Your Boston Bruins welcomed in the Toronto Maple Leafs last night for an Original Six matchup on Causeway Street. The teams haven’t faced each other since early November when the Leafs got the W in the aftermath of quite possibly the worst PR weekend in Bruins’ franchise history. The Bruins were clicking in all phases of the game last night and if it wasn’t for the ghost of Matt Murray making an appearance in the TOR net, this would have been over early on. As it was, the B’s battled back all night and secured the W with less than 2 mins to play with a 4-3 final and the all important 2 points in the standings.
Brad Marchand almost got the Bruins on the board in the opening seconds when he was robbed by the aforementioned ghost of Murray with a point blank one-timer from the bottom of the RW dot. I will admit, when that one didn’t go I thought uh-oh, is this going to be one of those games? This game had the feel of a playoff game from the opening draw and you could feel the excitement from both teams and throughout the building. With less than 3 minutes gone in the opening frame, Nick Foligno absorbed a heavy check from Wayne Simmonds and the two squared off for a great bout to get the Black and Gold Faithful fired up.
What a tilt for a couple of veterans that play the game the right way! And for those of you morons that are always on Brandon Carlo for “not playing physical enough”; it was Carlo that came to Foligno’s defense after the check and was willing to go with Simmonds (no small task). So wipe that Cheetos dust off your chest and tell me again from your couch how you would do better? STFU and go back into your mom’s basement.
The Leafs drew first blood as they got one past Linus Ullmark on an early power play. A little bit of poor coverage and Michael Bunting hopped on the loose puck in the slot. Not much Ullmark could have done on this one.
The B’s tied it up with less than 5 minutes left in the period when Patrice Bergeron converted a pretty play with Marchand (stop me if you’ve heard that before). The sequence started with a huge save in the Bruins zone by Ullmark (stop me if you’ve heard THAT before). Marchand had been putting pucks on net early and often to open this game, and it looked as if that paid off as Murray was cheating a bit in squaring up to Marchand on the LW. By the time he reacted to Bergeron in the slot, it was a tie game.
The Leafs got the go-ahead goal early in the 2nd when Pierre Engvall went 1 on 4 and somehow his seeing-eye puck got through Ullmark. That lead didn’t hold as David Pastrnak did his David Pastrnak thing and knotted it back up. Pasta broke up a cross-ice pass in the B’s zone and busted out of the zone with Marchand on the opposite wing. Pasta skated onto the puck in the TOR zone and froze Murray with a look across to Marchand before going 5-hole to tie it up.
If you’ve listened to the podcast before (new episode out now, you can find it here), you’ve long heard my co-host Ked talk at length about how much he respects AJ Greer and how he would make a great NY Ranger. Well, Greer wasn’t about to let little Jimmy down as he gave the Bruins their first lead of the game just past midway in the middle frame. Tomas Nosek gained the zone and dished the puck over to Foligno on the LW. Uncle Nicky found Greer in the high slot and he beat Murray 5-hole for his 4th G of the year. Greer has now eclipsed his previous career highs in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. Must be something in the water. Another note about the 4th line last night: HC Jim Montgomery had them out there for all matchups and they handled the Matthews line quite well throughout the game. Hard working and defensively responsible is what you need from the 4th line; adding some points on the sheet? Bonus!
Auston Matthews tied it up early in the 3rd period with a ridiculous display of his skill set. Look, I’ve long said that I don’t like Matthews game, I don’t like his “too cool for school” attitude and I think he’s a defensive liability; however, there is no denying the talent this cat has for scoring goals. If he’d work on the other 100 feet of his game he could suit up for my squad, until then he’ll be stuck in TOR (and maybe ARZ when the Leafs can’t afford to re-sign him).
This one looked as if it was heading to OT as neither team could get the go ahead goal as the clock wound down in the 3rd period until Matt Grzelcyk entered the chat. Taylor Hall put a shot on net that went wide but rimmed around to Carlo at the right point. Carlo bumped the puck back to Hall in the RW corner and he put a shot on net that rebounded out to the left point. Grzelcyk walked down the wing and let go a back scratcher from the top of the circle that beat Murray over the glove. That’s game, play the music.
Quick comment about Taylor Hall. He’s been playing great lately and out there with a variety of linemates and in all situations. Great signing by the team and sometimes I still can’t believe that he’s a Bruin. The boys are right back at it against PHI for a Monday matinee at the TD Garden.
The video below is for those that don’t believe that Ullmark is the leading Vezina candidate. This was only one of his many highlight reel saves last night. The Bruins comms team seems to favor the goal scorers as opposed to the goal savers.
Editor’s Update: The Bruins announced that they have extended Pavel Zacha for another 4 years at $4.75M AAV. Here’s hoping that this is the first domino to fall in the re-signing of David Pastrnak. It would seem that keeping his countryman here would be a good thing for Pasta. Here’s a clip from the press conference.
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