Talking Points: Rask brings “A” game despite loss
Tyler Bozak struck the blow that ended up giving the Leafs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on a gift power play at the end of the third period, but Bozak still had to finish off the play that gives Toronto more life moving forward. Bozak had a strong game with four shots on net, seven shot attempts and 15-of-20 face off wins to go along with a hit and a takeaway in 15:07 of ice time. With his 17th goal of the season and 48th point of the year Bozak is putting together another sneaky strong season for the Maple Leafs, and he made the big play when Toronto needed somebody to step up at the end of the third period. He also did a pretty good job holding Krejci and Spooner’s lines in check when he was matched up against them on the ice for much of the night. So a good all-around effort from Bozak.
The refs were brutal on Monday night. Patrice Bergeron was hammered from behind in the corner and they called matching penalties when the center reacted by throwing Nikita Soshnikov to the ice. That resulted in Toronto’s first goal during 4-on-4 play. Then they blew a play dead later in the first period with Boston controlling play in the offensive zone because Matt Martin had broken a skate blade and was struggling to get off the ice from the other end of the ice. Then came the coup de grace in the third period as Dominic Moore was whistled for a bogus interference call in the closing minutes of a 1-1 game. Toronto ultimately won the game after scoring on the ensuing power play. Justin St. Pierre and Dan O’Halloran botched things in a big way from start-to-finish and ended up doing a big favor for Toronto in the process.
The Bruins scored the game’s first goal early in the first period and appeared ready to start rolling, but a call in the first period really stopped Boston in their tracks. Nikita Soshnikov crashed into Patrice Bergeron from behind and boarded the B’s center while slamming his head into the glass above the boards. Bergeron responded by popping up and defending himself, but there’s no way the Bruins should have earned anything less than a power play in the transaction. Instead they called boarding and roughing matching penalties, and Morgan Rielly scored on the ensuing 4-on-4 play with the advantage tilting toward the speedy, skilled Leafs. That killed Boston’s early momentum and settled both teams into a 1-1 game until those final, few fateful moments.
Tuukka Rask had his “A” game for the Bruins while stopping 25-of-27 shots with both goals given up after Boston’s special teams units got running around in their own end. He was at his best making 10 stops in the second period to keep the score locked at 1-1, and made his best save on Matt Hunwick crashing to the net and finishing off a Mitch Marner feed. If Rask plays this way the rest of the season then the Bruins aren’t going to have any problems finishing up strong with a playoff spot. Rask should be warmed up when he takes the ice against the Senators on Tuesday night at TD Garden in the back end of the important back-to-back.
BY THE NUMBERS
0-4 -- the Bruins final record vs. the Leafs this season while getting outscored by a 18-9 margin
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I thought it was an egregious call to be perfectly honest with you. It happens probably 100 times in a game, but we need to be better on penalty kill." – Bruce Cassidy, on the third period interference call in the final minutes that ended up tipping the balance in Toronto’s favor with a power play goal.