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Maple Leafs even the series up with 3-2 win as Matthews shines with three-point night

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Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
It wasn’t the result they wanted in Game 1, losing 5-1, but the Toronto Maple Leafs entered TD Garden for game two last night looking to bounce back, pick up the win on the road and head back to Toronto with a series split with games three and four coming up.

First period:

One thing Toronto hadn’t done all season long, including in Game 1 of this series, was hold a lead in a game against the Bruins. In all four regular season games and Saturday night, the game was tied or Boston holding the lead. If Toronto wanted to come away with the win in game two, they needed to play with a lead at some point in the hockey game.
Unfortunately, after eight-plus minutes of scoreless hockey, Jake McCabe took a careless penalty after the whistle at the side of his net, which sent the Bruins to the power play just before the midway point of the frame. It took the home team roughly 30 seconds to find the back of the net after the Maple Leafs penalty kill unit left Morgan Geekie unmarked, and he finished off a pass from Brad Marchand, giving his team the 1-0 lead. On the replay of the goal, although no Leaf had him, his shot was going wide, though it took a bounce off a Toronto skate and in. Just unfortunate. But just 14 seconds after conceding the opening goal, the top line went to work in the Bruins’ zone and tied things up. An initial shot from Auston Matthews beat Linus Ullmark but rang iron (shocker), but Max Domi stayed with it and banged home the rebound for his first goal of the playoffs, giving Maple Leafs fans something to cheer about.
Despite Toronto not grabbing the lead first, the quick response to the opening goal from Boston was a good sign, especially from the top line, who needed to be a lot better after three lazy penalties from them in game one. After tying things up, the Maple Leafs had a pretty solid road period. They were given their first power play of the night after John Beecher was whistled for hooking, but the rough special teams continued for Toronto, who couldn’t get on the board with the man advantage after tying the hockey game. Although they were unsuccessful on their first power play, they continued to have as good of a road period as they could have had. However, the last minute of the opening frame was complete chaos in Toronto’s zone, which resulted in the puck in the back of their net with eight seconds left. That was a deflating goal after a pleasing opening period.
Ilya Samsonov had the puck thrown to him, and he went to pass to his defenseman but whiffed on the initial attempt. Luckily, he got the pass off, and the puck made its way around the boards to Joel Edmundson, but the puck bounced over his stick. At this point, you felt something was coming. Boston kept the possession in the offensive zone and tested Samsonov with a shot, catching him up high in the mask. Play was stopped after his mask came off, and play was later resumed. Once the puck was dropped, it was a complete breakdown in the defensive zone from the road team. Four of the five skaters were above the face-off dots, leaving David Pastrnak wide-open in front of the net, and he one-timed a ridiculous pass from Pavel Zacha through Samsonov for the 2-1 lead.
Toronto entered the first intermission down 2-1 despite outshooting Boston 14-10.

Second period:

It was unfortunate how the period ended for Toronto, especially after playing one of their better periods of the playoffs thus far. But there were still 40 minutes to be played, and a one-goal lead was easy enough for the Maple Leafs to come back and tie things up again.
Despite falling behind by a goal for the second time in the game, the Maple Leafs continued to look solid in the contest and actually had two of their plays go to review for possible goals. After rolling around the top of the boards around the Bruins’ net, Calle Jarnkrok received the puck from behind the goal line and tried beating Ullmark short side, but the Bruins’ netminder pulled off a ridiculous save, keeping the puck out. However, the play was close enough for them to go to review to make sure Ullmark’s glove didn’t go over the goal line when he made the save. After review, it was determined it didn’t go over the line, keeping the game 2-1 for the Bruins.
Time was ticking in the period, giving the road team less time to find the equalizer. But the Maple Leafs did a phenomenal job keeping the Bruins off the scoreboard, preventing them from doubling their lead throughout this frame. If Boston scored to make it 3-1, who knows if that gives them all the momentum, making it impossible for Toronto to get back into the game.
Luckily, with little time remaining in the middle period, Toronto returned to the power play for the second time, looking for a chance to even the game up before heading into the intermission. This is where one of the plays I was talking about went to review for a possible goal. Tyler Bertuzzi, who got bumped to the first power play unit, swatted the puck out of mid-air into the net, and it was a clear high stick. But according to the officials during the play, they counted it. As we now know, they went to review to double-check, and they took the goal off the board after it was deemed a high stick.
With Bertuzzi’s goal taken off the board after review and Jarnkrok’s shot going to review to make sure the puck didn’t cross the line, the Maple Leafs needed to score a goal here that would count after all of the chances they were creating on Ullmark. Fortunately, with time remaining on the power play, the puck found John Tavares alone in the slot, and the captain spun around, fired a quick slap shot toward Ullmark and beat him, tying the game at two with roughly a minute and a half to go in the frame.
Toronto entered the second intermission tied 2-2 and outshooting Boston 26-19.

