Matthews, Anderson the heroes in 2-1 win for Leafs
The Maple Leafs have grown accustomed to playoff disappointment over the years.
However, after putting together possibly their best defensive effort of the season, their latest victory has them on the brink of getting past the first round for the first time since 2004.
Auston Matthews broke the scoreless tie in the third. Meanwhile, Kasperi Kapanen added another goal as the Leafs held on to beat the Boston Bruins, 2-1 on Friday night. Furthermore, this meant that they now take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff.
With the goalie pulled for an extra skater, David Krejci got the Bruins on the board with 43.7 seconds left, but the Bruins couldn’t level the game.
Toronto has alternate wins and losses in the first five games. But, they now have a chance to close out the series when it shifts back to their home match for Game six on Sunday.
Leafs’ Zach Hyman said: “Total team victory. Guys were battling. It took a full 60 to get it done, but we got it done.”
Meanwhile, Frederik Andersen made 28 saves for the Leafs. While the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask finished with 25 stops.
The Bruins failed to convert on their three power plays, and Toronto were 0-for-1.
“Defensively the ice was tough,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “It was humid in the building. But I thought our guys kept grinding and stayed patient. We didn’t get in our way tonight.”
The Leafs goals broke up what had been a defense-dominated game for two and a half periods.
Matthews’ fourth goal of the post-season came after he took a clever pass from Jake Muzzin before he found the open corner of the net on a slap shot with 8:27 left. Boston challenged Matthews’ goal. They argued that Rask was interfered with. However, the goal was upheld after a review.
“I guess you just hope for the best,” Matthews said. “I never really got a good look at it, but I’m fortunate that they called it a good goal. So you’ll take it.”
Kapanen got the Leafs second goal of the game less than two minutes later. He scored on a wrist shot. With the assists coming from Morgan Rielly and Andreas Johnsson. Kapanen was also credited with an assist on Matthews’ goal, along with Muzzin.
The Leafs failed to convert on their power play in the third. This after the Bruins were nabbed for having too many players on the ice.
Boston were two-for-two on power plays in Game four, helping propel them to the win. However, they couldn’t take advantage of their chances last night.
Babcock was already looking ahead to game six. He said: Obviously, the hardest game to win is the fourth game to put the other team out, especially a proud group of guys. It is something that we haven’t been able to do in the last three years ago. I don’t think we even should’ve been in the playoffs two or three years ago, but we got there. Now it is the process of learning how to do this.
“That is all a part of growing the group. It isn’t easy, as you can see in the league. It’s not easy. We will get prepared to push them.”