Leafs lines in warm-up— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 23, 2018
Andersen starts (1-3 when facing elimination, .905 sv%)
Big crowd in Maple Leafs Square on the broadcast and inside the arena, everyone is waving the rally towel.
The starting line is Tomas Plekanec with Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau, so the warmup lines are a feint again.
Tommy Wingels is in for the Bruins, and Danton Heinen is out.
We begin, of course, with a moment of silence in honour of those so horrible taken today in Toronto.
We stand on guard for thee. Always.
Now to the game.
Marleau gets moving right away. Boston comes back up ice, and it’s a gentle start until Nylander lays a check, and then later Andersen has to make a save. Boston has Nash and Nash on the same line, which is cruel.
The fourth line has a good shift for Toronto, and gets the fans going because they want a tripping call the ref won’t give.
Marner with a sharp-angle shot, followed right up by a Zaitsev shot. The Plekanec line is active in the offensive zone again against the Bergeron line.
I’m really nervous about this game. I’ve seen some turnovers, some typical Boston steals, and I just want a Toronto goal, okay?
Great Kadri line shift — with JvR on one wing and Nylander on the other. Travis Dermott played some forward too.
Plekanec with a giveaway to Brad Marchand, and Ron Hainsey outskates Marchand (really) to make it icing for the Bruins.
Bergeron line out for a faceoff in the Leafs zone, and they win it on Plekanec, and I’ll just say, I’d take a Tyler Bozak FOGO play right now. Andersen makes a neat intentional rebound out to Marner to break up the play, but we end up with a faceoff again.
Bozak is out this time, and he wins it, and yet the Leafs don’t get past the redline for too long. JvR gets a shot off eventually after a little uncalled interference makes him do the zone entry twice.
Bruins ice it again. They don’t look like themselves so far. And I’m FINE with that.
Try three on this faceoff finally goes, but at least it’s the first time for this nonsense.
A neat little steal by Matthews leads to a Brown shot.
The Kadri line again with a lovely flurry at the Boston net, and it leads to Jake DeBrusk shooting it over the glass. To the power play we go!
Good power play right off, as they win the faceoff in the way that counts — they start with control, and they get one shot off.
Leafs fail at the very last second on the second setup, and we go to the second unit. Nylander gets off a pass, and Johnsson can’t bury it. Great movement though.
Matthews back the other way to Nylander, but he can’t get it through. Boston has a very good PK as per usual.
As the power play ends, I just remembered that horrible post-PP line Babcock used of Hyman, Gauthier and Komarov. Shudder. That was not a fun experiment.
Andersen has to make a big save as the line-matching is causing some chaos.
Bruins are pouring on some offence now, I don’t like it.
Bozak to JvR in the slot, but the shot was not a good one as he had Nash’s stick in the way. We need a bounce here. This isn’t fair.
Kapanen tries to dance around Chara, but that failed.
Polak mugs Pastrnak in the corner, and there is a lot of Czech laughing after.
Marchand rips off Gardiner’s helmet in a scrum behind the net, and it’s always so weird to see Jake hot under the collar.
Andersen with a slick little catch of the puck, and I like his play so far this game.
Charlies McAvoy has really embraced the Bruins identity. He’s home, where he should be, stirring up shit.
More Bergeron-line zone time on the Leafs, and for the most part the Leafs are actively defending, not chasing the play. So that’s good. The defence grab up the puck for Andersen when he loses it.
Andersen with a save in heavy traffic, and someone knocked the Leafs net off. Perhaps Rielly, but hey, if Andrei Vasilevskiy can just kick it off himself, you can’t call Rielly for it, and they don’t.
The Leafs are facing a steady line-one, line-two from Boston in their own zone. They finally get out in the last 40 seconds of the period.
Boston pounds the Leafs net with shots for the last seconds, but the horn goes, and it’s 0-0.
Where’s that silent screaming painting?
All of that good Boston shooting was the last five minutes of the game. The Leafs are getting in the right place to score, just not quite enough. High-danger chances are 3-2 for Boston though. Also, we need a bounce!
