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Leafs fall to Bruins on late goal by Marchand, 3-2

The Bruins first line scored all their goals, undoing a brilliant effort by Jonathan Bernier

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to try something a little different for this game recap. Instead of writing it after the game, I'm basically going to write down my comments about what's happening as they happen. It's more of a liveblog that you'll get to read after the fact. Let me know whether it works for you, or if you'd prefer a more traditional game recap in the future

First Period

  • Fuck Rene Rancourt. He sounds like he's getting mauled by a bear when singing. The fist pump was played out 5 years ago.
  • Boston's uniforms are pretty dope
  • Strong first shift for the Leafs, until they fall asleep on a change, and Bergeron gets sent in alone by Torey Krug. He beats Bernier, Leafs down 1-0. That was depressing. Can't really fault Bernier there either.
  • While I'm at it, fuck Bergeron too. He's too good.
  • Speaking of which, Bergeron dances outside Gardiner to center the puck and create a couple of nice scoring chances that Bernier adeptly deals with. Marchand ends up in the penalty box somehow (Gardiner did as well), which Glenn Healy argues is a good thing for the Bruins. I don't think the Bruins losing their 2nd best forward for 2 minutes is a particularly good thing, but hey, who am I to argue with a career .800 NHL goalie.
  • Matt Hunwick is a ridiculously aggressive player in terms of his movement and positioning
  • On the 4 on 4, Kadri throws the puck on net (off some good forecheck work by Komarov). It bounces straight to Leo, who buries it. 1-1 game.
  • Playing Rich Clune remains baffling. Byron Froese is relieved to no longer be the most nonsensical lineup decision though
  • Jake Gardiner makes a subtly great play, turning away from a forechecking Matt Beleskey to get a pass to the Leafs forwards with control. It doesn't come to anything, but it's those small things that result in him being such a good player.
  • Bruins getting the best of the early action here. Both teams are on the second half of a B2B, but the Bruins have been maintaining control from the faceoff dot, and using that to generate some shot attempts.
  • Clune and Rinaldo justify their roster spots by fighting. Clune wins. I don't think Cruz or Dillashaw were taking notes.
  • Clune's hair is worse than Josh Donaldson's.
  • Lupul with a good defensive play (you don't hear that often) and draws a penalty as a result. The Leafs generate some fantastic chances on the power play (as they've done for a lot of this year) but fail to finish.
  • More good chances for the Bruins near the latter end of the first, more good saves from Bernier. Has had a rough year, but he was excellent in the first
  • Speaking of which, Bernier absolutely ROBS Ryan Spooner with 3 minutes to go, off a really smart and aggressive pinch by the Bruins D after a Leafs won faceoff. Spooner flubbed it, but credit to Bernier for making the save in the end.
  • Lupul draws another penalty, as Marchand high sticks him.
  • I like that Leivo is on the first PP unit in place of JVR. Give him the chance to play in an offensive role and see what you have
  • The HNIC crew has a spirited discussion about how the Leafs should use Rielly more on the PP (which in of itself, I agree with), spurred by Rielly getting some second PP time with Gardiner towards the end of the Leafs powerplay. I think Rielly was only on the ice there because Babcock wanted two defensemen for when Marchand came back on the ice.
  • First period comes to an end with Bruins leading overall shot attempts 28 to 24. However, at even strength, it's a far more lopsided 24-8 for Boston
Second Period

