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Big night from top line helps Bruins past Maple Leafs in Game 3

05.06.13 at 9:49 pm ET
By

Nathan Horton

TORONTO — The Air Canada Centre crowd didn’t have as much energy as was expected Monday night — and neither did the Maple Leafs — as the B’s beat Toronto, 5-2, in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Adam McQuaid got the Bruins on the board at 13:42 of the first period with a slap shot from the point, giving the Bruins four goals from defensemen this series. The Bruins expanded their lead when Rich Peverley scored the third line’s first goal of the series in the second to make it 2-0 after a nice steal by Jaromir Jagr, but a Jake Gardiner power-play goal following a Tyler Seguin tripping penalty brought the Leafs to within one.

Nathan Horton scored his third goal in as many games, and Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 4-1. Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the postseason to make it a two-goal game, but Tuukka Rask kept the door closed from there, with David Krejci tallying an empty-netter to finish it off.

The B’s and Leafs will play Game 4 on Wednesday night, with the series returning to Boston on Friday for Game 5.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

• For a line that rightfully was surrounded by questions heading into the postseason, the Bruins’ top line has been very good for the B’s thus far. Krejci’s goal was the seventh goal this series the Krejci line has been on the ice for, and how about this for a stat: Milan Lucic has more points (six) in three postseason games this year than he had over his final 12 games of the regular season.

• Speaking of that line, Horton now has a goal in each game this postseason. In 24 career playoff games, Horton has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. It’s safe to say he’s a playoff performer, and safer to say that he’s helping his cause as he nears free agency.

• If the NHL kept track of shorthanded scoring opportunities, you’d probably see Paille’s name near the top of the list. Paille’s smarts and speed make him a huge asset on the penalty kill, and it showed again when he picked off Kessel’s pass and turned it into a breakaway. The issue with Paille has always been finishing, but he finished beautifully with a backhander to beat James Reimer.

• The Bruins needed their third line to create more chances and they did just that on Monday night. After a strong showing in the first period, the line got its first goal of the season on a great play by Jagr to pickpocket Ryan O’Byrne and feed Peverley in front.

Peverley was superb on Monday, turning in yet another strong performance on faceoffs. After being made a healthy scratch in Game 1, he won 10 of 12 draws Saturday and went a sensational 10-of-11 from the dot on Monday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

• The Bruins have allowed a power-play goal in each of the three games this season. Toronto boasted a decent power play in the regular season, but the B’s — despite Paille’s goal — will need to fare better on the PK as the series goes on. This is the fourth time this year the B’s have allowed a power-play goal in three straight games.

• Kessel entered the postseason with three goals in 22 career games against the Bruins. He has two in three games this postseason, so maybe we were all a bit premature in assuming he wouldn’t show up against Zdeno Chara and the B’s.

Shawn Thornton could have made it 2-0 earlier with a golden opportunity with about five minutes left in the first period. Thornton had Reimer beat in front but didn’t elevate his shot with plenty of open net.

• Seguin took a bad stick penalty when he tripped Cody Franson just outside of the Maple Leafs zone. The penalty set up Gardiner’s goal to bring the Leafs within one. Though Seguin entered the game with a series-high 15 shots on goal, he has no points through the first three games of the series. In fact, Brad Marchand‘s secondary assist on Johnny Boychuk‘s third-period goal on Saturday remains the only point a member of the Bruins’ second line has registered.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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