April 26, 2018

Maple Leafs narrow gap in Game 3

17 April 2018, 10:25 | Sandy Nunez

Mirtle How the Maple Leafs got back to who they are in Game 3. And back into this series

Mirtle How the Maple Leafs got back to who they are in Game 3. And back into this series

In a 2-0 hole and needing Andersen to step up in the worst possible way, the Maple Leafs netminder had a flawless opening frame before briefly turning into Swiss cheese during a three-minute span in the second.

You can't win them all.

Boston's 2-0 series lead is simply a case of the Bruins' best players playing like they are their team's best players.

Minnesota wasn't outplayed as badly on the road as Toronto was, but the night and day difference between the Wild at home compared to on the road is something the Maple Leafs can use as motivation. The strategy has overwhelmed Toronto as the Maple Leafs have constantly been held within their own defensive zone unable to get anything going offensively.

The B's had a couple of great chance to tie it up once again before the second period was over.

But in reality, the B's also knew that at some point the youthful speed and skill of the Leafs would be a factor in this best-of-seven tussle. The Bruins were rattling shots off the post and it seemed like the net was on lockdown.

Auston Matthews, who tallied the first playoff game-winnig goal of his fledgling career in Game 3, was a little more blunt with his assessment of his goaltender's art.

Each team had just one power-play chance and the Leafs scored on their only opportunity in the first period. But Andersen committed the cardinal sin for goalies - he let in another softie after his teammates worked mightily to get the lead back.

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In total, Pastrnak and his line mates have wracked up 20 points, the Leafs top line only has 2 points.

At the same time, it just wasn't the Bruins' night! It was the defense. Sure, they do have a high-powered offense and power play, but they'll give up plenty of scoring chances, too.

Fortunately for the Leafs, Matthews and Nylander stepped forward in the last half of the period with their best work of the series.

That was a delay of game/puck over the glass penalty late in the first that led to a James van Riemsdyk power-play goal. It doesn't look like things will be getting easier, because the Bruins may have lost another player.

He gave up 12 goals in less than four periods before being pulled late in the first period of Game 2.

- Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara became the seventh defenseman 40 years of age or older to ever score a playoff goal. The Bruins were lucky to head to the dressing room down only one. Especially after a rough game.

Matt Grzelcyk looks "doubtful" for this game, meaning Nick Holden will likely slide in on a third pairing with Adam McQuaid. "They made a good play, they got on top of the crease and earned it, earned their ice".

Sharks 8, Ducks 1 (Sharks lead series 3-0): The Anaheim Ducks need a miracle after Monday's embarrassment. The young guns need to be able to relax and not be forcing plays. But only the Bruins are taking advantage of special teams in the first two games of the series. "We knew they were going to push back".

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