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Leafs gut out the win they had to have 4-3 over the Bruins

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This series is coming back to Toronto!

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The game begins with warmup, where we learn that Patrice Bergeron is in the game for the Bruins.

The Leafs lines were reported as:

But there didn’t seem to be agreement on what order they were in. Perhaps that’s a moot point, and the plan is to roll out lines with even ice time.

Or maybe the plan is merely to mess with everyone’s head, and we’re right back to where we were last game.

First Period

Deep conversation on the bench between Andreas Johnsson and Nazem Kadri. I smell a line there.

Plekanec with the opening faceoff vs Krejci.

And I was right, Kadri is up second with Johnsson and William Nylander, and they get the Bergeron line right off. Remember when you were mad earlier that Nylander was demoted?

Leafs are handling the puck okay so far, but the Kadri line didn’t look smooth.

The Bozak line has Kapanen instead of Brown, and they spend their shift in their own zone.

Plekanec is back out again, and that means that Matthews was skipped, but it was just for a few seconds on a matchup. Matthews is out after an icing. By process of elimination, you should realize that Matthews has Hyman and Brown as wingers.

Oh, goody, we’re waving guys out of faceoffs left and right, but Hyman can win it when he has to. The puck still ends up behind Andersen’s net almost immediately.

Brown tries a zone exit along the boards, and I am shocked, shocked, I tell you, that he can’t muscle it out past the Bruins forecheck. The Leafs cannot get out along the boards, yet they keep trying.

A stretch pass becomes a giveaway, and Andersen has to make his first real save. Even so, the stretch pass actually can work to flee the zone. Shorter passes to someone actually moving seem to do best.

The defence looks good for the Leafs, barring the usual exit issues, but the forwards aren’t getting much going yet with only a couple of nothing shots.

Matthews finally gets the first good chance. And then he does it again on a wraparound attempt. Brown, proving his value on this line against my own opinion on him playing with Matthews, is right there at the doorstep to bang it in. All three forwards were close enough to Rask to touch him. That’s how you get it done!

1-0 Leafs!

This is Connor Brown’s first career playoff goal. He’s been grinding all season, and all playoffs. I’m glad to see him rewarded.

The Bozak line is not looking like they have an answer to Bruins defence out here. Kapanen cannot be the guy to really drive them to the right end of the rink.

Andersen with a good save on a Bergeron shot. The broadcast opined knowingly about the Bruins going high on Andersen. There’s approximately one goalie in all the NHL who is easier to beat low than high, so, uh, okay.

A loooong stretch pass to Kadri, who has Johnsson with him, and you know, that talk on the bench worked out. Kadri just shovels the puck over to the streaking star, your seventh-round pick, Andreas Johnsson, who blows out the Bruins defence (Chara and McAvoy).

2-0 Leafs

And that is Andreas Johnsson’s first career playoff goal. Who else needs one?

Hainsey dives into the front of the net on a good Bozak line offensive shift.

Pastrnak is peppering Andersen with some shots.

Hyman steals the puck but ends up passing it to empty space as the Leafs were slow to get their full change in. I’m just going to drop this complaint here. I hate the Leafs bench management. Their line changes tend to the sloppy, and they take way too many too many men penalties.

Bozak goes off for slashing in the defensive zone, but the replay shows the Boston player’s stick was broken before the slash, which came from Kapanen. Wrong guy for the wrong crime. Isn’t this the second time a Bruins player could have been called for playing with a broken stick, but the Leafs sit instead?

Criiiiipes. Leafs fail to clear on the PK multiple times, and the post makes a hell of a save. That was half ghastly PK and half excellent PP work by Marchand and Pastrnak. Andersen makes a series of saves to close out the power play.

Hyman bulls the puck in and hooks it to no one again.

Dermott rolls in over the line and wails it off the post. Hey, he doesn’t have a career playoff goal …

Leafs are driving hard now, laying on the pressure with the Plekanec line and then the excellent Kadri line. I haven’t mentioned Nylander much, but he’s in there making things happen. Arvind spent a lot of time during this year and last trying to uncover why Nylander never looked good with Kadri. We all always figured the answer was Leo Komarov, and this game seems to be bearing that out.

