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Leafs win game, lose players

Holl, Lyubushkin, and Mrázek go down.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Ah, the Boston Bruins., or, if you prefer, AH! THEBOSTON BRUINS!

Despite all the predictions and hope, the newest Maple Leaf, Nick Abruzzese, did not make his debut against tonight. Kyle Clifford suited up on the fourth line instead. Maybe a little disappointing for the friends he has at Harvard who would have loved to go and see him, but alas, another trip to Boston perhaps.

The opening five minutes of the game happened, but not a lot of it was noteworthy. Hockey was played, well by the Leafs, but a few shots, a key save by Petr Mrázek is everything we’ve got for you.

Then, just to make me look silly, as the clock gets to 15:00 Colin Blackwell scores his first goal as a Maple Leaf, to make it 1-0 Toronto early on.

Right after the goal, the Boston Bruins are given a power play to try and tie things up on a soft call on Michael Bunting for tripping. The power play doesn’t last long as TJ Brodie tips in a Bruin shot, and an own goal ties things up.

And then....Petr Mrázek leaves the net, favouring his leg, and he goes to the dressing room. Erik Källgren, come on down.

When play resumes the teams get fiesty with each other and Michael Bunting and Craig Smith each get two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving us two minutes of four on four.

The Leafs are able to out play the Bruins with shortened lines, as William Nylander comes in hard with a shot that's deflected by the Bruins goalie, and Morgan Rielly is there to take advantage, and give the Leafs back the lead.

2-1 Toronto.

The Bruins are trying to take advantage of the rookie in net, getting more and more shots against him, but the Leafs won’t make it easy for them, and Källgren makes the saves.

Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting escape the Leafs end with the puck and a beautiful two on none sees the two over pass the puck, and lose the chance for the goal. Beautiful play, if not overdone.

David Pastrnak boards Morgan Rielly, dumb move, and the Leafs get their first power play of the game. They work well with the man advantage, get to set up some plays, but they can’t get the puck past Jeremy Swayman. Still 2-1 Toronto.

While there isn’t a power play goal, Alex Kerfoot scores a very nice looking goal with some small stick handles and gets it just past the post behind Swayman.

3-1 Maple Leafs.

So the first period was more “Ah, the Bruins” than AH! even with Mrázek leaving the game. The second period starts with the Leafs controlling play and the Bruins resorting to pushing and shoving because they can’t hang with the Leafs possession wise.

To prove me wrong, the Bruins come close to scoring twice in seconds, with Curtis Lazar first getting away from Colin Blackwell and shooting high, and then Brad Marchand also shooting over Källgren. A scary couple of plays there, but thankfully no Bruins goals.

Ilya Lyubushkin gets called for interfering with Brad Marchand and I think everyone should get a chance to interfere with him. Slap his hot dog out of his hand, trip him into a mud puddle, shave an eyebrow off, that kind of thing. Refs don’t agree.

The Bruins don’t score on that power play, but the Maple Leafs score right after it ends! Mitch Marner gets his 28th of the season to make it 4-1 Maple Leafs.

Uh oh.

The Maple Leafs keep the Bruins away from the net for the most part, playing well defensively, aside from Pastrnak whiffing on an almost guaranteed goal.

Justin Holl takes a shot to the head that cuts him, and while play is stopped the refs announce that we have offsetting penalties again, with Charlie Coyle called for hooking and Jason Spezza called for holding.

The four on four ends without a goal, but then Ilya Lyubushkin gets punched in the head by Taylor Hall, and goes right down. He’s helped off the ice as Bruins fans boo him for getting in the way of Halls fist.

The Maple Leafs are able to score on the power play, with Auston Matthews scoring his 49th of the season by getting the puck over Swaymans shoulder. 5-1 Toronto.

Beat them on the scoreboard, Leafs.

And they keep on going, with David Kämpf tipping in a Morgan Rielly point shot, to make it 6-1 Leafs.

The Boston Bruins score, but the officials take a quick look to double check to see if it was kicked in, but it’s not. 6-2 Toronto.

As the period comes to a close, Charlie McAvoy and Michael Bunting both get sent to the dressing room, both called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Bruins try to score in the dying second of the period, but are unsuccessful and the period ends 6-2 Maple Leafs. Brad Marchand mouths off to the refs and gets a 10 minute misconduct after the whistle. Good job.

The third period begins with the Maple Leafs down one goalie and two defenders, but up four goals. What kind of nonsense will the Bruins attempt in the final 20 minutes?

First up, they change goalies. Sitting Jeremey Sawyman and putting Linus Ullmark in net.

The teams seem to have calmed down over the intermission, aside from a blatant trip on Engvall from Coyle that goes uncalled there isn’t much action. The Maple Leafs ice the puck a bunch, but are focused on not getting drawn into a messy game by the Bruins, and defending the lead. There’s a little physicality and the Leafs come out on the wrong side of it with Mitch Marner getting called for tripping? Sure, I guess.

The post is the big hero of the penalty kill, keeping out a puck the Bruins fans think is in, but it isn’t so enjoy being wrong yet again losers. Speaking of losers Eric Haula hauls down William Nylander with his knee to get a penalty of his own. With ten seconds left in the penalty Brad Marchand crawls out of the sewers and back onto the ice to resume being the worst thing on the ice.

Curtis Lazar cuts the lead by one with seven minutes to go when he flails at a stick and gets it in off Källgren’s stick.

The Bruins continue to try and close the gap as we enter the final five minutes, and the Leafs are feeling the difficulty of playing with four defenders, so there’s more offensive zone time for the Bruins than they’ve had.

The work pays off, as Taylor Hall scores what he thinks is the Bruins fourth goal, but it’s immediately waved off for review. Hall’s skate kicks the pads, and pushed Källgren enough to move the puck,

The Bruins challenge this call. They win. Sure, whatever. 6-4 Maple Leafs.

Boston pulls the goalie, and the Bruins trap the Leafs in their own end, until Rielly can ice it with just over one minute left. The Leafs clear the puck without icing it for the remainder of the game, and win it 6-4.

Erik Källgren came into a game he didn’t expect to be in, and played a great game. Especially keeping the Bruins out of it in the final minutes of the game as the Bruins pushed for more goals.

The Maple Leafs fought hard and won the game. They outplayed the Bruins, outscored them, refused to get dragged down to the caveman level the Bruins exist in, and battled horrible officiating. They lost two defenders and their starting goalie.

This was a true test for the playoffs tonight, and they won.

To sum things up:

The Maple Leafs next game is Thursday night, at the Scotiabank Arena, against the Winnipeg Jets*.

Hey, speaking of problems with the officiating.....