A late surge by the Leafs fell short in dropping Game 4 to the Bruins by a score of 6-4 on Wednesday evening. The opening round series is now tied at two games apiece heading back to Boston in what is now effectively a best-of-three showdown.

The Good

  • Auston Matthews had a pair of goals and now has tallied three times in the series. His awakening is a huge relief for Leafs fans after the team’s franchise player had gone pointless in the first two games.
  • Zach Hyman deflected a point shot by Morgan Rielly past goalie Tuukka Rask to register his first point of the post season.
  • Down 5-2 at the midway mark of the third period, the Leafs staged a rally. After Matthews’s second goal of the game – a power play marker – Travis Dermott notched his first marker of the 2019 playoffs just 95 seconds later.

The Bad

  • In a familiar refrain, the Leafs’ had no answer for Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The trio had been split up by coach Bruce Cassidy to start the game, but were reunited in a move to be lethal to Toronto, combining for six points.
  • Toronto’s penalty kill unit was unsuccessful in defending both of the Bruins’ power plays. Charlie McAvoy and Pastrnak each scored with the man advantage.
  • Babcock on the Leafs penalty kill: ” The bottom line is you can’t keep giving power play goals up, those are just freebies those two. Not that they didn’t make plays or anything like that, but we weren’t in the spots we were supposed to be in. In the end, you’ve got to do what you’re supposed to do and if their scheme is better, their player executes, then so be it. But, you’ve got to do what you’re supposed to.”
  • Connor Brown missed a glorious scoring opportunity with his team down 3-2 in the second period.

The Ugly

  • Nikita Zaitsev continues to struggle, leaving Marchand unattended on Boston’s second goal of the game in the first period. The pairing of Zaitsev and Muzzin was on the ice for three Bruins goals.
  • Trailing 4-2 after forty minutes, the Leafs had no sense of urgency to climb back into the game until around the midway mark of the frame. They didn’t register a shot on goal until 4:18 seconds into the period (Matthews).
  • The Leafs franchise has now lost nine consecutive Game Four outings in playoff series in which they have held a two games to one lead. The last game that they won under such circumstances was the fourth game of the 1987 Norris Division Final against Detroit.

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca.

In 2019, Rob co-wrote with Evan Gubernick “Hockey Addict’s Guide: Toronto”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.