Game 12: Leafs Continue To Roll With 2-1 Victory Over Bruins

Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

There was a very evident buzz in the building to start this game involving an original six matchup (rivalry). The blue and white came into this one after what was arguably their best effort of the year thus far in a 5-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night. The Leafs welcomed back right-handed defenceman Timothy Liljegren in this one as well. After being injured before the preseason kicked off, it was a welcomed sight to see him back on the Leafs blue line. The first five minutes of this game had an excellent pace, especially from the blue and white. Teams were trading chances, and the play went back and forth. Auston Matthews opened the scoring in this one with his fifth goal of the year 7:19 into the period. Michael Bunting is doing great work on the forecheck, who eventually kicked the free puck to Matthews, who pulled it on his backhand and stuffed it in on a semi wrap-around. The second assist on the goal went to Mitch Marner. Both teams traded chances back and forth for the remainder of the period after the Leafs took the 1-0 lead. One thing is for sure, though, the Leafs were definitely playing with purpose again in this opening period. All four lines were digging in, giving that extra effort. Laying hits on the forecheck, the defense was moving the puck up ice quickly and not getting hemmed into their own zone, and the passes were crisp. Shots on goal after 20 minutes were 11-7 in favor of the blue and white. TOI leader after the opening frame was T.J. Brodie with 8:15. 

The second period started with much of the same as the first period. The Leafs had a very noticeable step in their game. While not incredibly busy, Samsonov came up with timely saves for his club. Leafs captain John Tavares was called for a questionable “slashing” penalty. Shortly after the power play started, Marchand busted into the Leafs zone, got in all alone, and was taken down, resulting in a penalty shot. The Bruins rat made no mistake finishing off a great move on the penalty shot, recording his 800th career point and tying the game 1-1. The blue and white managed to kill off the remainder of the Tavares penalty, keeping it at a tie game. John Tavares took a stick up high, which cut him close to his eye. Unfortunately, it was his own teammate, William Nylander, who was the culprit. Shortly after that play, the Leafs were finally awarded their first power play of the night as Jake DeBrusk was called for holding. The top unit wasted little time as William Nylander went on a great rush, circled the Bruins goal, and found a wide-open Auston Matthews in front, who made no mistake burying his second of the night to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead. The Leafs controlled the pace of play after the Leafs regained the lead. Michael Bunting drove the net and took a nasty cross-check to the face resulting in the second power play of the night for the blue and white. 1:53 of the power play would continue to start the third period. The second period ended with the Leafs leading by a score of 2-1. Shots on goal in the middle frame were 15-7 in favor of the blue and white and 26-14 in favor of the Leafs overall. TOI leader after 40 minutes of play was T.J Brodie with 14:24. 

Talk about a plot twist to start the 3rd, as Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov did not come out to start the 3rd period. Instead, it was Erik Källgren. As the Leafs power play concluded, without scoring, the Bruins took another minor. This time it was a tripping call against Pavel Zacha. The Leafs came up empty-handed once again with the man advantage and didn’t generate much of anything during their four minutes of power play time. The Bruins got their second power play as John Tavares was called for his second minor of the night. This time, it was an interference minor 8:44 into the period. The Leafs managed to kill off the man advantage; however, they found themselves returning to the box as Rasmus Sandin was called for a boarding minor 11:30 into the frame. It was an absolute fire drill in the Leafs zone for the entire man advantage. However, the blue and white somehow weathered the storm and killed it off. The Bruins continued to throw everything they had at the Leafs in the second half of the 3rd, but the Leafs did not break, and they managed to hold on for a very impressive 2-1 victory. This one very much had a playoff atmosphere without question. The Leafs showed they could win a tight, low-scoring, playoff-style game. All while losing their starting goaltender to start the third period, no less. Shots on goal in the final frame were 7-2 in favor of the Bruins. Overall, shots were 28-21 in favor of the Leafs. TOI leader in this one was T.J. Brodie, who played 23:20 and was an absolute horse the entire night. 

Tonight’s Three Stars 

  1. Auston Matthews: 2 Goals 

2. Mitch Marner: 2 Assists

3. Linus Ullmark: 26 Saves on 28 Shots

The Leafs have a quick turnaround as they head to Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes in an afternoon matinee tomorrow afternoon! If Samsonov cannot make the trip, the Leafs goaltending situation will get very interesting very quickly.

For more Leafs news and in-game tweets, follow me on Twitter @mikethefanatic! Also, be sure to check out The Leafs Late Night Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts!

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