The Leafs took a 2-0 lead on some strong play, and then, in Leafs fashion, had everyone gripping their seats for 9 minutes straight after Chara brought the B's within one. Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur scored some pretty goals, but James Reimer, who made 43 saves last night, is the Story.
The Game In Six
James. Reimer. 43 saves, including not one but two beautiful toe saves. The adage that "talented players create their own luck" was never more true than last night, as Reimer got full leg extension, flush with the ice, and made the save. James Reimer was a thing of beauty last night. Goaltending got us here, goaltending is keeping us here. But more on that in today's FTB.
Jake Gardiner had a great game - he lead the Leafs in ice time, started in the defensive zone more often than not, and was only slightly outshot by Bergeron's line and Chara's pairing. The Leafs breakout continues to have options against the Bruins, in part due to the strong passes and fine skating Jake brings to the team. His defensive partner, Cody Franson, looked good as well - it's fun to see two offensively talented players, rather than one talented player and one boat anchor.
Speaking of boat anchors: Liles-ROB pairing only played 14:31 of icetime, and Colton Orr was restricted to 4:09, which is where I'd like to see him. Clarke MacArthur, who continued to be underplayed at 7:13 of TOI, scored the game winning goal - I'd still like to see him get more ice time, but I like the makeup of the current top nine, so with Orr's minutes reduced, it's hard to see where extra MacArthur time would come from. Frattin, maybe.
It was the best of Bozak, it was the worst of Bozak. He scored a short handed breakaway goal to put the Leafs up 1-0, and he cleared the puck into a delay of game penalty with under four minutes to play. He had the second worse shot differential, at -17, but it was against Lucic-Bergeron-Seguin and Chara-Seidenberg, which has to be considered the most difficult possible matchup. It's a reminder that as much as we bash on Bozak around here, he's probably a perfectly capable second or third line center. Matt Stajan Syndrome claims another victim.
I still the Carlyle is doing a great job of double shifting Kessel between Kadri and Bozak. Carlyle didn't seem to put as much work into keeping Kessel away from Chara, but that may have been a product of the Bruins getting last change. The Leafs have been playing well with their speed, but Carlyle should be livid about a 4-19 shot differential in the third - failing to clear the zone nearly sent the game to overtime.
The Leafs will try to extend the series again Sunday night at 7:30. Go Leafs Go!