Bruins Retake Series Lead In Convincing Fashion

Game 3 Recap (Bruins lead series 2-1)

The Boston Bruins regained home ice advantage Monday night, knocking off the Toronto Maple Leafs in convincing fashion, 5-2. The Leafs faithful were out in full force, rocking the Air Canada Center as it hosted its first playoff of game in over nine years. Boston was able weather the storm while showing vast improvements in nearly all areas of their play.

In game 3 of this Eastern Conference Quarter Finals series, Claude Julien’s club emerged victorious because of determined, disciplined, physical, focused, complete game. The Black-and-Gold received great contributions from each guy that stepped on the ice and their total team effort was the difference in this one.

Toronto came hard as expected but they were unable to match the unwavering intensity Boston skated with for the full sixty minutes. The Bruins were able to render the hometown crowd obsolete from the early going and they never looked back. Leading the Maple Leafs two games to one, the B’s now find themselves in control of this best of seven set.

Game Summary:

From start to finish this contest was loaded with hits and shots galore. Both sides combined for 99 hits (Boston-51, Toronto-48) and 85 shots (Boston-38, Toronto-47). The hatred between these clubs is beginning to reach its boiling point and it was on display as these rivals both clashed with conviction.

Adam McQuaid silenced the deafening sea of white and blue, picking a perfect time to score his first career playoff goal. David Krejci won a huge attacking zone face off that allowed McQuaid to blast a point slapper by James Reimer at 13:42 of the opening frame, giving the Bruins a 1-0 advantage.

The B’s would begin the second still ahead by one. Rich Peverley changed that, scoring 5:57 into the period. Jaromir Jagr stole the puck with wizard like precision behind the Leafs cage and then fed Peverley for a doorstep tally, doubling the Boston lead to 2-0.

Jake Gardiner recorded a Toronto power play goal in the period, bringing the Leafs within one score; just seconds before the Bruins blew the game wide open. Milan Lucic then barreled in full speed on Reimer and swiveled a nifty pass over to Nathan Horton who beat the Leafs tender, putting Boston on top 3-1. Daniel Paille finally closed out a dominant Bruins second frame, potting an unassisted shorthanded backhander on the break. The B’s would take a 4-1 lead to the dressing room after forty minutes.

In the third, Toronto made things interesting as Phil Kessel scored a power play marker just 0:47 in. But the Bruins clamped down defensively and Tuukka Rask would have no more, ultimately dashing any hopes of a Leafs comeback. David Krejci sealed the deal, sliding an empty netter in for the tilt’s final score.

What Went Right:

All four Boston lines played a significant role. Rebounding from a disappointing game 2 in which Claude Julien steered away from his normal rotation, twelve forwards were hopping over the boards in game 3. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line continues to roll with immense confidence. The hefty Milan Lucic notched 3 assists, David Krejci added 2 helpers and a goal. Nathan Horton scored his third goal of the series and also had an assist. The trio has now combined for 5 goals and 12 assists in the series. They have been one of the best lines in all the NHL playoffs thus far.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line may not have accounted for any points but they sure were out their pushing the pace of play. Seguin seemed to be flying around, dangling toward the goal trying to make something of nothing. Brad Marchand succeeded in getting under the skin of Phil Kessel. Patrice Bergeron did his normal thing, anchoring the Bruins defense and controlling the face off dot.

Peverley-Kelly-Jagr finally had a breakout game after seeing little success in the prior two games. Many were calling for them to step things up and that they did. The group found themselves amidst several extended attacking shifts. Jaromir Jagr dazzled all evening with his incredible puck controlling abilities and he also recorded his first point of the series. Rich Peverley cracked the score sheet in a big way, scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Boston’s merlot line of Paille-Campell-Thornton was arguably their best line in this one. Each shift they instilled a much-needed jolt of energy to aid in getting things going. They hit hard, fore checked like maniacs, and succeeded in keeping play in deep on many occasions. And of course Daniel Paille buried a short hander.

The return of Andrew Ference helped sure up the back end. The Bruins defense noticeably suffered with Ference unavailable for game 2. His return brought normalcy and stability to a group that seems play with greater confidence when he is in the lineup. Dennis Seidenberg was able to return to his customary position along side Zdeno Chara while Johnny Boychuk paired up nicely with Ference once again. Adam McQuaid and Wade Redden seem to be meshing nicely as well. The fact that Ference had 7 hits in the game is worth the mention.

Tuukka Rask was unflappable. Rask turned aside an astounding 45 shots. His determination and focus in doing so really is quite remarkable considering he was in the middle of hostile territory. His ability to bounce back from a high-risk high reward style is truly invaluable to this Bruins club. He has been the backbone and has yet to disappoint. If Tuukka can keep it up, Boston could ride him straight to the finals. He stood tall in all situations including several frantic moments and deserves a lot of credit for the win.

What Went Wrong:

The Boston penalty kill continues to be out maneuvered by the Toronto power play. They cannot seem to offer up an answer for the highly versatile Toronto attack. The Leafs are exploiting the Bruins kill through a great speed advantage and willingness in getting bodies to the high traffic areas. This cannot bode well for the B’s because they were the top ranked kill all season long. Claude and his men must render its recent issues if they are going to find triumph down the line. Two power play goals are way too much for one game.

Three Stars:

*Tuukka Rask – 45 saves, .957%

**David Krejci – 1 goal, 2 assists

***Milan Lucic- 3 assists

Quote of the Night:

David Krejci on the big victory: “I think, as a team, we played a good road game, maybe we didn’t have as many chances in Game 1, but I think it was a perfect road game and I’m pretty happy about that.”

What’s Up Next?

Game 4 from Air Canada Center will take place on Wednesday night. With a victory the Bruins will have a chance to close out the series on home ice. Expect the Leafs to be ready to go considering the stakes will be greater.

Frank O’Laughlin – NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

 

 

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