In the first game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Boston Bruins threw down the gauntlet with an impressive 4-1 win. Tonight, Toronto proved it was up to the challenge by picking up that gauntlet and firing back with a 4-2 win of their own. The Maple Leafs came out with an intensity that was not to be found in the first game, challenging early and putting the Bruins on the ropes early.
The Bruins were able to keep up the tempo for the first half of the game, drawing first blood early in the second period. The Krejci line teamed up for a solid effort in the first two minutes, giving the opportunity for Nathan Horton to get one past James Reimer. After that moment, the momentum shifted in favor of the Maple Leafs.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was called for “tripping” by an over zealous referee, giving the Leafs a chance to tie the game. Joffrey Lupul was able to catch a rebound in front of the net, and skirt it through the open side of Tuukka Rask‘s net with two seconds left in the power play to even things at one. Six minutes later, Lupul struck again with an impressive shot to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
The third period showed the Maple Leafs continuing the pressure and showing no signs of collapse. Phil Kessel finally earned his first goal against the Bruins, finishing off a breakaway just a minute into the period. That two goal lead proved a tough nut for the Bruins to crack, though not from lack of trying. Johnny Boychuk launched another ‘Johnny Rocket’ at Reimer, and whether or not it bounced off of Tyler Seguin, it went past Reimer to get the Bruins back within one. (It was Boychuk’s second goal in the postseason.)
The Leafs continued to be aggressive with the puck, and played the body with far more effectiveness this time around. The Leafs sealed the deal with 3:07 left in the game when James Van Riemsdyk put another one past Rask to put the Leafs back up by two, and that 4-2 score is how the game finished.
The Bruins were without Andrew Ference, who was serving his one game suspension for an illegal hit on Mikhail Grabovski in game one. Coach Julien was asked after the game if Ference’s absence played a factor in the loss. “You miss a veteran like that,” offered Julien. “But certainly not the reason for the loss tonight.” The coach summed up where the Bruins went wrong pretty quickly. “[The Bruins]certainly weren’t as good. They were better and played a much better game than they did in game one, they made adjustments.”
Now it’s the Bruins turn to go ahead and make the proper adjustments as they head up to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to try to regain the momentum in the best of seven series. Game three is to be played Monday night at 7:00 p.m..