2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

BSJ Playoffs Report: Maple Leafs 3, Bruins 2 – Poor execution, missed chances help Leafs take series lead

Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 3-2 loss against the Maple Leafs in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

BOX SCORE

HEADLINES

Missed chances highlight frustrating night: In a contest featuring 72 shot attempts and 36 shots on goal for the Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy kept it brief when asked to sum up what was a 3-2 loss at Scotiabank Arena. 

"At the end of the day, I thought it was a pretty evenly played game," Cassidy said. "They were one play better than us — whether it’s a save or finishing. That’s playoff hockey a lot of nights."

While the Bruins generated a fair share of shots on net, few chances managed to put the Leafs under duress on home ice — with just nine of the B’s 72 attempts leading to high-danger scoring chances. The final seconds of the contest might have summed it up best: Boston scrambling in Toronto’s offensive zone in pursuit of the equalizer and a Leafs skater clogging up the only shooting lane available to Boston in what was an impressive defensive effort from Toronto. 

Mitch Marner was one of 10 Leafs skaters to record a block in the win, with Toronto getting a body in front of 14 of Boston’s shot attempts on the night. It was a frustrating night from Boston during 5v5 play, with an inspired Toronto forecheck clamping down on any extended stretches in the offensive zone for Boston.

Whereas Boston was only able to cash in one of its three chances on the man advantage while only landing one shot on goal in 5:37 of 5v4 TOI, the Leafs made the most of their three power-play stints — with Auston Matthews getting off the schneid at 10:12 in the second before Andreas Johnsson gave Toronto the lead for good exactly six minutes later. There are plenty of areas for Boston to shore up going into Game 4, while the B’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand needs to be much, much better. But Game 3 was absolutely winnable for the Bruins, and sequences like this are going to haunt the Bruins if this series continues to go south.  

B’s dodge a bullet in net: Even with Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk miraculously returning to game action after exiting Saturday’s Game 2 victory with injuries, the Bruins were already plenty shorthanded on Monday, with Kevan Miller, John Moore and Connor Clifton all out of commission on the blue line, while Marcus Johansson and Sean Kuraly are still sidelined up front.

Things could have been much, much worse midway through the second period, however. Shortly after David Krejci buried the equalizer at 3:30 in the second period, Tuukka Rask found himself in the crosshairs of a charging John Tavares. With the franchise center looking to crash the net, Charlie McAvoy looked to break up the sequence by colliding with Tavares.

His check lifted Tavares into Rask, however, with the B’s netminder knocked to the ice in obvious pain.

We’ve seen this sequence play out before, as McAvoy knocked Rangers forward Filip Chytil into Rask on a similar play back on Jan. 19 — with Rask exiting that game with a concussion. Rask managed to hang around in this game, however, finishing with 31 saves on 34 shots.

TWO UP