Faced with the daunting challenge of climbing out of a two-games-to-none deficit in their opening round playoff series, the Leafs took the first step in defeating Boston 4-2 in Game 3 on Monday night. In a thoroughly entertaining outing, Toronto looked less like the proverbial ‘deer caught in the headlights’ and instead used a combination of speed and grit to climb back into the series.
- James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring in the first period, just seven seconds into the power play after the Bruins were improperly called for delay of game. Considering that Boston scored an offside goal in Game 1, this was the karmic even-up break that Toronto needed.
- Patrick Marleau scored a pair of goals off the rush; one in the second period after converting a cross-ice pass from Mitch Marner, plus the insurance marker in the third period, speeding down the left wing.
- Auston Matthews scored his first goal of the playoffs – the eventual game-winner after the Leafs pinned Boston’s top line deep in their own end.
- The Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand was held off the scoresheet after combining for 20 points in the first two games.
- Frederik Andersen rebounded from a shaky first half of the game to seal the win for his team with more than a few key third period saves, none more spectacular than a paddle saving, diving to his right, to rob Pastrnak with Tuukka Rask on Boston’s bench late in regulation.
- Leafs coach Mike Babcock said “I thought that was a real big save for Freddie and it’s important – Freddie has been one of our best players all year and we need him to be good.”
- Zach Hyman earned the applause of the 19,663 fans in attendance at ACC with a thundering hit on Brad Marchand.
- Toronto was able to earn the victory despite their habitual defensive lapses. Kasperi Kapanen and Jake Gardiner were guilty of turning the puck over in the middle of the ice, in the most glaring examples.
- Kapanen appears snake-bitten while getting his share of scoring chances. Coming off a Game 2 outing in which he hit the goal post, Kapenen was foiled on a breakaway by fellow countryman Rask in Game 3, then later in the game, (what else?) hit the goal post.
- Toronto was lucky to come out of their only penalty kill unscathed, thanks to Andersen’s heroics. They improved to 6-for-11 for the series, but are thoroughly subpar in execution, in this aspect.
- The two goals that Andersen gave up, second period tallies by defencemen Adam McQuaid and Zdeno Chara, were both stoppable shots that the netminder should have had. Toronto needs Andersen to be at his third period, acrobatic best in order to have any post-season success.