Matthews, Marleau propel Maple Leafs past Bruins in Game 3

The Bruins have no reason to panic.

The Bruins had a chance to put a chokehold on the first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night at Air Canada Centre. The other reality is they're probably not too anxious about where their game is at the moment.

Marleau scored 27 goals in his first season with Toronto, but after being held scoreless in Boston he rebounded in Game 3 with more energy, more physical play and two goals, including an insurance goal late in the third period.

Coach Bruce Cassidy stressed that the erroneous call did not cost his team the game, but it was frustrating nonetheless. "Away from the puck, we need to correct a few things from keeping it of our net. I don't fault the effort", he said. They're a good hockey club. It's rare for the Bruins to lose a game in the physicality department, but even if you want to throw out the usually unreliable official hit totals (38-26 Toronto, for what it's worth), the eyeball test told you that Toronto was hammering Boston.

The odds were against Toronto but several key players came through, and they were able to come out on Monday night's game with an impressive victory. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 30 shots, and while all of the goals can not be pinned on him, blame must be assessed where credit is usually earned.

Marleau's first goal of the game came at 3:49 of the second period from Mitch Marner of Markham, Ontario and Morgan Rielly of Vancouver, British Columbia. And they could still be in for a spectacular playoff disappointment before they really, really learn about what it takes to seriously contend for a Stanley Cup.

"Clearly, it's going to give them motivation when you keep them off the score sheet".

"If we didn't have success last night, I thought we were probably going to be done". It was a bit of a lucky goal of a foot, but he's down there being part of the offense. Now, they get together and they want to make the right call; that's the idea, we understand that. "And that's the trade-off", said Cassidy. "They made a good play, they got on top of the crease and earned it, earned their ice".

The Leafs went back ahead 43 seconds later when Marner controlled a pass off the boards from Rielly before feeding Marleau in front. The puck actually travels through him, so it's a bit of a tough break for him.

"We have to balance O-zone play: risk/reward vs. their stretch "blow-the-zone" type of mentality". If there's a concern to takeaway from Game 3, it's not that Matthews scored one goal, no matter how much fun he had doing it. They've played 180 minutes head-to-head and can dive deeper into specific tendencies. According to Charlie McAvoy, an assertive distributor on the Bruins back end, it might even require taking the foot off the gas pedal occasionally and backing out of the offensive zone. Former Sharks forward Patrick Marleau added two goals and Frederik Andersen stopped 40 shots. The Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak group was a minus-7.

The Maple Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock, was particularly pleased for Matthews, suggesting the 20-year-old defenseman had been affected by criticism after the first two games. "That's hockey", said Nash. "This sort of stuff happens all the time".

  • Joanne Flowers