Leafs Fall To Bruins, 3-1

Iggy knows how to drop them. - Matthew Healey

The Leafs played the second half of a back-to-back against the Boston Bruins, and kept it close all night.

Despite a slick goal from Joffrey Lupul, the Leafs would allow two on power play chances from Chara and Bergeron (and an empty netter). Here's your game in six:

The Leafs played the second half of a back-to-back, down two of their top three centers, and against a team that's considered, well, a little better than the Leafs, at least. Given all that, it's tough to get worked up about the loss - and maybe it's even good that the Leafs managed to stay within one.

Lupul's goal. Hooo boy is that a nice shot. Short side on Rask is a rare thing. Clarkson looked good again, despite not having found the back of the net. He got in a fight with Iginla, too, which is a tradeoff I'm willing to make. Kadri might be playing injured - he doubled over and limped to the bench twice last night - but the Leafs can't afford to lose another C. Kessel looked good too, because Kessel is Kessel.

Speaking of star players, Dion Phaneuf has played 51:54 over two games, and over that time, his primary matchups (Krejci, Lucic, Iginla and Jagr, Loktionov, and Zubrus/Zajac) have all remained pointless at even strength. He's a tank. I thought Gardiner-Franson looked really strong, despite being paired up against Eriksson, Bergeron, and Marchand for most of the night. They were the Leafs' top possession pairing, but were middle of the pack for zone starts.

Fraser-Ranger looked pretty awful, despite starting most in the offensive zone of any Leafs pairing. Along with McClement, these three seemed like the most consistently responsible for d-zone turnovers - their go-to move in the first period being "to the blue line, but not out" (or in McClement's case, just over the blue line, straight to the Bruins' defensemen). This, paired with the "deflection dump in," have to be two of the worst Leafs practices. It's so frustrating to watch intentional turnovers that seem to be treated like small victories, and it feels like the Leafs' "defensive" players are just sabotaging their own breakout.

James Reimer looked great in net. He was victimized by a nice pass by Iginla - sliding a little too far on the first chance - and was literally pinned down by Ranger (not "Ranger and a Bruin") on the Bergeron goal. 26 for 26 at ES, and a .939 overall, means once again, the Leafs goaltending gave them a chance to win against a tough opponent.

And here's the ExtraSkater link for last night's game. What'd you think?

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