Tonight marked the Toronto Maple Leafs first home playoff since 2004, thousands of fans wearing blue and white packed into the ACC and Maple Leaf square to join the party. Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the Boston Bruins this was the Leafs party, as the Bruins rained on the Leafs parade by taking the game 5-2.
After a big win in game 2 by the Leafs, you knew the Bruins were going to come out hard and they did. The last game served as a wake-up call for the Bruins, the Leafs would not go down without a fight and if the Bruins planned on winning this series they needed to bring their “A” game every night.
Tonight was a perfect example of what happens when the Leafs get off their game and try to play more physical than the Bruins. While the Leafs were the faster and more skilled team for most of the night, when they got off their game plan the Bruins made them pay. They ran around laying big hits and trying to make fancy passes, which made them confused and forced them to turn the puck over. The Bruins made sure to make the Leafs pay while they had the chance.
- Leafs continue to try and play a more physical game than the Bruins and it cost them tonight. Go through the entire Bruins roster, name one player who won’t drop the mitts? The Leafs tried to win the physical battle and they lost, the Bruins pride themselves on their physical play. You saw when the Leafs skated and used their skill, they were all over the Bruins and had them on their heels. Leafs must use their speed to win this series not their physical play.
- One of the area’s the Leafs need to win is on the special teams. They had 5 power plays and only capitalized on 2. The Leafs need to make the Bruins pay while the Bruins are in the box.
- Who woke Milan Lucic up? He was flying tonight, out-skating and out-hitting the Leafs forwards. He put up 3 points and took 2 penalties and had 5 shots. If Lucic is back on his game it’s good news for the Bruins and bad news for the Leafs.
- Tyler Seguin is really snake-bitten. Seguin has had chance after chance, but hasn’t been able to pull the trigger.
- Randy Carlyle once again mixed his lines up to spread the offence and get Phil Kessel away from Zdeno Chara. Line combinations tonight featured Kessel- Kadri- Hamilton and Bozak- Lupul- Frattin, with Kessel mixing in. It didn’t work as well tonight for the Leafs as it did in game 2, but Carlyle is winning the chess match.
- If you watched Coaches Corner during game two of this series, Don Cherry talked about the linesman constantly throwing the centreman out of the face-off. He referred to them as “failed referees”. What started as a bit of a trend has gotten way out of control, there is rarely a face-off in where the centre isn’t thrown out. There’s emotion everywhere, let the centre’s battle it out.
Coming into this series the Leafs needed James Reimer to step up and steal a couple games in this series, through three games he hasn’t been able to do that. Now don’t get me wrong Reimer has been playing just fine between the pipes, but he’s been out-goaltended by Tuukka Rask and that’s why the Bruins are up 2-1. Rask was the difference in game 2, he was tested nearly 50 times and stood tall to give his Bruins the big win.
- Oddly enough the Leafs out-shot their the Bruins 47-38.