Bruins’ comeback bid falls short in loss to Maple Leafs
|01.14.14 at 9:48 pm ET|
Any momentum the Bruins may have generated from Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Sharks disappeared Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins opened the scoring 3:38 in when Brad Marchand buried a rebound created by Reilly Smith‘s nice drive to the net. The Leafs answered 2:14 later with a goal that went against the grain of play when Tyler Bozak collected a rebound off a Carl Gunnarsson point shot and slid it past Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins retook the lead on Patrice Bergeron‘s 11th goal of the season, but then a pair of power-play goals from Bozak and Jake Gardiner put the Leafs up 3-2. James van Riemsdyk made it 4-2 a minute into the third with a wrister from the top of the right circle. Gregory Campbell cut the lead to one with 10:25 to go, but that was as close as the Bruins would get despite applying some heavy pressure for the remainder of the game.
With the loss, the Bruins dropped to 3-5-0 in their last eight. Their next game is Thursday night in Dallas.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins dominated the first period in terms of possession and scoring chances, but ended up tied at 2-2 heading into the intermission thanks to a pair of defensive breakdowns. On the Leafs’ first goal, Torey Krug missed a block attempt on Gunnarsson’s shot attempt from the point, inadvertently screening Tuukka Rask in the process. Kevan Miller couldn’t clear the rebound or muscle Bozak off the puck, and the Leafs center knocked the puck home. On the second goal, Johnny Boychuk got caught puck-watching and let Bozak slip right behind him for an easy finish.
- The Bruins struggled on special teams. Their penalty kill, in particular, was dreadful. Bozak’s second goal (and Boychuck’s defensive lapse) came on a Leafs power play, as did Gardiner’s tally that gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead. While Rask should’ve made the save on Gardiner’s wrister, the Leafs had been able to move the puck with ease leading up to that chance. The Leafs also came dangerously close to scoring on their third power play of the game, with van Riemsdyk getting three whacks at the puck from right in front after Campbell failed to clear the zone. As for the power play, the Bruins’ first one generated some good looks, but they barely even got set up on their second, which featured Zdeno Chara at the point instead of in front, where he’s been most of the season.
- Rask had another rough game. There wasn’t much he could’ve done on Toronto’s first two goals, but he definitely should’ve had the third and fourth. Rask now has an .876 save percentage over his last seven games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins benefited from a combination of impressive work from Smith and some not-so-impressive work by Toronto’s defense pairing leading up to Marchand’s goal. Smith was able to skate right through Gunnarsson and Dion Phaneuf (van Riemsdyk was also with him) as the three Maple Leafs passively allowed Smith to get to the slot and fire off the backhander that yielded the rebound on which Marchand scored. Teams often pride themselves on being strong around the net, and the Maple Leafs were just the opposite.
- The fourth line continued to score. With Campbell’s third-period goal — which included a nice setup by Daniel Paille and a better finish by Campbell — that line has now scored in four of the last five games, and Campbell and Paille have four points apiece during that stretch.
DJ Bean contributed to this story.
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