Final, 5-2 Bruins: That’s a wrap on Game 3 in Toronto. The Bruins are definitely the better team, but this was no easy task tonight, in a building as electrified as Toronto’s for the first playoff game in nearly a decade. The players in blue definitely matched that energy, but the Bruins were able to withstand it and execute when they needed to, and they now have a 2-1 series lead to show for it.
Third period, 1:17, 5-2 Bruins: Credit the fourth line for finally regaining some possession in the offensive end and calming things down a bit for Boston. It helped lead to some precious seconds ticking off the clock, and eventually David Krejci was able to deposit the puck into an empty net to seal the Boston. Now, you just wait to see if either team engages in any funny stuff before the final whistle.
Third period, 4:49, 4-2 Bruins: The Maple Leafs fans are enraged that there was no call on Johnny Boychuk, but the refs definitely didn’t miss anything there. James van Riemsdyk simply blasted his own face into Boychuk’s shoulder while carrying the puck toward the Boston net. van Riemsdyk checked his face multiple times for blood, but it was his own doing and was a non-call — surprising, given some of the calls tonight.
In other news, the Leafs are flying around and dominating possession. The Bruins are just watching the clock, hoping it hits zeroes soon.
Third period, 8:37, 4-2 Bruins: Now that’s a fight we’d all pay to see. After a little post-whistle scrum, Marchand gets tied up with Kessel, and they end up getting matching minor penalties. They didn’t really do much to earn them, but after last night’s donnybrook between Ottawa and Montreal, I’m sure the refs want to keep things calm in the third period tonight.
Anyway, when the two skaters got to their respective penalty boxes, a lengthy shouting match transpired, and while I can’t read lips, it did look like Phil was making a demonstrative joke about the size of Brad’s nose. Zero points for creativity there, Phil, but I respect the effort.
Third period, 10:36, 4-2 Bruins: The Leafs are bringing it, and the Bruins are hanging on as best they can. It’s likely a frustrating scene for many Bruins fans, but the Leafs deserve credit for scratching and clawing as best they can to climb back into this one.
So far, outside of the Kessel power-play goal, they haven’t been able to do that, but they sure have gotten their chances. The Leafs have a 5-2 shot advantage thus far this period, tying the two teams at 34 shots apiece for the game. Rask has been immense though, and the score remains 4-2.
The Bruins can likely ice the game with one more goal, but a tally for Toronto would certainly make this one a little bit more tense than most folks in Boston would prefer.
Third period, 19:10, 4-2 Bruins: Phil Kessel does it again, though this one is hardly a goal scorer’s goal. Kessel simply buried a loose puck into a wide open net, after Rask had made a save on van Riemsdyk from close range, and the Leafs get a power-play goal in the opening minute of the third.
Third period, 20:00, 4-1 Bruins: The B’s are 20 minutes away, and it begins now.
End of second period, 4-1 Bruins: Now that was a great period.
The Bruins extended their lead to two goals, didn’t panic when the lead was cut to a goal, didn’t overreact to questionable officiating and extended that lead to three goals. They’re now 20 minutes away from a 2-1 series lead, and it’d take a really shocking turn of events to get in the way of that.
Second period, 3:23, 4-1 Bruins: After a too many men on the ice penalty on Boston, Daniel Paille is able to score on a short-handed breakaway, thanks to a gift-wrapped turnover at the blue line by none other than Mr. Phil Kessel. Chances are, Boston fans will notice that one.
The goal came just seconds after the crowd erupted following a massive body check by Phaneuf on Peverley. Needless to say, the air was sucked out of the Air Canada Centre when Paille’s backhand found its way past Reimer for the Bruins’ fourth goal of the night.
Second period, 5:25, 3-1 Bruins: The Leafs’ happiness lasted less than a minute, thanks to a prettty simply effort play by Milan Lucic, who weaved around Mark Fraser and delivered a feed to Nathan Horton, who was barreling down the slot. Horton put his shot top shelf, and it actually got stuck up there. No video review necessary, and the B’s lead is back to two goals.
Second period, 6:15, 2-1 Bruins: After Milan Lucic is inexplicably called for diving, and Tyler Seguin subsequently gets penalized for tripping, the Leafs take advantage of this power play and bury their first goal of the night.
With James van Riemsdyk battling Boychuk in front of the Boston net, the puck ended up on Jake Gardiner’s stick after a frenzied scramble. His shot from the high slot weaved its way through a few bodies and past Rask for a much-needed Toronto goal.
Second period, 9:48, 2-0 Bruins: The Leafs got their opportunity to climb back into it after David Krejci got called for slashing, but Tyler Bozak wasted the power play by hooking Chara well behind the play. The Bruins didn’t score on their abbreviated power play that followed the minute-plus of 4-on-4, but they were able to maintain control the pace of the game and keep possession in the Toronto end of the ice.
And just before the most recent whistle, Milan Lucic absolutely steamrolled Joffrey Lupul in the corner of the B’s end. Lupul is one of just three Maple Leafs who has been able to score in this series, so you know the men in blue don’t like to see that happen.
Second period, 14:03, 2-0 Bruins: Jaromir Jagr continues his tenacious work in the offensive end, and this time, it ends up getting the Bruins a goal.
