The Bruins knew going into tonight’s game that they would be dealing with an entirely new Toronto team, but came up short in preparations to contain them. Despite a late surge from the entire Bruins squad, the Leafs were able to hold onto a two-goal lead to tie the series, winning the game 4-2.
After twenty minutes in the books, the Bruins and Leafs were still tied at zero, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Tyler Seguin had a great first twenty, with numerous chances using his speed to beat the Leafs in the neutral zone and set up some great scoring opportunites. As a team, they came out ready to play a physical game and the Leafs were ready to respond. As the clock ticked down, the emotions began to rise and Colton Orr found himself in the box after a checking match with Brad Marchand ending with his fist connecting the the little ball of hate and himself in the box for roughing. Unfortunately the Bruins powerplay was short-lived as they found themselves in the box shortly after presenting some four-on-four play in the remaining minutes of the frame. Through the first frame the Leafs held a 12-10 edge in shots.
Just 1:58 into the second frame David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton would combine for the Bruins first goal of the game. Nathan Horton brought the puck up through the neutral zone and dropped the pass back to Milan Lucic who unleashed a bomb on James Reimer. With Horton crashing the crease he was able to poke the puck past Reimer and over the blue line. With two seconds left on Zdeno Chara‘s tripping penalty Joffrey Lupul was able to work the front of the net and snap the puck past Rask to tie the game at 5:18. 11:56 Fratten came through the netural zone with a burst of energy down center ice and a surging Joffrey Lupul on the left of him, receiving the pass just outside of the crease he was able to net his second of the night giving the Leafs their first lead of the night. Immediately after Tuukka Rask made back-to-back big saves somehow managing to keep a series of shots out of the net with help from Adam McQuaid.As the Bruins desperately tried to tie the game, Brad Marchand found himself on the receiving end of a Zdeno Chara slapshot and made his way down the tunnel with five minutes remaining. Fortunately for the Bruins, he made his way back to the bench after the commercial break.
Through the second half of the frame it was easy to see a momentum change swinging in the Leafs favor as they found ways to break down the Bruins defense and find the back of the net. Despite the Bruins outshooting the Leafs 18-14 in the middle frame and having a slew of chances in the closing minutes, they found themselves down 2-1 going into the final frame.
As Seidenberg releases the puck, Phil Kessel takes it and soars into the offensive zone with a breakaway. He was able to rip it through the five-hole of Rask and add some insurance to a much more physical Toronto team in the opening 90 seconds of the third frame. With just under half of the period remaining Johnny Boychuk blasted a shot from the blue line with Tyler Seguin camped out in front. With Seguin battling he created enough traffic for the shot to go in the goal behind Reimer, pulling the Bruins within one. Johnny Boychuk went from being scoreless in 24 games int he regular season, to scoring two goals in two games in the playoffs so far. With 3:07 remaining, despite the Bruins battling hard for the entire second half of the frame, James VanReimsdyk was able to pair up with Grabovski and add the insurance goal. Two minutes remaining the Bruins pulled Rask from the net in hopes of making a comeback, but unfortunately the new-found physicality of the Leafs was too much for the Bruins to contain.
However, the Bruins made a statement before the game was over as Shawn Thornton and Matt Frazer went for a jousting match in the final half-second in regulation. The two teams now head to Toronto for Game 3 with the series split at a game a piece. Their next faceoff is Monday night at 7:00PM ET being broadcast on NESN. You can bet that this is one game that you are not going to want to miss.