The Bruins jumped on the Leafs early and David Pastrnak hit the post behind a bewildered-looking Frederik Andersen within the first two minutes of the game. The Leafs took almost five minutes to get a single shot on goal and when they did it was a long wrister from Morgan Rielly that didn’t pose much of a threat.
Just when it looked like the Leafs might be building a little bit of momentum, David Krejci got his stick into Martin Marincin’s skate and then gave him a shove from behind, sending Marincin into the boards heavily. Although Mike Babcock could be heard shouting “HOW IS THAT NOT A PENALTY, BOYS?” at the referees, the play did look like an accident. Still, Krejci could still have been more responsible on the play. Marincin did not get up and left the ice with help. He did not return to the game.
Fortunately, Andersen found his game quickly enough to prevent the Leafs from getting blown out in the first, as the Leafs didn’t get their second shot on net until William Nylander put a decent wrist shot on goal with only two minutes left. Andersen had to make several deceptively difficult saves as pucks were often deflected and changing directions in front of him.
The Leafs could have had a third shot in this period when Matt Martin found himself on a two-on-one, but when he tried to make the seam pass, he fired it so completely off target that it left the zone entirely.
At least it ended 0-0. The shots were 11-2 in Boston’s favour. Tweet of the period goes to @draglikepull:
Tonight the role of 2013 James Reimer will be played by Frederik Andersen.— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) December 11, 2016
Hey, look at that! Nylander started back on Auston Matthews’ line to begin the second, and he fed Matthews less than three minutes into the game to put the Leafs up 1-0. I honestly don’t know why Babcock separated them to begin with. From there, the Leafs seemed to gain some life.
The next ten minutes played itself out relatively evenly. Andersen made a few more very good saves, and the Leafs generated a few good chances. Nylander had a couple dangerous looking rushes that should cement his position on the Matthews line.
After some more good work by Nylander to gain the zone and playing the puck back to the point, it was Zach Hyman who tipped home the point shot for the 2-0 lead.
Here's another look at that Hyman goal: pic.twitter.com/vFwyyhZQ9s— J.P. Nikota (@JPNikota) December 11, 2016
Andersen made a very Andersen-like play in the final minutes of the period, as he misplayed a puck into a forechecking Boston player, then failed to cover up an easy puck, and then couldn’t help but get beat on the wraparound rebound.
After 40 minutes, the Leafs were up 2-1 but out-shot 21-10.
The Leafs kicked the third period off with a pair of great scoring chances and managed to draw their first power play of the game. Nylander and Nazem Kadri both had amazing chances that forced Tuukka Rask to be great - they had five shots in the two minutes.
Worth noting is that the Leafs gave up a two-on-one during their power play and that it was Nylander who made it back to negate it. What a game for him.
Human-rodent Brad Marchand took another penalty trying to tie up Roman Polak not long after, putting the Leafs back on the power play. The Bruins had another amazing shorthanded chance that Andersen was great to stop, and then the Leafs immediately ran back up the ice and scored. Hoo boy, that passing. I say.
The Bruins began pressing to get back into the game, and another screw up by Andersen nearly let them do so, but in the end, the Leafs were very good at their own blue line - something they haven’t done well in a while - and suffocated the Bruins’ attack.
Connor Brown dumped one into an empty net to secure the win for the Leafs.
It was, is, and always will be... 4-1. Just like the last time the Leafs faced the Bruins.
Notes on Individual Players
- William Nylander started the game on Nazem Kadri’s line, ending his fourth unit banishment. That didn’t produce much in the way of results, but surprise, surprise, when he was put back on Matthews’ line, they scored on their first shift together. From there, he came to life, and was the Leafs’ best player. If this game doesn’t cement his place on the Matthews line, Babcock needs to give his head a shake.
- Frederik Andersen should just not play the puck as much as he does. Babcock should put a shock collar on him to prevent him from going to certain areas of the ice. Apart from his dismal attempts to play the puck, Andersen was absolutely brilliant tonight.
- Connor Brown looked good on Kadri’s wing again. He can stay there, as far as I’m concerned - no offence to Soshnikov.
- Nazem Kadri had a few very good looks at the net but simply couldn’t cash in. No problem, another time.