Leafs earn cru­cial Game 3 vic­tory

Mar­leau scores twice and Matthews pots one as Toronto re­sponds at home

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - TERRY KOSHAN tkoshan@post­media.com


Stand wit­ness, in­deed. The Toronto Maple Leafs, all but dead in some cor­ners fol­low­ing the first two games of their first-round se­ries against the Bos­ton Bru­ins, are back.

Win­ners of a club-record 29 games at the Air Canada Cen­tre dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Leafs shrugged off a cou­ple of dis­mal re­sults in Bos­ton and beat the Bru­ins 4-2 on Mon­day night. The Bru­ins lead the Eastern Con­fer­ence best-of-seven 2-1 with Game 4 set for Thurs­day night in Toronto.

Patrick Mar­leau scored two goals for the Leafs, in­clud­ing an in­sur­ance marker with under four min­utes to play on a two-on-one, beat­ing Tuukka Rask on the glove side. The Leafs who hit the ice on Mon­day night looked a lot like the group that racked up a fran­chis­ere­cord 105 points dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Speed, which had not been as ev­i­dent in the first two games in Bos­ton, was a defin­ing fac­tor. The Leafs sup­ported each other in the of­fen­sive zone, keep­ing Rask on his toes and en­sur­ing the Bru­ins de­fence­men were con­sis­tently look­ing over their shoul­ders. Goal­tender Fred­erik An­der­sen might have wanted an­other shot at the Bru­ins’ two goals, but he was ex­cel­lent af­ter, fin­ish­ing with 40 saves, in­clud­ing a ridicu­lous stick save on David Pas­tr­nak late in the third pe­riod.

The Leafs were con­fi­dent An­der­sen would re­bound af­ter be­ing pulled in Game 2 and their be­liefs were well-founded.

And how about that Pa­trice Berg­eron line, so pro­lific back at home with a to­tal of 20 points in Games 1 and 2?

Leafs coach Mike Bab­cock moved To­mas Plekanec up to the sec­ond line be­tween Mar­leau and Mitch Marner, us­ing the trio against Berg­eron, Brad Marc­hand and Pas­tr­nak. While the Berg­eron group had its chances, it did not score, and af­ter a cou­ple of months of wan­der­ing in the wilder­ness, Plekanec’s savvy came through. The Plekanec line had five points.

The Leafs were dis­ci­plined as well, go­ing short-handed just once af­ter the Bru­ins scored five power play goals on 10 op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first two games.

The Leafs car­ried a 3-2 lead into the sec­ond in­ter­mis­sion af­ter both teams scored a pair of goals in the sec­ond pe­riod.

The third Toronto goal came from a cou­ple of fa­mil­iar sources: Aus­ton Matthews and Wil­liam Ny­lan­der, nei­ther of whom had a point in the first two games. Matthews took a pass from Ny­lan­der and beat Rask high at 14:47. Matthews cel­e­brated with glee and, soon af­ter, a chant of “Aus­ton Matth-ews!” went up. The Bru­ins’ two goals came on shots An­der­sen should have stopped, and nei­ther came from who you would call usual sus­pects. De­fence­man Adam McQuaid, who had one goal in 38 games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, tied the game 1-1 at 3:06 when his shot from the point squeaked in under An­der­sen’s left leg and over the goal line.

The crowd of 19,663 might have won­dered how the Leafs would re­spond. They didn’t for long. Marner, whose hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion is the envy of many across the NHL, cor­ralled a Mor­gan Rielly pass at the Bru­ins blue line and waited for Mar­leau to get a burst of speed. Then it was a pass to Mar­leau’s tape, with the puck wind­ing up under Rask and into the net just 43 sec­onds af­ter the McQuaid goal. The Leafs’ joy dis­si­pated soon, how­ever. Zdeno Chara, not ex­actly boast­ing the soft­est hands, beat An­der­sen from a sharp an­gle at 6:19, scor­ing off An­der­sen’s mask. The Leafs had their first lead of the se­ries when James van Riems­dyk scored a power-play goal at 17:05 of the first pe­riod, set­ting up in his of­fice at the edge of the crease and pop­ping a Tyler Bozak re­bound past Rask.

That goal sent an al­ready-fren­zied crowd into over­drive, wav­ing the white tow­els that each had wait­ing at his or her seat upon ar­rival.

Said van Riems­dyk af­ter the morn­ing skate: “We have a lot of con­fi­dent play­ers on our team and there is al­ways go­ing to be ad­ver­sity over the course of a sea­son. You have to be able to re­spond in those mo­ments, and as a team col­lec­tively we have been able to re­spond (well) when we’ve hit some ad­ver­sity dur­ing the course of the year.”

Al­ready with­out the sus­pended Nazem Kadri and the in­jured Leo Ko­marov, the Leafs looked to have lost speedy rookie An­dreas Johns­son in the third pe­riod af­ter Johns­son and Marc­hand col­lided in the Leafs’ end.

Johns­son fell to the ice, favour­ing his left leg, and had to be helped to the dress­ing room. Af­ter miss­ing a cou­ple of shifts, Johns­son re­turned.

Dur­ing his morn­ing avail­abil­ity, Bab­cock said Ko­marov will skate on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day and will be a game-time de­ci­sion for Game 4.


Toronto Maple Leafs star Aus­ton Matthews cel­e­brates his sec­ond pe­riod goal against the Bos­ton Bru­ins in Game 3 of the first round se­ries at the Air Canada Cen­tre, in a game the des­per­ate Leafs won 4-2 af­ter drop­ping the first two con­tests in Bos­ton...

Toronto Maple Leafs for­ward James van Riems­dyk scored the first goal of the game on Bos­ton Bru­ins goal­tender Tuukka Rask and was promptly swarmed by team­mates Mon­day night at the Air Canada Cen­tre.


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