Leafs Win Game Two, Series Tied Headed Back To Toronto
It was only a matter of time before Phil Kessel scored in regulation against his former club, and boy did he pick a great time to do it. His goal is a perfect testament to the way the Bruins played last with their sloppy defense which allowed multiple 2-1′s. Kessel was able to sneak away from five B’s forwards who were too deep in the offensive zone as Tuukka Rask was helpless when the Toronto forward came down on him. The goal would ultimately prove to be the game winner, and Phil Kessel’s first even strength goal against his former club in every game he has played against Boston since becoming a Leaf.
The Bruins’ effort last night was a far cry from the dominant effort in game one. Players were sloppy with the puck and turned it over constantly. In fact, it looked as if the shoe was on the other foot, because Toronto encountered the same problems all throughout game one.
Various Bruins came away with minus efforts including Dennis Seidenberg with a -3, which is probably his worst game in a Boston sweater. Jaromir Jagr has yet to contribute offensively in the series and was a -2 on the night. Also in the negative with a -1 was Wade Redden after such an excellent performance in game one, Gregory Campbell, Johnny Boychuk, Dan Paille, and Chris Kelly.
Tuukka Rask’s game two was a bit of a roller coaster ride. He at times looked outstanding as he stopped flurry of shots from the Leafs in the second period in a desperate situation, but then he allowed himself to get beat five-hole on a Phil Kessel breakaway. A breakaway is always the defense’s fault, but in the playoffs you need your goaltender to make timely saves. Kessel’s goal gave the Leafs a 3-1 lead at the time and eventually became the game winner. A goaltender’s game is often determined by the men in front of him, but tonight Rask could have been better. He allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for a save percentage of .875, and a goals against average of 3.00.
Rich Peverley was in the lineup for game two after being a healthy scratch in game one. It looked as if he was trying to do too much as he would constantly make short passes to both of his linemates Kelly and Jagr, in situations where they wouldn’t be able to properly handle them. Dougie Hamilton also got his first taste of playoff action with Andrew Ference serving a one game suspension, and was obviously a little shaky. He got himself caught in the offensive zone more than once do to ill advised pinching. It is hard to be to down on him as he has barely played in weeks, and the NHL playoffs always give rookies the jitters.
There are also plenty of promising signs to focus on too. Tyler Seguin was an absolute force last night with 8 shots on goal, 4 hits, and a +1. Though he didn’t get credit for a goal or an assist on the play, Seguin played a big part in Johnny Boychuk’s 2nd goal of the playoffs by crashing the net and screening Toronto goaltender James Reimer. The Krejci line continued to play well as each member of the line walked away with a point. Nathan Horton scored again with Krejci, and Milan Lucic getting an assist on the play. Zdeno Chara got himself on the board with an assists, but it was his defensive play that stood out. The B’s captain had a +2 rating in 25:49 minutes of ice time, 4 shots, and 4 hits.
Joffrey Lupul had a big game for the Maple Leafs with two goals on the night. He is one of the players the Leafs need to get going if they have any hopes in winning this series. His two goals were big and helped sparked the Leafs attack for the rest of the night. James Van Riemsdyk also continued his excellent playoff goal scoring prowess as he added the fourth and final Leafs goal which put the nail in the coffin for the Bruins. James Reimer played a good game for the Leafs in net. He allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for a save percentage of .951, a goals against average of 2.00, and of course his first playoff win. Reimer also gave up a ton of rebounds n game two and was very fortunate the Bruins were unable to pounce on them.
The Maple Leafs totally earned this one and proved they belonged in the playoffs. They also proved they can finally play with a team like the Boston Bruins. This series has a long way to go, and has the potential to go to seven games. Though the Bruins didn’t play their best game here, they got a taste of what it is going to take to come out of this series as the victor. Shawn Thornton was wise to fight Toronto’s Mark Fraser in the game’s last seconds. He was setting the tone for a series that is going to be an absolute battle. Neither one of these teams is going to back down. For the first time in years, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs rivalry has returned in full force.
The series is tied heading back to Toronto, a place that hasn’t had playoff hockey in nearly a decade. The Bruins have their work cur out for them.
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