  • After a lazy pass from Rielly in the first minute of the second, a point shot from Chara hits seemingly everyone and passes Bernier in agonizing fashion. Bergeron ended up getting credit, as he made a very impressive play to tip that. 2-1 Bruins. Bozak doesn't cover himself in glory either, as he doubles Matthias' man on the point for some reason, which left Chara with a lot of room to take his time and shoot.
  • The commentary crew mentions Bergeron and Toews as the two best all-around forwards in the league, somehow ignoring that Kopitar is a better version of Toews in just about every way.
  • I mentioned that I liked Leivo being given PP minutes. I don't like that his ES time is being spent with Rich Clune and Byron Froese, two borderline NHLers.
  • More Bruins dominance in the second. The Leafs are unable to cope with the Bruins aggressive pressure in the defensive zone. Actually, they can't cope with their aggression anywhere. Every Leafs breakout is contested, and when they do get into the neutral or offensive zone, there are multiple Bruins hounding the puck, making it hard to create anything. It's impressive the Bruins have the legs to do this coming off a game on Friday.
  • Bozak gets praised by Healy for working hard after an absolutely godawful neutral zone turnover. Bernier makes the save, and a bunch more on the ensuing few shifts
  • When the Leafs break out, they're being kept to the sides of the neutral zone, with the Bruins using the boards as another defender. Makes it really hard for the Leafs to generate anything or stretch the defence at all.
  • Kadri draws a penalty and the Leafs get a chance to tie a game they shouldn't even be in
  • By the eye test, Gardiner has had a rough game in his own zone - small turnovers, getting beat to pucks, that sort of thing
  • The Leafs start haemorrhaging shots less as the period progresses, but this is still very much the Bruins' game
  • Right on cue, the Leafs best shift leads to a goal. Bozak somehow bulldozes Chara in the corner and steals the puck, and a great cross-ice backhand pass finds Matthias in the slot, who finishes adeptly. 2-2 game.
  • Kadri draws another penalty, this time on Chara, with 30 seconds left in the 2nd.
  • Second period ends with shot attempts 50 - 40 for the Bruins. Once again, they dominated even strength, to the tune of 20 shot attempts to the Leafs 10 in the second period.
Third Period

  • The Leafs start the third period on the power play, but don't generate much off it.
  • In general, the Leafs have probably gotten a favourable whistle tonight. There have been some speculative no-calls against the Bruins, including Rielly arguably hauling down Landon Ferraro on a partial break.
  • Bernier has been stellar. Big, big game from him. He makes another great save on Brad Marchand after a defensive zone turnover by the Leafs
  • Froese and Leivo have a phenomenal shift that creates a really solid chance for the Leafs, but Rask is up to the task.
  • In general, the third has been fairly low event. Tired teams, I suppose.
  • As I say that, sloppy neutral zone positioning by the Leafs gifts Bergeron a zone entry and he feeds a beautiful backhand pass to Brad Marchand, who tucks it past Bernier. 3-2 Bruins. Babcock challenges whether the play is offside, and is vindicated by the goal being reversed. Still 2-2.
  • I tuned out for a bit while the review went on, and I came back and saw Matt Hunwick in the box. Not sure what happened in the interim.
  • Similar to the Leafs PP, the Bruins create a bunch of chances, but don't convert
  • Healy describes Chris Kelly as the 'moral conscience' of the Bruins. I don't think that speaks well of Kelly.
  • Another penalty call against the Bruins, as Hayes elbows Lupul in the process of bodying him off the puck. Unlike their earlier power plays, they don't generate much offense. With 5 minutes left in the third, this game looks destined for OT.
  • As I say that, the game goes haywire. The Bruins get a breakaway and an odd man rush, both of which are well stopped by Bernier. The Leafs nearly capitalize on Rask going walkabouts, and are denied by Torey Krug playing goalie.
  • And the Bruins take the lead on a bizarre play. Bernier plays the puck to Marincin, but is slow to get back in net. Marincin makes a horrible giveaway to Marchand. Marchand pots it in to the open net, and that's about the Leafiest way to lose.
I feel really awful for Bernier, who played brilliantly for most of the game, but takes the loss anyway. That said, this is good news for Leafs fans hoping for a better draft pick (which is basically all of us at this point, since the playoffs are far out of reach). All things considered, the Leafs did get dominated at even strength, with final ES shot attempts being 60 - 30 for the Bruins, so it's hard to consider this game too much of a disappointment, given that level of play.