If you need to read the following statement twice to make sure you've got it right, I won't blame you: the Leafs controlled play for the first five minutes, and hemmed the Bruins in for full shifts at a time.
Brad Marchand went down easily in the slot looking for a chance on net, and the Bruins were awarded the game's first power play - a scary thing, considering the B's are second in the league in power play success rate. Off a deflection, a one-timer did get behind James Reimer, but bounced back out into the slot where it was quickly cleared away.
On the same power play, Marchand was the one who finished off a rush by throwing the puck past a sprawling Reimer, who was partially tripped up by Morgan Rielly and Matt Belesky crashing towards the edge of the net. Mike Babcock challenged the play, but instead just lost the timeout, and Marchand had his 20th of the year.
The Leafs have now allowed the first goal in 34 of their 49 games.
With just under seven minutes to go in the period, Colin Miller took a penalty and Tyler Bozak came oh-so-close to scoring the tying goal, but Tuukka Rask came up huge with a rebound save.
The Bruins had a great opportunity as Rich Clune and Zach Trotman were both off for a shoving match (Zdeno Chara somehow escaped penalty despite administering about 7 cross-checks on the play) and then the Leafs got caught for having too many men on the ice. Boston came close to scoring, but was held off the scoresheet for the remainder of the period.
The shots after one were even at 9 apiece.
Boston dictated play for the first 5 minutes of the second, with the Leafs mounting very little in the way of offence. the first good thing to happen for the Leafs all game came on a dangerous rush that saw Marchand look to weave through the play and get a great chance on net, but before he could release the puck, and hard-backchecking Nazem Kadri absolutely obliterated him with a perfectly clean hit. Amidst the yard sale on the ice, Reimer scrambled and froze the puck.
Can't stop watching Kadri wrecking Marchand. Just the best. pic.twitter.com/zT7ZeNv0Ix— The Tank Nation (@TLNdc) February 3, 2016
At almost exactly the 10-minute mark of the second period Daniel Winnik tipped home a Roman Polak shot to tie the game at one. Shawn Matthias was the real hero on the play, as he showed great strength and skating while he protected the puck while moving up ice before dishing to Polak. Matthias got the second assist on the play.
Kadri had another great chance a few minutes later as he took a pass from Peter Holland in the corner, and then walked out in front of Rask, backhanding two shots from point blank range. Although Rask was mostly inside the net himself, he made the saves.
Marchand struck again early in the third period, as Morgan Rielly totally forgot about the concept of defensive zone coverage and allowed Marchand to take a cross-ice pass and bury it on the far side behind a helpless Reimer.
Just 44 second later, it was David Krejci who picked up a rebound that came off the crossbar, and tucked the puck home past Reimer and about four other Leafs, who, instead of knocking down Krejci, decided to go fishing for the puck.
Rather than roll over and die, however, the Leafs pushed back.
First, it was Leo Komarov making a beautiful tip on a point shot by Rielly that totally changed the direction of the shot leaving Rask with no chance.
Next, it was again the Kadri line that kept the puck in the Bruins' zone and it was Kadri himself who made a perfect tip of a Matt Hunwick shot past Rask.
There were chances at both ends through the remainder of the third, though Boston clearly had more of the opportunities. The shots at the end of regulation were 40-32 in favour of Boston.
With 3:12 left to go in overtime, Krejci got called for holding Komarov. With Kadri rushing into the zone and dishing back to the point for a shot, P.A. Parenteau collected the rebound and backhanded it by Rask to win this one for the good guys and seal the comeback win.
Notes on individual players:
- Nazem Kadri lead the team in shots, had the tying goal and assisted on the game winner. His line was the Leafs' best, and it was a strong individual performance for him, too. His point total keeps climbing.
- Shawn Matthias was great in this one. If I were a GM of another team looking for a deadline pickup, I would definitely have him on my radar. He skates so well for a big man, is very strong protecting the puck, doesn't take bad penalties, and although his hands aren't the greatest, he can chip in the odd goal.
- Michael Grabner got in front of another couple shots tonight that stung. One in particular he took off the inside of his hand. Good on the man for not shying away from blocking shots.
- Roman Polak pasted some Bruin from behind, right between the numbers. He's done that a lot lately and needs to stop. On the other hand, he also picked up two assists in this one. Pump'n dump, baby!