Third period:

Suddenly, after falling behind twice and having a goal taken off the board and another play go to review, the Maple Leafs entered the final period of regulation tied, on the road, looking to grab their first lead of the season and series against the Bruins, in hopes of tying the series up before heading back home to Toronto. With the game evened up at two, the Maple Leafs couldn’t afford to make any mistakes or take unnecessary penalties in the final 20 minutes, preventing them from leaving Boston down 2-0. It was a back-and-forth third period. With the score knotted up, it had the feeling of next goal wins, and if you were Toronto, you were hoping it would be you.
But just before the midway point of the frame, the third line of the Maple Leafs was in the offensive zone and came oh so close to taking the 3-2 lead, but Linus Ullmark, who was making ridiculous saves all night, robbed Nick Robertson off a rebound, keeping the game tied at two. Roughly four minutes after Robertson came inches away from his second NHL playoff goal, the top line was back on the ice for Toronto, looking to get this lead. Well, they certainly got the lead thanks to an unreal goal from Matthews, who netted his first of the playoffs and first since game 80 against the Red Wings.
The play started in the Maple Leafs’ zone, and it was a simple d-to-d pass from Rielly to Lyubushkin, who broke the puck out to Domi just inside the blue line. After receiving the puck, Domi floated the puck through the air to Matthews at the offensive blue line, and the man sitting on two points jumped up in the air, grabbed the puck, dropped it in front of him and was one-on-one with Ullmark. After pulling off a nifty backhand forehand move, Matthews beat Ullmark, giving his team the 3-2 lead with eight minutes to go with his third point of the night.
Unfortunately, after grabbing their first lead against Boston this season, Tyler Bertuzzi was sent to the box for slashing Brad Marchand, along with Ilya Lyubushkin and Charlie Coyle going as well for off-setting roughing minors. Suddenly, the Maple Leafs were off to the penalty kill, and with six minutes to go, things got really interesting.
After allowing the Bruins to score on their first opportunity in the opening period, Toronto kept them off the board on their second and final man advantage, keeping their 3-2 lead as the time started to wind down. With little time left, the Bruins pulled Ullmark for the extra attacker and almost tied the game up after a mad scramble in front of the Maple Leafs’ net. Somehow, Ilya Samsonov and the other five players on the ice kept the puck out, preserving the massive 3-2 road win, evening up the series at one, heading back home for game three.

Who stood out:

As I mentioned, it wasn’t a terrible performance from Toronto in game one. But unnecessary penalties and defensive breakdowns to go along with Samsonov not looking the sharpest hurt them. However, game two was a different story. Did Toronto look perfect? No. But they looked much better in an all-around aspect last night, and the players they needed to step up stepped up, helping them tie the series up.
Auston Matthews stepped up massively last night in the 3-2 win. He struggled in the face-off dot in game one (27%), took a lazy high-sticking penalty, which resulted in a Bruins goal, and was left off the scoresheet despite creating a couple of looks, including a hit post when it was 1-0 Boston. Last night, the top line combined for six points, four coming at five-on-five, including a three-point effort from Matthews, who scored the game-winning goal and had a much better night in the dot (69%).
According to Naturalstattrick.com, Bertuzzi-Matthews-Domi played 11:45 at five-on-five, outscored the opposition 2-0, won the shot battle 10-8, held a 10-2 advantage in scoring chances, 6-1 advantage in high-danger chances, and generated an xGF of 1.34, which was the highest from any line on Toronto.
After allowing four goals on 24 shots following 11 goals on 52 shots to end the regular season, Ilya Samsonov bounced back in a significant way last night. He recorded 27 saves on 29 shots and had to make some spectacular saves in the middle of those 29 shots, including robbing Brad Marchand to begin the third period after kicking the initial save right to him.
You can catch game three of the Toronto Maple Leafs – Boston Bruins first-round series on Wednesday night from Scotiabank Arena as the series shifts to Toronto. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.

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