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Recap: Bruins 3, Leafs 1

At least this time the Leafs didn't embarrass themselves.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Box ScoreWar On Ice

I'll be honest with you: I missed the first 10 minutes of this game. As I rewound the game at the intermission to check to see if I missed anything, all I came up with was that Nazem Kadri was hit from behind by Zdeno Chara, but Chara wasn't given a penalty because. Also, the Leafs had a power play, but they didn't do anything with it.

Still though, the Leafs were out-shooting Boston 6-5 at the 10-minute mark (when I started watching), and Leafs' fans would have had to concede that every minute the Leafs spent not losing to Boston and actually out-shooting them is something like a win.

Overall, Mike Babcock had to be happy with what was a relatively boring period of hockey against Boston - usually, for the Leafs, it's spent being hemmed into their own zone, narrowly avoiding being scored on at the best of times.

In fact, the Leafs had a great chance of their own with 3:45 left in the opening frame, as Brooks Laich managed to find himself on a breakaway against Tuukka Rask, only to be denied by the Bruins' goaltender. Although other Leaf forwards pursued what turned out to be a juicy rebound, they were unable to solve Rask.

Better news came to Toronto less than a minute later, as Ben Smith tipped home a Colin Greening shot after some great cycling work in the Bruins' zone.

The Leafs continued to control the majority of the play, something that hasn't been seen against Boston since... I don't know, maybe since Joe Thornton played for Boston? Anyway, it was impressive as well as fun to watch, since the schadenfreude is great when the Leafs can help cause trouble for the Bruins.

Toronto started the second period with a few good shifts that put the Bruins on their heels, but Connor Carrick took a tripping penalty on Loui Eriksson to give the Bruins a chance to push back. With that opportunity, the Bruins pulled even less than 3 minutes into the second as Morgan Rielly simply lost coverage on Patrice Bergeron.

Shortly after, William Nylander and his good friend David Pastrnak both went off for off-setting penalties as Nylander hooked Pastrnak and Pastrnak embellished the play. With the teams at 4-on-4, Chara shoveled a blind backhand rebound shot past Jonathan Bernier to put the Bruins up 2-1 at 6:29 of the second.

The Bruins went on to take control of the game as the second period wore on, taking the lead not only on the scoreboard, but also in terns of the shot count, and in terms of possession play in general.

With the time that was left in the period, the Leafs did their best to push back, but were unable to mount any kind of sustained offence, and went to the dressing room down a goal after 40 minutes.

Martin Marincin took a cross-checking penalty just 11 seconds into the third period, but the Leafs were fortunate enough to kill it off. From there, the Bruins were the better team through most of the third. They mounted an 8-2 shot lead through the first 10 minutes of the period, and didn't allow many good chances for the Leafs.

The Leafs took until there was only 4:30 left in regulation before they really started to attack the Bruins and press for the equalizer, and they also pulled Bernier early (with just under four minutes left) in an attempt to tie the game, but their efforts were for naught.

Matt Beleskey scored his 14th of the season at 19:10 into the open net to seal the victory for the Bruins with P.A. Parenteau in the box for hooking Lee Stempniak. Honestly, if Stempniak isn't causing the Leafs problems, what else would he be doing?

Notes on individual players:

- Nazem Kadri's reputation as a diver among broadcast journalists is taking off. People just can't seem to stop talking about it, and yet in this game and the last, he's been the target of some pretty blatant infractions that went uncalled. Let's hope that this reputation doesn't stick, because although I think he helps some calls, he's also getting unfairly abused at this point.

- William Nylander looks good on the half wall on the Leaf's power play. He distributes the puck well but also make himself available as the trigger man, and he had a couple good looks at the Bruins' net tonight.

- Connor Brown is not a big or strong man by NHL standards. What I like about him is that this doesn't seem to discourage him from going into the boards hard with the likes of Zdeno Chara. I think his tenacious puck recovery will work well for him at the NHL level.