- Big Bad Blog - http://bigbadblog.weei.com -

Maple Leafs even series with Game 2 win

The Maple Leafs [1] pulled even with the Bruins Saturday night, coming away with a 4-2 win at TD Garden and sending the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals back to Toronto with the series tied, 1-1.

Nathan Horton [2] scored his second goal in as many games early in the second period to open the scoring, but the Leafs tied it and jumped out to a 2-1 lead on a pair of goals from Joffrey Lupul. The Leafs widened the gap early in the third, with Phil Kessel [3] scoring his first even-strength goal against the Bruins in 24 career games vs. his former club. Johnny Boychuk [4] made it a one-goal game with just under 10 minutes to play by sending a shot through traffic and past James Reimer.

James van Riemsdyk sealed the game with his second goal of the postseason, tucking the puck into the corner of the net while losing his balance to put the contest out of reach.

For reasons explained below, the Bruins badly missed Andrew Ference [5], who was suspended for the game due to his illegal check to the head of Mikhail Grabovski in Game 1. His absence put the B’s in a defensive jam during a penalty kill that led to Lupul’s goal, while the domino effect of his absence had a hand in Kessel’s tally.

Tuukka Rask [6] stopped 28 of 32 shots he saw, while Reimer made 39 saves on 41 shots in the win.

The series will head Air Canada Centre [7], where the teams will play Game 3 Monday and Game 4 Wednesday.


– The Seidenberg-Boychuk pairing was on the ice for both of Toronto’s first two even-strength goals, while Seidenberg was on the ice for all of them and was a minus-3. Zdeno Chara [8] had a forgettable night as well, taking two penalties and nearly injuring Brad Marchand [9] with a slapshot (see below), though he did get a helper on Boychuk’s goal.

– The Bruins were the best penalty-killing team in the league until late in the season and eventually finished fourth. It seems those special teams struggles have carried over into the postseason, as Boston has allowed a power play goal to the Leads in each of the first two games of the series.

With Zdeno Chara [8] in the box and Andrew Ference [5] suspended, the B’s were pretty thin on the backend on the power play that yielded Lupul’s goal. Jake Gardiner fired a shot on net, and with a pairing of Adam McQuaid and Wade Redden in front, Lupul sent the rebound past Rask to tie the game at one goal apiece. While most Bruins defenders have experience playing together, Redden and McQuaid don’t fit that description.

– The B’s had a couple of injury scares on their second line, but nothing that forced anyone out of the game for good. Patrice Bergeron [10] missed the last five minutes of the first period with an unknown issue. On his last shift prior to leaving he got tangled up with Nikolai Kulemin after making a pass, as Kulemin slid into him. Bergeron fell on the play but seemed fine, as he got up and finished his shift but did not return to the ice until the start of the second period.

With just under five minutes left in the second, Brad Marchand [9] took a Chara slapshot off the back of the leg and limped down the tunnel. Luckily for the B’s, he was back on the bench shortly after and didn’t miss a shift.

– The Bruins gave up too many odd man rushes, as Toronto had a pair of 2-on-1s in the first period before Kessel scored on a breakaway in the third.

– Speaking of Kessel’s goal, Zdeno Chara wasn’t out there on the play, with the Seidenberg-Boychuk pairing instead playing against No. 81. Kessel was kept quiet in Game 1, and the Chara-Seidenberg pairing had a lot to do with it. The B’s had to break it up in order to put Dougie Hamilton into the lineup, as Seidenberg plays the right side with Chara but normally plays the left side. Given that Hamilton is a righty, they needed another guy on the left side with Ference (left) suspended.

– It’s been 11 games since the Bruins won back-to-back games. You kind of have to win consecutive games to go far in the postseason.


Nathan Horton [2] has goals in both games of the series thus far and now has 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 23 career playoff games.

After the Milan Lucic [11]David Krejci [12] – Horton line went without a shot on goal, they got the B’s on the board when Krejci fed Horton entering the zone, who left a drop pass for Lucic. The left wing fired a slapshot that yielded a rebound that went off Horton, who had gone right to the net, and in.

– It wasn’t all good for Rich Peverley [13] (like the second-period delay of game penalty he took for flipping the puck out of the defensive zone), but he won 10 of 12 faceoffs in his return from being a healthy scratch.

– While on the subject of Bruins with two goals in two games, did anyone think that would apply to Johnny Boychuk [4]? The defenseman had one goal in 44 games during the regular season but has now doubled that in just two contests in the postseason.

– Give Tyler Seguin [14] for battling in front on Boychuk’s goal. It might be a while before physicality is a part of his game, but Seguin staying in front and taking contact is what allowed the puck to trickle through traffic and in to make it a one-goal game.

Seguin had a game-high eight shots on goal, giving him 15 through the first two games of the series.