The second period opens at a slow, stand-up pace. I don’t like this. I want the Leafs to skate the Bruins to dust.
Dammit. The Leafs ice the puck, and the Bruins score straight off the ensuing faceoff through traffic.
Too many icings is the issue here. Too many faceoff chances to the Bruins. Which really means, there haven’t been good zone exits from the Leafs.
Come on, Leafs, score...they do!!! Willie! You beautiful man, you. Fuck yeah. I say that again, fuck yeah, baby.
Low to high pass, patient set up, huge amount of traffic in the slot, a tip to the man who scores. Classic Leafs goal. Classic.
Kadri and Nylander, I tell you what, I like that pairing. All the Leafs need is to clone Nylander and Hyman, and it’s all good.
The Leafs are struggling to get out of the zone, and it’s how it always is, except, for one thing. Dermott finally gets the puck up the boards to Hyman, and he does what he does and gets it to Matthews, who rings around behind the net, and here’s Mr. Zack Hyman with the go-ahead goal.
Oh pffft. Goalie interference review. The call on the ice is reversed and there is no goal. Hard pill to swallow, but there is contact between Hyman’s skate and Rask’s blocker.
Zach Hyman's goal is taken back for goalie interference. pic.twitter.com/0w4FbNeIjC— Flintor (@TheFlintor) April 24, 2018
Forget it, that’s over. Get another one.
Marner sure tries on a nice spin move, which he follows up by flipping Torey Krug to the ice behind the net after a mugging. Also a nice move.
The Kadri line gets out and gets some zone time. The stretch passes have been working for a bit here.
Dermott with a hideous giveaway in the defensive zone. Holy cow, that stank, Travis. You gotta stop that.
The Leafs are chasing a little under pressure here.
A series of successful exits don’t have successful zone entries at the other end until Hyman and Brown get it all the way in.
Marchand with a shot that Andersen flips over the net with a fast glove. A two-on-one, but Pastrnak misses. A Marchand shot. There is no answer to this line tonight. None. There sure as hell isn’t any answer with Polak and Dermott out there.
The Kadri line gets some chances with Bergeron off the ice.
The next Bergeron line shift has some good Leafs defending, particularly Hainsey, and now it’s a reprieve of sorts. To say the ice is tilted for the Bruins is an understatement.
A whole series of Nash shots (not always the same Nash) and Andersen has it all. Somehow. How? I don’t know.
Oh good, the Bergeron line is out again.
Marner is roaring up the ice with the puck, but they can’t get anything going, and there’s a giveaway again. My god. Andersen has the bailing bucket out big time. He’s saving this game right now. This is better than the end of the last game.
I want to ask you something. What nerve does it take to play Dermott, who is not good defensively, but he can make plays up ice? What nerve does it take to play Johnsson, who is green as grass and makes big mistakes, but he can score? What a gamble. Surely it’s clear why more coaches don’t do this? How many NHL teams would have played Komarov instead?
Yet another defensive zone faceoff with the Bergeron line. Marner is off with the puck.
Holy Shit! That’s my goal summation. Holy shit, that was beautiful.
Kapanen gets the puck and Bozak takes it in for a shot. Come on, guys, keep up the pressure. They do, the Leafs have zone time all through the goal announcement, and they draw a penalty. To the power play we go again!
Two in one game for the Leafs? Is that allowed?
Gah, this TV timeout is endless.
Good chance from the first unit on the PP.
The second unit comes out a bit early, and Matthews and Nylander get crossed up, letting the Bruins clear. The next setup gets a shot off.
The chanting fans sound so tense, and I feel you, people. There is no joy from the power play, but it was two whole minutes without the Bergeron line in Andersen’s face.
Great pressure from Plekanec, and the Leafs have got something going here in the dying minutes of this period.
Andersen with a point-blank shot from the stick of Chara.
Plekanec gets creamed in the defensive corner, and Polak ends up deep with the puck alone on the Bruins, and then Brown comes in to help, and that’s just not something you see every day.
The Leafs ice it against Bergeron again with less than two minutes to go. Not ideal.
