10 Things that stood out in the Leafs Game Three Win last night
I’ve seen this done at a couple of different places, so why not. Here are 10 things that stood out to me in the Leafs massive game three victory over the Bruins last night.
1) Holy Freddy. That save that Frederik Andersen made in the dying minutes of the third period last night was absolutely insane. Freddy seemed to be beat after a pass found David Pastrnak backdoor, but the Maple Leafs netminder sprawled across to rob the red-hot Bruins forward with the paddle of his stick on a shot that was labeled for the top corner.
2) No seriously, holy Freddy.
3) Welcome back James Van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. We finally saw a sense of desperation from some of the longest tenured Maple Leafs. Highlighted by the JVR opening goal, their line was tenacious on the forecheck all night, and I thought they were the Leafs best line.
4) Pappiiiiiii! Auston Matthews scored his first goal of the series – and what a beauty it was. Sustained zone pressure, with some good keep-ins at the blue line, led to William Nylander faking a shot and passing it down low to an open Matthews who sniped a hard, quick wrist shot off the post-and-in past Tukka Rask to make it 3-2 in the third period.
5) Tomas Plekanec? Is that you? Plekanec slid up in the lineup to replace Nazem Kadri in a shutdown role aside Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner, and he did what seemed to be the impossible: shut down the Patrice Bergeron line. Marleau and Plekanec seemed to click, while Marner – as he has been since December – was electric regardless of who he plays with.
6) Playoff Gardiner. What is it about Jake Gardiner and the playoffs? Gardiner showed flashes of his 2013 brilliance against the Bruins last night in Toronto. The Leafs’ defenseman was all over the ice, and while he remains frustrating at times, he has been the best Leaf on the backend this series.
7) But he wasn’t the best defenseman last night. That feat belonged to Morgan Rielly, who had looked shaky prior to game three -- not last night though. Rielly looked poised, composed, and really used his skating ability to help the team breakout smoother. His performance this Playoffs is vital to the success of this Maple Leaf team.
8) Thank you Zach Hyman, sincerely the entire NHL. Zach Hyman did what most fanbases have been dying to do: he took a run at Brad Marchand. The Leafs forward caught the Bruins pest with his head down cutting through the middle of the ice, flipping Marchand -- much to the delight of the home fans.
9) Keep Roman Polak in the lineup. Wait what? Polak has been the best defenseman on the right side of the ice for the Leafs this series (Polak, Zaitsev, Hainsey). His physical presence is welcoming against a larger Bruins team despite some bonehead turnovers. He hasn’t been horrible though, and is worth his physical presence at this point.
10) Nazem Kadri will play another game in this series. With the Maple Leafs win last night, Kadri will get a shot at redemption in game 5 when he is eligible to return. Look for the Maple Leafs forward to come out flying, as I’m sure Kadri, of all people, is itching to get back out there.