Toronto Maple Leafs defeat Boston Bruins to take lead in series
Auston Matthews scored his first goal of the playoff series and also set-up another as Toronto beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series quarterfinal.
Andreas Johnsson also got a goal and an assist for the Leafs. Meanwhile, Trevor Moore provided the remainder of the offence for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also, Frederik Andersen produced 34 stops.
Charlie Coyle and David Krejci had replied for the Bruins. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask saved 31 shots for the visitors in front of a capacity and rowdy crowd of 19,611 at Scotiabank Arena.
The Leafs had previously downed the Bruins by 4-1 in the opener on Wednesday at TD Garden before the Leafs fell to the same score on Saturday’s second game.
Game four occurs on Wednesday in Toronto.
The Leafs had learnt less than an hour before the puck drop that Nazem Kadri was suspended for the rest of the seven-game series. This as a result of the centre’s vicious cross-check to the head of Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk in the third period of Game four.
It was goalless following a spirited first period. The home side upped their physical play after getting dominated in game two. The offensive floodgates then opened with five goals in the second period.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 2:38 when Moore poked a free puck home after Morgan Rielly’s initial shot rattled around between Rask’s pads for his first career playoff goal.
The Leafs fourth line of Frederik Gauthier, Tyler Ennis and Moore were active all night with a couple of hard shifts in the offensive zone.
It took Boston just 52 seconds to reply when Krejci chipped a bouncing puck over Andersen with DeBrusk also on the doorstep.
Meanwhile, Rask stopped John Tavares later in the same period. However, the Leafs centre was checked into the Bruins goalie by defenceman Charlie McAvoy. He went tumbling backwards. But managed to stay in the game after stretching out his left shoulder and neck.
Matthews then put the Maple Leafs back in front just 12 seconds after David Backes was stopped for a high-stick on Kasperi Kapanen. He took a feed from Johnsson. Before burying his first beyond an outstretched Rask to send the Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy.
Mitch Marner, who scored twice in the opening game of the series was held in check along with most of his teammates on Saturday. He made the first play to Johnsson off the offensive zone draw.
Auston Matthew was criticized for his play in the Bruins’ seven-game victory over the Maple Leafs last year’s first round. However, the 21-year-old Matthews was immediately serenaded by chants of “Aus-ton! Matth-ews!” by the crowd on this night.
Mike Babcock was pleased with his team’s performance. Speaking to reporters after the game, he said: I thought we had a really good first seven minutes. And then we started turning the puck over and I thought then they had a good [period of] play. We were able to get it back before the end of the period.
I don’t know what their coach said. I didn’t listen. But I thought it was a higher level game than the other games. It was quicker and both teams were better. In the other two games, I think one team was better each night. Tonight was a hard-fought game.