Matthews keeps the puck going the right way, like he’s Zach Hyman or something, and they get some blue paint time and an offensive zone faceoff.
It’s all Leafs in the last few seconds of this period, but the end result is an offensive-zone penalty to Nazem Kadri for slashing with ten seconds to go.
Stay out of the penalty box. So much for that. If only there had been some small hint that every slash was going to be called.
Stay out of the penalty box. Also, Mitch Marner is a god. Also, the Matthews line really worked hard in this period and should be given a goal in the third.
Somehow with all this Bruins zone time, the Leafs are now leading in High-Danger chances. The overall scoring chances go heavily to the Bruins, though.
We begin on the PK, and I just want a fast forward button. The Leafs are killing aggressively with all the young and fast forwards out in rotation.
Andersen is knocked down on a scrum as the power play ends. David Backes, have I mentioned how much I despise that man? I do. And he elbows Andersen right in the face. Polak goes for him, and you know what? Good!
The result is just one minor to the scumbag that is David Backes. Polak gets an offsetting minor, and the Avicii music is sad right now, ACC, don’t play that.
We have four-on-four.
Wait, did I mention how much I hate David Backes? Okay, yeah, good.
LOL, a Bruin tries to outskate the old man.
Rielly with a shot and Rask coughs up a huge rebound, but no one has it.
Yeah! Charlie Bruin! Good play! McAvoy trips Kadri, and the Leafs have a power play now. (Kadri fell pretty easy, but the penalty was legit.)
Nothing comes of the brief four-on-three. The real power play is better, and Rask is earning the pay he’s not getting for this game.
Matthews is out with Nylander, and the magic is like it always is, but the shot is blocked.
Boston gets some zone time, and the Leafs look okay, on the job in ways they often aren’t but it ends with an icing again, giving Bergeron’s crew their 147th faceoff in the Leafs zone.
Nylander roars in off a stretch pass, and Rask comes way out to poke check it. The game is speeding up to too fast for the 401 levels.
This is your 10-minute warning.
McAvoy mugs Kapanen in the corner, and the fans are booing so loud, I’m in awe.
Oh, Marchand is mad! Oh, no. He doesn’t like a linesman’s off side call. Do something rash, Marchy, you know you want to.
There are, it is said, only four shots on goal in this period so far. Three to the Leafs.
Big rebound off a Marleau shot gets lost in traffic.
Matthews to Nylander, and Rask makes an amazing save.
And an icing leads to, well, you know. The Maple Leafs bakery serves big juicy turnovers and cupcakes with really thick icing.
Leafs are controlling the puck for the most part, and pressing hard, but they aren’t getting a lot of shots or any cycle.
Pastrnak with his first shot on goal, and Andersen has it.
Marner knocks the puck over the glass, and it’s PK time for two minutes. I’ll not accept any less than a full two minutes.
Big shot block and a clear. The puck comes back out on the next setup. The Leafs hack at the puck and break up the play, but don’t clear, and now there goes Brown and Kapanen. Rask with a great save. Marchand caught by Brown, and yeah, fans cheer for him hard. He’s been awesome here.
Go Leafs Go chants for the PK. A huge block by Hyman, the crowd is going wild. The penalty is over. Freddie, Freddie, Freddie. I’ve never heard anything like this. Leafs fans, you’re amazing.
Johnny with a pass to Matthews, and Rask has it. Rask has been stunning out here.
How’s your heartrate? Mine’s fine.
Rask has not been pulled at under 2 and a half minutes.
Two minutes and the Leafs take it in offside.
Leafs get it to a minute and a half. Rask is out, and Pleky scooooooooooores.
3-1 Leafs. We’re going to game seven.
(Truthfully, I can’t remember any of the rest of the game.)
Mike Babcock stacked his lineup with young and fast players and he played them hard. He demoted the expiring UFAs, and he went with the Leafs of the future. This was a hell of a gamble, but it paid off. It was like riding a roller coaster while sucking on a helium tank, but it was a hell of a ride.
Leafs are going to game seven. Let’s take the brakes off the coaster for that one.