After One

The Leafs are not getting close to half the shots, but the shots they do have are almost all in prime scoring position. They’re allowing a low of good chances, and are living on the edge here. My, that sounds familiar. The Leafs need to score to make this work, and so far so good, but two is not enough.

The ice time is very close to even, with only one minute between the top and bottom forwards. The Kadri line is playing the most, primarily driven by long offensive zone shifts. They’re the only line at 50% Corsi.

Second Period

The first, best chance comes from Nylander on a great cross-crease play. Rask has it, but this Kadri line, man, they are hot like burning.

Matthews gets the puck loose on what had looked to by a cycle of death by the Bruins, but he can’t get it past Chara’s poke check.

Rinse and repeat a few times. The Leafs are not getting past the Bruins blue line.

Matthews with another takeaway, and this time it ends up offside.

The speed is so high right now, it’s barely a game, it’s more an exercise in chaos with a puck.

All this frantic speed has paid off and the Leafs are now dominating the shot share as well.

The Bruins are looking a lot less threatening offensively, but a tripping call on Marner when he likely wasn’t the bad guy gives the Bruins a power play, but without the PKer, Zaitsev in the box for the Leafs. It wasn’t a terrible play to stop an offensive chance.

Dammit! The officials figured it out by talking to the off-ice officials. Zaitsev to the box.

Try to suck less on this PK, Leafs!

Well.

A rebound comes out around the net to Ron Hainsey, and he is immediately swinging to clear that puck, but David Backes has pounced on it and pots it in the open net. It’s one of those off the stanchion jobs, and Hainsey had no better play there.

Dammit.

2-1 Leafs.

Bozak is out on the faceoff, and the puck ends up deep in the Bruins zone, but that doesn’t last, and crap, they’re out against Bergeron. Dammit.

Kapanen digs out a puck and sends the play the right way. Morgan Rielly sets up a play after JvR has gone in deep to Bozak and tic-tac-toe. Goal!

3-1 Leafs.

Un-dammit. That has to feel great for Bozak, as he’s been missing on those lately.

Johnsson gets tripped and there’s a super late call, but the Bruins player’s stick is stuck right in Johnsson’s skate blade. To the PP we go!

I want another goal. I deserve one after the last recap.

Rielly with a great play to keep Marchand, the little weasel, from going on a breakaway, and the puck ends up with Marner to van Riemsdyk, and scooooores. I get my goal.

4-1 Leafs, and Rask is gone.

I won’t tell you why Anton Khodobin might not be a reprieve. (Okay, I will. In every good measure, he’s been better this season than Rask.)

There was some sort of scrum there, and the result is, um, they are talking it over. Somehow it’s five-on-five with two Leafs in the box on minors and one Bruins player on a four minute minor, and everyone is confused, but I know this deal, it’s all on what was co-incidental and what wasn’t.

The Leafs take another penalty almost immediately, this one to Tyler Bozak on an interference call after he was without a stick. This is where using a timeout would be good, but no, those are poker chips now.

Bees on the PP.

And now Polak takes a penalty. Because of course he does. It’s a five-on-three for a minute and a half, and this is a bullshit call. He’s going because the Bruins player’s stick broke and because he’s Polak.

Dammit!

Wow, fantastic diving save by Andersen. And another great save. Wow. 15 seconds left. Andersen plucks a puck out of the air. Remember yesterday when everyone hated Andersen? Also, there’s so many Leafs in the box, they look like the Flyers.

Polak is back, and all is well in the world.

Get another goal, Leafs. Good, god, this only the second period too.

Leafs look a little out of sorts here, not doing anything smart or coordinated. I don’t like how this looks.

Dammit. Sorry. Sean Kuraly scores on a play where the Leafs were just chasing. Not a good look by Gardiner or the Matthews line defensively there.

4-2 Leafs.

The Leafs really need this damn period to end. And instead they’re giving Boston another power play opportunity for the rest of the period, as Johnsson is going to the box for hooking when he got caught chasing his man.

Need I say? Dammit!

Hainsey can’t clear the puck. “To the line and not out,” was the motto of the old Leafs! Come on.

Polak moved a guy out of the faceoff circle with his butt, so Backes came over to take that contest on.

This period is mercifully over! I know that sounds silly, when the Leafs chased the starter and scored twice, but the Leafs need a major regroup.

