Leafs Drop Game 3 Against Bruins, 5-2

The game was this close. - Claus Andersen

The Toronto Maple Leafs played a decent hockey game last night, but couldn't come away with the win.

The Story

Adam McQuaid struck first, with a slap shot off the faceoff that beat a screened Reimer, Peverly scored when Jagr took the puck from a stationary Ryan O'Byrne, and suddenly it was 2-0. The Leafs finally answered, as Gardiner scored a power play goal - a nice upgrade from the Press Box - but Horton and Paille would score to make it 4-1 going in to the third period. Kessel scored on the power play early in the third, but it wasn't enough, as the Bruins would ice the empty netter and take a 5-2 win.

The Game in Six

Toronto put 47 shots on net and hit two posts. Let's get something straight: If the Leafs put 49 shots on or near the goal, they're going to come out with a win more often than not. This wasn't a game to be unhappy with, except for the final result. The Leafs are in a series against a team with a talented goaltender (you may have heard of him), and last night the Bruins' goaltending stole a game.

I thought a lot of people played well. The JVR-Grabovski-Kulemin line was great; Grabbo dominated possession and showed up as a +13 in Corsi on the night, generally hemming in the Horton-Krejci-Lucic line, despite getting more defensive zone starts than offensive. Lupul-Kadri-Kessel got chances, including a great 2-on-1 with Kessel and Lupul, though Rask made the save.

Gardiner had some token defensive foibles, but created a bunch of offense in response - he even scored a goal. Dion hit a post, laid some big hits, and The power play went 2/5 - though I'd still like to see Gardiner-Phaneuf rather than Phaneuf-Franson - and the PK went 3/3. Reimer, of course, was great, turning away 33 of 37,

I thought some people played badly. Ryan O'Byrne strikes me as a terrible, terrible defenseman. He's the kind of guy I would expect to see go -3 in a night where the Leafs score 9 goals. Yeah, I went there. He was directly responsible for several chances against, including the Peverly goal, and to be honest, I'd rather see Komisarek in his position. Fraser continues to get burned along the outside, but I do think it's nice to have his strength, and really the only alternative this point is Liles. I thought that Bozak looked a little weak, but he spent most of his time up against Bergeron and Chara - I'm not sure why Carlyle went back to pairing Bozak with Lupul and Kessel most often, but I suspect it has to do with being overconfident about his ability to match at home.

In short: I'm not unhappy with this loss. I'd like Clarke MacArthur in over Orr, but I'm generally not unhappy with the lineup changes. This game was decided by a couple of bounces, and if the Leafs play like this for the rest of the series, it'll make for some good hockey. Game 4: Wednesday, May 8th. 7 PM. Go Leafs Go.

Shift Chart - Head to Head - Zone Starts - Corsi/Fenwick

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