The Boston Bruins have grabbed a 3-1 series advantage after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night. The Leafs grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but couldn’t hold it as the Bruins responded with three straight goals in the second period. Clarke MacArthur levelled the score and forced overtime, but Boston found the back of the net late in the extra frame.
Toronto looked strong in the final period and overtime as they out shot Boston 25-16 over that stretch. The Bruins took advantage of a failed Dion Phaneuf pinch, however, and sealed the deal. The Leafs will now have an uphill climb if they plan to win the series as they have to post three straight victories, including two in Boston.
Here are some things that stood out from the game.
Krejci has been destroying the Leafs in this series and he was easily the best player on the ice tonight for either team. He recorded a hat-trick, including the overtime winner that he snapped home on a 2-on-1. Krejci is one of the more underrated players in the game and his skill set is something the Leafs haven’t been able to handle. He can be a creative set up man and clearly can find the back of the net as well.
The Leafs didn’t do as good of a job at pressuring and laying the body on Chara tonight. The big defenseman was able to make several strong outlet passes and had way too much time to move the puck in his own zone. He had a quiet four assists on the night and this was by far his best performance of the series.
The Leafs have been getting owned in the face-off circle this series and it seems like nobody other than Tyler Bozak has a fighting chance to win a draw. The Bruins were 55% in that area on Wednesday and they did a good job of helping out their special teams in the process. Boston was able to win draws in their own end on several occasions while shorthanded, which gave them an opportunity to clear the zone quickly. This can lead to erasing the first 30 seconds of a man advantage and the Leafs went 0-for-3 on the power play tonight.
The Leafs are still trying to find secondary scoring help and although MacArthur got one, they need more production out of the second and third line. Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, and Joffrey Lupul combined for 25 shots, but no other Leaf had more than three. Mikhail Grabovski had another strong effort, however, he just can’t seem to buy one these days. Once again Nazem Kadri’s offensive contribution was minimal and he doesn’t seem any closer to breaking through.
This sort of ties into secondary scoring, but the Leafs are no longer getting those timely goals like they were late in the regular season. As they were pushing for a playoff spot, it seemed almost on a nightly basis they would get out shot and James Reimer would give them a chance to win. Eventually someone from the Leafs would find a way to get a late goal to give the team a victory. They had plenty of chances in the third and even the overtime, but just couldn’t find the all important tally on this night.