Thoughts

Shot share is now right on 50-50 if you score adjust it, even, so the Leafs righted the ship in one way, but the sweater was unravelling there at the end.

Third Period

Four goals aren’t enough, Leafs, get another one.

There’s a touch of PP time left, and the Leafs make short work of that, but not without a scary shot off a rebound.

Johnsson comes out of the box and just blows the doors off of everyone. The puck stays out, though.

Kadri gets a freebie hit on DeBrusk. So that’s the only makeup call the Leafs will likely get.

The post makes another great save on a deflection.

Come on, guys. Drive some offence here. Marner nearly succeeds, but at least they get in the right end of the ice.

Dammit.

Dermott dumps a guy for no good reason, he had him contained, and it’s another penalty for the Leafs. Way too aggressive a play in a game where the whistles have been out a lot. There’s your tough-guy hockey, everyone, how do you like it now?

Holy, an actual clearing on the PK that works. Andersen with a save and then a good clear, and this PK is half done. To the line and not out, but then Hyman with a lovely clear to end the penalty. Toronto is really lucky these penalties aren’t paying off for Boston. Andersen is absolutely under siege on the PK, although this one wasn’t quite the horror-show of some of the others.

Almost 15 minutes left.

Boston is in on the Bozak line, and the puck goes behind the net and bounces a weird way. Noel Acciari, the victim on the Dermott play, scores as Andersen has lost the puck. Weird play. Zaitsev is watching the puck, not Acciari.

4-3 Leafs.

The Matthews line is spinning with the Bergeron line applying heavy pressure, and Andersen keeps bailing this boat as fast as he can.

Johnsson with a chance, but he can’t get a good shot going.

Kapanen fans on a shot.

The Leafs seem alive, at least, if the game is in danger of devolving into too much chaos.

Terrible Gardiner clearing attempt, but the Leafs escape and the Pleakanec line is on the offensive push. Ten minutes left. Too long not to need another goal for the Leafs.

Marchand with a chance he gets by outplaying and outskating Rielly. Andersen has it, and he freezes it.

JvR gives the puck away just as they get in the offensive zone. He flips it out to clear the zone and get a change, so he was the whole shift for better or worse.

Johnsson skates the puck down, and gets it to Kadri, but they can’t get it in. Heavy Boston defending.

Andersen freezes the puck on a Bergeron shot, and there’s seven minutes left. This game is all Boston right now.

Plekanec wins a key faceoff, and the Leafs move the right way.

Matthews skates it in and wails on it like he’s Connor Carrick, but it goes over the net. He’s barely been on the ice due to all the PK time and checking line work against Bergeron.

Kadri line is pinned, and they don’t clear the puck when Johnsson can’t play the puck. Andersen is still bailing. Give him a bigger bucket.

The Leafs are living and dying by the rookies here.

Four minutes.

The Leafs actually get an o-zone faceoff.

Matthews tries the wraparound, and Hyman is driving the net. Khudobin has it. Chara gets away with a high stick.

Matthews back in the zone. But the play moves to the Leafs end. Andersen freezes with three minutes left.

A weird faceoff play, and it ends up under Andersen’s glove. I hate, hate, hate, hate, this faceoff bullshit. All this waving out of guys.

Marner gets the puck out.

Marner flips it out again.

Two minutes left, and the Bergeron line are on, but Rielly and Hyman move the puck to pressure offensively. Matthews keeps it going.

Boston isn’t pulling the goalie.

One minute. Goalie finally out.

Andersen with a save, and the cycle of doom is on.

Leafs don’t clear, don’t clear, don’t clear.

Matthews is on the ice to be the man or not. It is his team. They are worn to nothing after that shift is finally over. Me too.

Boston calls their timeout.

In the real world, not the Gamecentre delay I’m on, this game is over. I can’t look. In my time zone, there is 33 seconds.

Kadri on the faceoff against Bergeron, and there’s no waving, and Kadri wins it, but the Leafs ice it. Babcock thinks not. But alas, the call is the call.

25 seconds.

Hyman ends up taking the faceoff, but no, it’s Kadri. And Babcock tries to take a timeout, the devil. You can’t do that in so many ways, they could have assessed a bench minor.

Marchand shoots and it deflects up.

Next faceoff gets the puck out.

Hyman, the hero, freezes the puck against the boards.

LEAFS WIN!