After Monday night’s Game 3 loss, it was hard to say that the Bruins truly played a bad game. Sure, there were some breakdowns here and there. But the team also had the better of the scoring chances and probably would have won by 2 or 3 goals if not for the play of Frederik Andersen.
Tonight, Tuukka Rask returned the favor.
Rask stopped 31 of 32 shots in a game that saw the Leafs truly run right over the Bruins for extended stretches, helping the team to a 3-1 win and a 3-1 series lead.
It might be a tiny bit of a stretch to say that Rask truly stole this game, but without his stellar play, the Bruins would be looking at a 2-2 series and a quiet plane ride back to Boston.
Rask’s tremendous performance was bolstered by the Bruins taking advantage of Toronto’s mistakes. While the Leafs seemed to set up camp in the Bruins’ end for minutes at a time, the Bruins’ chances were more of the one-and-done variety.
However, they were able to cash in on two of those one-and-dones, and those ended up being the difference.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand converted on a 2-on-1 in the second, then David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk converted on another 2-on-1 in the third to give the Bruins an insurance goal.
The second period was where Rask truly stood out. While the Leafs were only credited for 10 shots in the period, they seemed to spend 90% of the period in the offensive zone. The Bruins didn’t do themselves any favors, turning the puck over with reckless abandon, but Rask stood tall.
Looks like the sports radio callers will need something else to discuss tomorrow.
- Jake DeBrusk was immense tonight, but Colin and Chris both made an interesting observation: he had the least ice time among Bruin forwards. He certainly made his impact felt in those minutes, and was great in all three zones.
- Nothing on the scoresheet, but I thought Rick Nash had a good game. He created a few good chances and made some responsible plays in his own zone late.
- It certainly wasn’t David Backes’ night. The veteran was a mess in all three zones, particularly the defensive zone. There was a sequence in the second where he forced an Auston Matthews turnover in the offensive zone, immediately turned it back over, skated back into the defensive zone, got the puck and turned it over again. He was still valuable along the boards and wasn’t a complete lost cause, but this game won’t be going on his highlight reel.
- Somewhat surprisingly, there was only one penalty called in tonight’s game. The Leafs got away with one in the third, when a Leaf was “pushed” into the crease and “accidentally” knocked the net off its pegs while Brad Marchand had clean possession behind the net. ACCIDENT.
- The Bruins’ fourth line has been great in this series. Tommy Wingels, who drew back in tonight, was effective as well. The entire line seems to just fly around with reckless abandon, hitting anything that moves. They may have been on the wrong end of the Auston Matthews goal in Game 3, but they’ve been great otherwise.
- The Leafs once again won the faceoff battle tonight, and by quite a margin: 67% to 33%. Noel Acciari and Tim Schaller were the only guys at 50% or better; David Krejci had a particularly tough night, coming in at 21%. Something to keep an eye on in Game 5.