Game 6 – Leafs 3, Bruins 1 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The resilient Leafs forced a seventh and deciding game of their Round One series with a 3-1 win over Boston at Air Canada Centre on Monday night. Toronto allowed just 16 shots on goal over the second and third periods combined while holding the Bruins’ top line off the scoresheet.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was held to remember the victims of the tragedy that took place in Toronto earlier in the day.

The Good

  • After giving up the first goal of the game – a second period tally by Jake DeBrusk – the Leafs responded just 35 seconds later on a goal by William Nylander, his first of the playoffs. Toronto’s ability to strike quickly after being scored upon has been evident in the series (see Game 5: Bozak, Tyler)
  • Mitch Marner’s backhander in the second period that eluded Tuukka Rask held up as the game winner. Marner also added an assist, and is now the Leafs’ leading scorer in the playoffs (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points).
  • Tomas Plekanec rounded out the scoring into an empty net, his second goal of the playoffs.
  • Frederik Andersen was called upon to make some big saves, and the netminder delivered. He denied Brad Marchand on at least a pair of quality scoring chances, and closed out the first period with a paddle save that was almost as acrobatic as his highlight-reel stop in the closing moments of Game 4.
  • “We’ve got some more work to do but, so far, it’s been good. Great atmosphere here today,” Andersen said.
  • Toronto had a sound third period and – instead of sitting back like they did in Game 5 – forced the Bruins off the puck and denied entry into the zone.
  • Connor Brown led an outstanding penalty kill in the third period, highlighted by a strong back check with Boston on an odd-man rush.
  • Zach Hyman on the Leafs shutting the Bruins down: “We had the crowd on our side, and our fans were going wild. That always gives you an extra boost, and extra momentum. We just stayed on (our opponents), we didn’t take our foot off the gas. In Game 5 we had a bigger lead and took our foot of the gas a little bit, but this game was really tight.”

The Bad

  • The shots on goal surrendered by the Leafs in the second period (9) was a flattering total to the home side. For an extended period, Toronto couldn’t exit their zone and were plagued by successive turnovers by their defencemen. The score remained 1-1 with Andersen keeping his team in the game, just prior to Marner’s go-ahead goal.
  • Hyman had a goal disallowed due to goaltender interference. The situation room ruled that Hyman kicked Rask’s stick out of the goaltender’s hands on the play, although replays might suggest that Patrice Bergeron pushed Hyman into Rask, with the Leaf forward’s momentum causing the stick to come loose. “I don’t think anyone really has a definitive answer on what goalie interference is, these days,” Hyman said. Well put.

The Ugly

  • The offsetting penalties called to David Backes and Roman Polak was an atrocity – not that both players didn’t deserve to go to the box – but the skirmish started after Backes blatantly hit Andersen with an elbow. Clearly Backes should have received a double minor.