The Toronto Maple Leafs will live another day in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Maple Leafs relied on another huge game from James Reimer in net to withstand a flurry of late chances from the Boston Bruins to escape Beantown with a 2-1 win. The Leafs will try to extend the series to seven games when they host the Bruins in Game 6 on Sunday night. Here are some thoughts from the game:
Reimer Steals One
Reimer put on a vintage performance tonight, turning away 43 shots. The Leafs dominated the first period, out shooting the Bruins 19-8, but it was all Bruins from that point on as they out shot the Leafs 36-14. Reimer had to make a few gigantic saves, including a Patrice Bergeron attempt in the second period that he had to stretch to get his toe on. On another, with eleven seconds left on the clock, Reimer was able to get his stick on a Jaromir Jagr shot that was bound for the top corner. On the Bruins’ only goal of the night, Reimer couldn’t contain a shot and allowed the rebound to slip back into the slot. The Bruins continued to keep possession in the Leafs’ zone for over a minute before Zdeno Chara’s shot from the upper slot beat Reimer over the right shoulder. Beyond that one hiccup, Reimer was outstanding, and is ultimately the reason why the Leafs are still in the playoffs.
With Mark Fraser on the shelf after taking a puck to the face in Game 4, the Leafs were forced to shake things up on defense. Jake Gardiner was paired with Cody Franson, and the two slick puck-moving defensemen stepped up big time. Gardiner led all Leafs d-men with over 24 minutes of ice time, while Franson was second with almost 23. Head coach Randy Carlyle has learned to trust playing Gardiner in all situations after making him a healthy scratch the first two games of the series. John-Michael Liles also drew back into the lineup with the Fraser injury and played pretty well alongside Ryan O’Byrne.
MacArthur Scores Again
For the second game in a row, Clarke MacArthur scored a big goal, and this one turned out to be the game-winner. MacArthur wheeled down the left wing and was able to cut right in front of Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask, and slide a backhander by him on the far side. He finished the night with three shots in only 7:13 of ice time. I don’t know what MacArthur has to do to get himself off the fourth line, but Carlyle seems intent on keeping him there. Let’s hope he’s given more of an opportunity to play with offensive players in Game 6.
Good Bozak, Bad Bozak
First, the good: Tyler Bozak scored a big shorthanded goal to open the scoring for the Leafs. Bruins’ defenseman Andrew Ference let the puck get by him at the offensive blue line and lost the foot race to Bozak, who took the puck in on Rask and squeaked a shot between his arm. But unfortunately that was the lone bright spot for Bozak in this one. He won only 29 per cent of his face-offs and took a bad delay of game penalty late in the game for flipping the puck over the glass. If Bozak is going to see over 21 minutes of ice time and lead all Leafs forwards in that regard, he has to be better. There’s a certain offensive wizard named Nazem Kadri who I’m sure would love to see some of that ice time.