The Leafs did some encouraging things while the Bruins were crushing them in Games 1 and 2. Now, this is a series.
The Maple Leafs lost the first two games of this series against the Bruins by an aggregate score of 12-4, falling into an 0-2 pit from which only 13 percent of teams emerge. They were embarrassed twice in a row against a team with more playoff experience that had finished seven points ahead of them in the standings and looked primed to cruise.
Something changed in Game 3 on Monday. It wasn’t as simple as the series shifting from Boston to Toronto, but it wasn’t as radical as the Leafs flipping a switch and turning from an incompetent team to a good one. Their 4-2 win was a couple of days in the making.
The Leafs weren’t as bad as the scores said in Games 1 and 2.
It’s impossible to play well in the course of getting drubbed 5-1 and 7-3 in back-to-back games, but the run of play on those nights wasn’t quite that lopsided.
The Bruins were pretty dominant in Game 1. They controlled 65 percent of the shot attempts at even strength and had a 25-14 even-strength advantage in scoring chances. But even then, the high-danger chances that came right in front of the net favored the Leafs, 7-5. They consistently got pucks close to Tuukka Rask. They rarely finished, and goaltender Frederik Andersen (five goals allowed on 40 shots) didn’t keep them in it.
In Game 2, the tide turned in the Leafs’ favor. They dominated the possession game, registering 63 percent of the game’s even-strength shot attempts. The scoring chances were a reverse of Game 1, with the Bruins getting a few more in high-danger …read more