Last night the Boston Bruins faced the Toronto Maple Leafs for what could rightfully be the last time of the season at the Air Canada Centre. While the game couldn’t be decided in the allotted sixty-minute time frame, the additional sudden death overtime pushed the Bruins to new limits and put them on top 4-3.
Scoring got underway early on in the first period as the Leafs beat Tuukka Rask on their first shot on goal with Joffrey Lupul breaking through the defense to light the lamp. The goal came at just 2:35 into the frame, but the Bruins didn’t give up. From that point on they stepped up their defensive game and created a lot of pressure in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, as the clock winded down, the Leafs would find a way to use the Bruins defense as their own screen, with Zdeno Chara blocking the netminders’ view and allowing Cody Franson to net one from the blue line at 18:32. The Bruisd owned the Leafs on the shot clock, but fell short when it came to finding the back of the net, David Krejci seemingly having the best opportunity as he rang a bad angle shot off the post. Down by 2, the Bruins needed to step up their physicality and find the back of the net.
To begin the second period they used the man-advantage carrying over from the first period to their favor. As Zdeno Chara took a blast, Jaromir Jagr and Patrice Bergeron crashed then net to jam in the rebound just 32 seconds into the frame to cut the Leafs lead to 1. The power play goal gave the Bruins the added confidence and momentum they had been seeking as their focus dialed in to scoring. At 12:59 Brad Marchand would snipe a shot toward James Reimer that David Krejci would get a piece of for a re-direct and tie the game at 2. The goal came for the 18th point of the postseason for the Krejci line, a feat unheard of through the regular season. However, the goals didn’t start there as the David Krejci train kept on rolling as just three minutes and some change later he would snap a shot that beat Reimaer once again for the go-ahead goal. However, it seemed as though the Bruins celebrated a bit too long as just 54 seconds later MacArthur beat Rask to re-tie the game at 3 a piece. The Bruins still held the edge in shots with 29 to the Leafs 23, but were prepared to come out dominant in the final frame in order to come out on top.
The third period consisted of high-paced back and forth puck movement between the two teams. The Bruins managed to get a four-minute powerplay after Nazim Kadri threw a high-stick into the face of Chris Kelly, but unfortunately couldn’t convert. Then there came this:
Joffrey Lupul getting hit with his own stick that resulted in a penalty on Zdeno Chara. How? We’re not exactly sure, but the Bruins were able to fend off the Leafs in what could have been a deciding goal and push the game into overtime.
As we all know overtimes are heart attack city in themselves, let alone the added pressure of playoffs and such, or the fact that they are twenty minutes long as opposed to five. However, the Bruins didn’t give up as they fought through pain and no doubt exhaustion to overcome the Leafs. At 13:06 Nathan Horton took a hit from the Leafs sending his stick flying and himself into a huddle on the ice to create a play for David Krejci and Milan Lucic. As they went up the ice, Krejci slowed the puck down making it look like he was going to pass it to Lucic and then snapped a shot past Reimer for the game-winning goal and his second career postseason hat trick.
The Bruins now head back to the TD Garden in hopes of ending the series and advancing to the next round of the playoffs to become the first Eastern Conference team to advance. Game time is Friday night at 7:00PM ET.