TORONTO – Well, it’s official that the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t just going to roll over and die in their first round series.
After getting blown out in the first two games in Boston, the Leafs won a nip-and-tuck 4-2 decision over the Bruins in Game 3 at the Air Canada Centre where they were able to pick on the Torey Krug and Kevan Miller defensemen pairing, hold down the Patrice Bergeron line for the first time in the series and survive a couple more soft goals allowed by Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen.
It was certainly a necessary step for the Leafs if they want to prolong the series while getting a foothold down 2-to-1 in the best of seven series, but the Bruins have to feel like this could have easily gone their way had a few things gone differently.
The scoring started with a controversial twist as Riley Nash was whistled for a too many men on the ice penalty on a puck that clearly hit the glass before it went up and over. Frankly, the play should have never been a penalty call. Still, the Leafs scored seven seconds into the power play possession when James van Riemsdyk shoveled home the rebound of a Tyler Bozak testing shot on Tuukka Rask.
That was all the scoring in the first period, and the only penalty called until a Patrick Marleau hooking whistle in the opening minutes of the third period.
Instead it was a back-and-forth affair in the second period with Adam McQuaid scoring on a long distance shot to tie things up, and then 43 seconds later Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau were able to attack the Krug and Miller pairing. Zdeno Chara again came back and scored a bad-angle, top-shelf goal against Frederik Andersen that would certainly be in the soft category, but once again the Maple Leafs battled back.
It was Auston Matthews that once again snapped the deadlock and got involved in the series with his own short side snipe to the top shelf for his first goal of the postseason. The Bruins had their chances to come back in the third with a power play of their own very early on, but Andersen made a pair of sensational stops against David Pastrnak to keep the Black and Gold off the board. Marleau finished another chance on a nasty snipe in the final few minutes of the third period to ice it for the Leafs and give them life in the series.