And that’s why the Maple Leafs gave Patrick Marleau the big contract. Fans should not worry about the third year of his contract as who knows how well he will or will not play. I remember when the Phoenix Suns of the NBA gave Steve Nash a five year contract when he was 30. The big concern was what would happen when he was in the last year or two of his contract. Well, he was the NBA’s MVP the first two seasons of the contract and if memory serves me correctly, he was second in his third year. Nash was still a second team NBA All-Star in year four of the contract.
Getting back to Marleau, he signed a three-year deal in the off-season and at age 38, too many pundits were worried about the third year. Well, in the first year, he pots two goals in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-2 win over Boston.
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TORONTO 4 BOSTON 2
As great as Marleau was, the star of the game was Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen. Andersen turned aside 40 shots as the Maple Leafs got back in the series as the Bruins lead two games to one with Game 4 in Toronto on Thursday. The funny thing is that both Boston goals were rather weak but Andersen came up big time-after-time, especially in the third period when he stopped all 18 shots. He robbed David Pastrnak late in the game and even the Maple Leafs on the bench were in awe as the replay was shown on the big screen.
The first goal of the game was a result of a bad penalty call on Riley Nash of the Bruins who flipped the puck off the glass and out of play. The referees and the linesmen got together and ruled the puck did not hit the glass and sent Nash to the box. The Leafs scored seven seconds later as James van Riemsdyk knocked in a rebound to give Toronto the lead.
The goals came fast and furious in the second as Adam McQuaid’s shot eluded Andersen and just rolled over the goal line. Marleau’s first of the game came on a nice feed from Mitch Marner, while Zdeno Chara tied the game at 2 at the 6:19 mark of the second as he scored from a tough angle with Andersen on his knees rather than standing up.
Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots in taking the loss.
NEW JERSEY 5 TAMPA BAY 2
The Devils also got themselves back in their series as Taylor Hall led the way with a goal and two assists while Cory Schneider won for the first time since December 27 as the Devils dumped the Lightning 5-2.
Schneider had lost his job as the number one goalie to Keith Kinkaid and had not won in his last 12 starts before tonight’s game but he stopped 34 shots and played through some cramps for the big win. It looks as if Schneider has regained his spot as the number one netminder in New Jersey, although this could be temporary.
Hall has been the star of the Devils all season and that continued on Monday as he was in on the first three goals.
Alex Killorn opened the scoring for Tampa Bay as he potted his fourth of the season. If you took him in the middle rounds of your playoff draft, kudos as he has been great. Hall then tied things up with an unassisted goal and the second period ended at 1’s after a scoreless first stanza.
Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead with Nikita Kucherov and Killorn drawing the assists on the power play goal. The trio each had two points and both Tampa Bay goals came in the first minute of play in the second and third periods.
But rookie defenseman Will Butcher tied the game with a power play goal of his own as he scored for the first time in the playoffs and Stefan Noesen scored the game-winner at 12:55 of the third on a setup from Hall.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots as the Devils outshot Tampa Bay 41-36.
Tempers flared with 23 seconds to go in the game as all ten players on the ice received misconducts. There were a total of 132 penalty minutes in the game.
COLORADO 5 NASHVILLE 3
The Colorado Avalanche became the third team on Monday to win on home ice and cut the lead in their series to 2-1 as they held on to beat the Nashville Predators 5-3.
The Avs came out flying as they scored the first four goals of the game, including three goals in the first period as they played like their playoff lives were at stake (which they were).
Blake Comeau gave the Avalanche an early lead as he scored 1:50 into the first. Gabriel Bourque made it 2-0 and then superstar Nathan MacKinnon took over. He scored his first of two goals to complete the scoring in the first and then scored his third of the series in the second period to give Colorado a 4-0 lead. It was at this point that Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was pulled as he was able to stop only 11-of-15 shots.
But Nashville did not quit and showed why they were the President Trophy winners as they scored two in a row to make it a game. Ryan Johansen made it 4-1 to end the second period and Colton Sissons cut the lead to two goals in the third as the Predators came on strong.
But Gabriel Landeskog scored into the empty net to clinch it and give him a three point night rendering Auston Watson’s goal with 1:15 to go meaningless.
It was a tough night for Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala, Roman Josi and Ellis as all four were a minus-three. MacKinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog, Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov were all plus-three for Colorado.
SAN JOSE 8 ANAHEIM 1
The Anaheim Ducks are in huge trouble. They lost their third straight game as the San Jose Sharks annihilated them 8-1 to put the Ducks behind the eight-ball as they are down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.
It was actually 1-1 after one as Logan Couture opened the scoring but Rickard Rakell scored his first of the playoffs, on the power play, to tie it and give the Ducks some hope heading into the second.
The hope ended there as the Sharks scored four unanswered goals in the middle period as Joonas Donskoi, Marcus Sorensen, Eric Fehr and Tomas Hertl were the goal scorers. Not exactly the cream of the crop as far as goal scorers are concerned but the Sharks are getting scoring from all four lines and that is a major reason for the commanding lead in the series. That ended the night for John Gibson as he gave up five goals on 24 shots.
Couture and Donskoi had three point nights with Pavelski, Kane and Sorensen each drawing an assist in addition to their goals.
It took until the seventh goal by the Sharks for one of their defensemen to garner a point as Marc-Edouard Vlasic drew an assist on Kane’s goal.
Ryan Getzlaf picked up 16 penalty minutes including a misconduct with 8:48 left in the third.