Coming into game 3 all the talk was about the Toronto Maple Leafs having their first home playoff game in 9 years. Not to mention that they stole game 2 of the series and were coming home tied with the 4th ranked Bruins. The Bruins knew that the crowd would be loud and would be against them. They knew they had to come ready to play if they wanted to quiet the crowd and win the game. With that said, the Bruins showed up in a big way. They came out skating hard and playing physical, which opened up ice for their playmakers. Jagr finally started taking control of the game which helped his line with Kelly and Peverley up their game and help chip in on offense.
The Bruins came out and physically dominated the game. They played smart in their own defensive end for the majority of the game and they limited their mistakes and giveaways which led to them having multiple great scoring chances. McQuaid started the scoring off in the first with a shot from the point that James Reimer could not see due to a screen in front and it snuck in high, far, blocker side. In the second period the Leafs got sloppy in their own end and allowed Jaromir Jagr to sneak in, steal the puck behind the net, and set up Rich Peverley for the second goal. The Leafs would turn it around and fight back. There were a flurry of penalty calls in the second period, some were good calls, some were questionable. Toronto, on the power play, would get a goal by Jake Gardiner when the Bruins would fail to get the puck out of the zone. With the crowd back in the game and Toronto within 1 goal of tying, the Bruins waited 50 seconds and quieted the crowd again with a Nathan Horton goal. The play was made when Milan Lucic beat the defender at the blue line with a nice move and set up a wide open Horton in front of the net. That was one of Milan Lucic’s 3 assists in what was a great night for him.
Within all the penalties in the second period, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a number of power plays. With many opportunities to get back in the game, Toronto instead played sloppy and eventually turned over the puck which led to a Daniel Paille short handed goal. The Bruins took a 4-1 lead into the third period. With the Maple Leafs stunned and the fans quiet the Maple Leafs did what they could to fight back in the third. Phil Kessel got a power play goal less than a minute in which put a little life back in the Leafs. But in the end, the Bruins dominated the third period. They physically out played the Leafs and led the game in hits. Tuukka Rask played a great game and held the game in check in the third period with some big saves. The Bruins would get a late empty net goal which would end it.
There was a lot to like for Bruins fan coming out of this game. The Bruins played physical, they were smart with the puck, and most importantly they were capitalizing on opportunities and scoring goals. Jagr had a strong game, and he helped pick up his line. The third line showed up for the first time this playoff season and they were a big part of the Bruins success. Unlike game two, the Leafs were their old selves, especially Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel. Kessel did get a goal in the third period but finished the game as a minus 1. Phaneuf had a couple big hits, but overall was shaky and had trouble handling the puck. He was part of the reason for the Paille shorthanded goal. In the end the Maple leafs got out played in every aspect of the game. With the hype built up so much going into game 3. The Leafs, who did not play terribly, did not play well enough to even compete with the Bruins. Toronto needs to come out better on Wednesday or they see little chance to see anything after game 5 in this series.
About the Author: I am a Freelance Production Assistant for Comcast Sportsnet and former New York Rangers intern. I am an enthusiast of all sports and want to share my knowledge with those who are interested in reading what I have to say. Follow me on Twitter @ shmity91
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