Ryan O’Byrne got a little careless with the puck behind the Toronto net, and Jagr, with that huge stick of his, skated through and stole the puck. He got the puck out to Rich Peverley in front, and Peverley buried it to double the Boston lead.
Second period, 14:43, 1-0 Bruins: The B’s don’t generate much on the power play, and shortly after it ends, Tuukka Rask has to come up with a huge save, going from his right to left to make a left pad save on a hard Joffrey Lupul one-timer. It was without a doubt the save of the game, and the game continues, 1-0 Boston.
Second period, 17:43, 1-0 Bruins: The B’s are now heading on a power play after Ryan O’Byrne gets called for interference. The B’s had a grand total of eight seconds of power play time the other night, so chances are they’ll pass that mark here.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: The second period is under way. The Bruins were 13-2-2 this season when leading after the first period, and the Leafs were 3-6-1 when trailing after the first.
End of first period, 1-0 Bruins: The Leafs’ power play was putrid, save for a nifty little one-man rush by Jake Gardiner, and the Bruins get a quality chance as soon as Jagr hopped out of the box. They didn’t finish it, but they do take a 1-0 lead into the locker rooms.
The B’s hold a 17-12 shot advantage and did a great job of withstanding the early pressure by the Leafs.
It was not a great period for Boston, but it was a good one, and that’s much better than the alternative.
First period, 2:18, 1-0 Bruins: The Leafs will get the first power play of the night after Jaromir Jagr gets his stick caught in Tyler Bozak’s skates. The Leafs forward went down easily (as the Leafs have done successfully with regularity this series) and Jagr heads to the box for two minutes of shame.
First period, 6:18, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins have the lead in Game 3.
Off an offensive draw, Milan Lucic passed the puck back to Adam McQuaid at the right point. He fired a hard shot toward the top left corner of the net, and Reimer might not have seen it until it was too late, as the puck made its way to the back of the net.
It’s McQuaid’s first playoff goal of his career, and Lucic and Krejci (who won the faceoff) should get the assists.
First period, 10:32, 0-0: The Bruins get their first great chance of the night, and it comes off a rebound, unsurprisingly. Marchand sent a shot toward net from the left faceoff circle, and Reimer was unable to hang on to what should have been an easy glove save. The puck bounced right out of his glove and sat tantalizingly in front of the net for a second or two. Tyler Seguin burst to the puck and deked to his backhand in close, but Reimer was able to make the save.
First period, 13:49, 0-0: A couple of things stand out early. One is Jagr, who looks a lot more like the guy who showed up to Boston and calmly controlled the puck in the offensive end for full shifts at a time. He hasn’t been good in the first two games, but he’s off to a good start tonight.
So is Tuukka Rask, who had to stop a James van Riemsdyk redirect after the Leafs forward slipped away from Wade Redden and made his way in front of the Bruins’ net. Rask has five saves early on, which is obviously crucial, given the way the crowd would react from an early goal.
First period, 17:15, 0-0: James Reimer was down and out, and Jaromir Jagr had an open net staring him in the face … albeit from a rather sharp angle along the goal line. Jagr fired a shot, but it soared parallel to the goal line about 8 inches away from the crossbar and harmlessly went off the corner boards. That’s missed opportunity No. 1 for Boston.
Claude Julien has also, as expected, reunited Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on the blue line.
First period, 20:00: Game 3 is under way from Toronto. The Bruins started with Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin up front and Ference and Boychuk on the blue line.
6:50 p.m.: After a brief 60-minute taste of playoff hockey, Dougie Hamilton will be watching tonight’s game from the press box as a healthy scratch. Kaspars Daugavins was scratched, too, meaning Rich Peverley will get another go at it despite a less-than-stellar Game 2.
6:30 p.m.: In the playoffs, any break of any length feels like an eternity, but fortunately for the Bruins and Maple Leafs, the wait for Game 3 is just about over.
The two teams are set to hit the ice in about a half-hour for the first playoff game in Toronto since the spring of 2004, when Tyler Seguin was but a wee lad at 12 years old. Dougie Hamilton was a month shy of his 11th birthday when the Leafs lost to the Flyers in overtime.
That was long ago, so expect the home crowd to be fired up beyond belief for this one. It’ll be imperative for the Bruins to withstand that initial rush of energy from Toronto, and scoring first will be even more crucial tonight they want to negate the home-ice advantage.
That’s easier said than done … sort of. James Reimer has been ripe for the picking this series, as he’s been almost completely unable to smother any pucks sent his way. He’s coughed up innumerable rebounds in the two games, but the Bruins were only able to bury two on Saturday night. That might work some nights, but not when the Leafs break out for four goals. Tonight, I’d expect to see a lot more net crashing from the Bruins, and don’t be surprised if a grinder like Gregory Campbell or Shawn Thornton ends up with a goal off a rebound.
Heck, maybe even Jaromir Jagr can throw one on net, and one of his linemates can bang home a loose puck to ignite that line, which has been by far the worst in the Bruins’ two playoff games.
It will be interesting, no doubt, so follow along with the live blog for updates from pregame warmups all the way through the final whistle.