In a cliffhanger at Scotiabank Arena the Leafs outlasted the Bruins 3-2 to take a two games to one lead in the First Round series. Prior to the game, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Nazem Kadri would be suspended for the remainder of the opening round for his high stick on Jake DeBrusk.
- Toronto’s offense received a huge spark from the fourth line of Trevor Moore, Frederik Gauthier and Tyler Ennis. The trio demonstrated hard work along the boards and it paid off in the form of Moore’s first career playoff goal, t 2:38 of the first period to open the scoring.
- With Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on the bench for a sixth skater, Mitch Marner made two crucial shot blocks in the dying seconds of the third period to help seal the win.
- Auston Matthews, who had been silent throughout the first two games, netted a power play goal to end his mini-slump.
- Andreas Johnsson had a marvelous game at both ends of the ice. He converted a seeing-eye pass made by John Tavares behind the net, and lifted a backhander over Rask’s shoulder for the eventual game winner. Johnsson finished the game with two points and three shots on goal.
- Babcock on Johnsson: “He was good. He hadn’t been as good here lately so it’s great to see all the details in his game tonight. He’s quick, he’s smart, he can be real hard and then, tonight, he had good detail in his game and was good. Obviously, he was rewarded for that as well and good for him.”
- Frederik Andersen was called upon yet again to make some key saves (no this is not cut-and-paste from a previous post. Andersen made 35 saves in the victory.
- William Nylander was solid in the third-line centre spot in Kadri’s absence.
- The Leafs matched the Bruins pound-for-pound in the hit parade. In the first period, Mitch Marner laid a solid check on Brad Marchand to ignite the hometown crowd. Also, Zach Hyman took on towering defender Zdeno Chara
— Rob Leth (@RobLeth) April 16, 2019
- Matthews, for all his due credit for finally getting on the scoreboard in these playoffs, had a rather lackadaisical game in his own end of the ice.
- Nikita Zaitsev was the weakest link on the blue line. On a Leafs penalty kill in the second period, he left his own side of the ice leaving a wide open David Krejci to score the tying goal. In the third period, under pressure, he took a potentially costly delay of game penalty under pressure (not that this columnist agrees with the “puck over glass” automatic penalty rule.)
In 2019, Rob co-wrote with Evan Gubernick “Hockey Addict’s Guide: Toronto”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.