafs, who were able hold even in the shot metrics for the course of the period. However, the gap for the Bruins remained pretty significant.
Just 5 minutes now into the 2nd, a Jake Gardiner wrist shot from the point gets tipped past Rask by Zach Hyman to give the Leafs a 2 goal lead.
With under 2 minutes to go, Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board with a wrap around goal after a bad play on the puck by Frederik Andersen. The period would end at that score, 2-1 for the Leafs.
The game started to work in the Leafs favour, as the Bruins took a few penalties finally allowing the Leafs PP to get to work.
The first chance was shut down pretty well by the Bruins, as was the second until the very last set up by the Leafs. Hunwick got the puck to Bozak who finds JVR in front. He floats a puck over Rasks shoulder to make it 3-1 Leafs. It won’t count as a PP goal, as it had just finished before JVR touched the puck.
The Bruins were looking dangerous near the end of the third but Connor Brown is able to find the empty net from centre and makes this game 4-1. Where it would stay, this time.
I thought Andersen was great tonight besides the one gaffe that lead to the single Bruins goal. The possession was mostly in the Bruins’ favour but the Leafs’ offense was able to out score the Bruins. A squeaky win despite a wide score margin.
My three stars for the game: