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Game 12 Recap: Leafs with a solid 5-2 win over the Bruins

Leafs win their first game against Boston in two years

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

It’s been HOW long since the Leafs played the Bruins??

PERIOD ONE

The game starts with only one whistle in the first five minutes of play. It was pretty back and forth, without much in the way of quality scoring chances. It’s been low-key chippy to start with too, Dermott probably should have gotten a call for crosschecking Pastrnak into the Leafs’ net. Michael Bunting had a swinging himself to cause the first whistle, then drew a penalty to get the second one.

Leafs had a few good chances on the powerplay. Willy hit the post, JT got in all alone in front and had Ullmark beat on a deke. But he lost the puck with an open net. Rielly had a gaping net too, but was foiled.

Jack Campbell and David Kampf between them saved a goal, but the Leafs are going to the penalty kill on the chaos of that play. And right off the faceoff win, the Bruins score off some quick puck movement and a Taylor Hall deflection.

Bruins lead 1-0.

The Leafs score! Marner dribbles it through a crowd.... but it may get called back since Tavares got pushed into the net by Bergeron, and it was off before the goal went in — maybe? Or the net may have been fine but maybe it never crossed the line because of someone’s skate? Either way the review is taking a good long while... but we have a GOOD GOAL! Tavares gets the credit.

Leafs tie the game 1-1.

The Leafs fourth line may not be getting a lot of goals, but they’re getting a lot of chances...

First Period Thoughts

  • Shot attempts: Bruins had the advantage in quantity, out attempting Toronto 17-14 at 5v5,
  • Expected goals: The Leafs, however, had the advantage in quality. They had a 0.69 (nice) vs 0.55 expected goal share.
  • Special teams: Bruins winning so far, scoring seconds into their powerplay. The Leafs couldn’t score but did have three really good chances.
  • Standouts: The Bunting-Matthews-Nylander line had the best period in terms of shot and scoring chance share, but Marner and Tavares had the goal. Rielly, Liljegren and Sandin are holding down the fort on the defensive end. The third line got pummeled.
  • Heatmap:

PERIOD TWO

Leafs start the period with a too many men penalty, which included Morgan Rielly hilariously half-jumping into the Bruins bench to try and avoid the call.

Leafs do manage to kill it off, though. Thanks to some great effort from Kampf, Marner and Kaše.

So hey, I know we’ve all loved the run Sandin and Liljegren have been on, but I never want to see them hemmed in against the Bruins’ top line ever ever again. Leafs go to the powerplay thanks to Pastrnak boarding Brodie. Leafs again get a few good chances and scrambles, but can’t put one past Ullmark.

A few minutes later of not much happening, the Leafs go back to the powerplay looking to take the lead, right after Matthews gave us a collective heart attack.

Leafs score very quickly thanks to a nice pass by Marner to Matthews, who was somehow left all alone in front and had Ullmark at his mercy.

2-1 Leafs take the lead.

Leafs get another powerplay not long after. Marchand took a high sticking penalty, then tried to draw an even up call by going at Liljegren. The refs did not oblige, and Matthews made the Bruins pay once again with his patented one timer.

3-1 Leafs.

Second Period Thoughts

  • Shot share: It was a less eventful period at 5v5, in part because of more special teams time. But the Leafs controlled the shot attempt share 15 to 13 at evens.
  • Expected goal share: The Leafs continued the same trend from the first period, outchancing Boston to the tune of 0.54 to 0.34 at even strength. Leafs did a better job limiting the Bruins’ chances.
  • Special teams: Give this one to the Leafs. Their two powerplay goals in the second period is the difference right now. One was off a rush, thanks to some brilliant play by Tavares and Marner, the other is just a classic Matthews one timer that was set up nicely.
  • Standouts: Matthews, Marner, and Tavares were the offensive stars. I want to point out that Liljegren is once again near the tops of the Leas in expected goal percentage, despite being caught out against Boston’s top line twice in that period. The third line, as well as Kerfoot and Marner are under water at 5v5 but given that Tavares is much better I assume that’s from a post PK shift or something.
  • Heatmap: This is a good indication that the Leafs are just not giving the Bruins ANYTHING at 5v5 through the first two periods.

PERIOD THREE

Leafs again start the period taking an early penalty. The call was.... questionable.

Leafs kill it off, and go with a Line Of Doom post-PK with Matthews, Tavares and Willy. Some good work off the cycle and Tavares scores off a rebound in front.

4-1 Leafs.

A few minutes later, the Leafs have a breakdown leaving Pastrnak wide open on a cross-ice one timer, and Boston brings the score within two.

4-2 Leafs.

Leafs were still controlling play for the first half of the period, but seem to have gone into turtle mode and Boston pressing harder for the comeback. Boston have had a couple of good chances where before the Leafs were pretty stingy about not giving them anything in the first two periods.

With four minutes left, Bunting takes a stupid and needless penalty. Leafs fans may not like it, but he basically dove into the Bruins’ player’s feet and tripped him. Could have just kept forcing him to the outside, especially when you’re in the offensive zone. The Leafs thankfully kill it off, thanks to a pretty effective penalty kill.

So we’re down to just under two minutes left, Leafs hanging onto the two goal lead. Bruins pull their goalie and with 6 on 5 the Bruins cause some chaos and Morgan Rielly saved a goal by tying up his man at the side of the net. They break it out eventually and Marner gets the easy empty net goal to make it 5-2.

Final Thoughts

  • Shot attempts: It was close for the first have of the period, but the Leafs wound up being out Corsi’d 23-8 at even strength, and 53-38 for the game. You can see when it happened too:
  • Expected goals: Again, the Leafs had a similar lead in expected goals at evens but then turtled and did nothing offensively for the final ten minutes. Bruins took the period 0.8 to 0.62, but the Leafs finished with 53% of expected goal share at evens for the game.
  • Special teams: Leafs had some big penalty kills in the final period to keep the two goal lead.
  • Standouts: The big boys continue to produce. The foursome of Matthews, Nylander, Tavares and Marner have scored the last 12 or 13 goals the Leafs have had.
  • Heatmap: