TORONTO – The storyline for Maple Leafs’ game on Monday was the return of playoff hockey to the city after nine-year drought. When that number is voiced or put in print it is hard to believe this franchise has been away that long from the post season.
The problem for the Leafs was the Bruins didn’t care much for the festivities and spoiled the party quickly.
Former Leaf Tuukka Rask was brilliant in net in stopping 45 shots to earn the win and push the Bruins to a 2-1 series lead; in the process, successfully taking home ice back from the Leafs.
For the Bruins, Jaromir Jagr was stellar in his stickhandling display all evening and set up the first Boston goal off a steal below the Leafs’ goal line.
“Jags hadn’t been feeling that great and had to turn a corner here,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said on NHL.com. “He has new linemates and they haven’t played that much together and I felt it was just a matter of giving him some time. Sometimes you have to be patient, and tonight it paid off.
“It doesn’t matter how old Jagr is or how long he’s been in the League; he’s a real proud competitor and he takes everything to heart. The fact that he hadn’t been doing too much, he was determined to be a difference-maker tonight and I thought he did a really good job. The other two guys were a lot more comfortable with him tonight. He’s strong on the puck and every time he had it they needed one or two guys to try to get it back and that means somebody is open.”
In the Toronto net James Reimer was matching Rask save for save most of the night but the giveaways committed by the Leafs and steals by the Bruins made his night more difficult and in the end unwinnable.
The most egregious was Phil Kessel’s pass attempt to the defensive blue line on a powerplay led to a goal by Daniel Paille, a goal that broke the back of the Leafs.
If we want to be blatantly honest, we made some mistakes that ended up in our net,” said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle on NHL.com. “When you do that, usually you end up on the wrong side of the score. In the playoffs, you can’t give the opposition (chances). I’m not taking it away from the Bruins, that they didn’t earn it, but when you make mistakes with the puck that lead to Grade-A scoring chances and they score, those are tough ones for our group.”
The Maple Leafs will need to clean up those mistakes and control their enthusiasm generated by the Toronto fans, though their energy may be dulled a bit after this loss.
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