By the time the Bruins made the surprise, Patrice Bergeron would suspend Game 4 at the last minute, a path open to the Maple Leafs. Toronto has taken the momentum of a convincing victory two days before. All it took was another Thursday on home ice against a team that missed their No. 1 and the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, hopelessly, would be the best-of-three race to Game 7 all expected from this matchup.
Then Boston demonstrated why it was built for a deep Stanley Cup run.
Riley Nash has made great use of Bergeron for the top of the Bruins, Tuukka Rask has scored 30 saves, and Brad Marchand has scored a nearly insurmountable series in the second half on his way to a 3-1
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How the Bruins missed their chances (they only needed 18 shots) goal) the Leafs make their best shot to pull yet. Probably forever.
"When Bergeron did not play tonight, you're in pretty good shape and you have to find a way to win," said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. "That's in our building, you have to win."
"We were pretty well set up tonight. We did not take advantage of it. That's up to us.
No Bergeron, no problem
Boston held the injury news near the vest and announced 30 minutes before the puck when the team took the ice cream to warm up Bergeron met with reporters on Thursday and gave nary a hint In a bank interview with NBC's Pierre McGuire, Babcock, here is a player who had to go to hospital after playing the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final 2013 with a broken rib and a perforated lung
Bruce Cassidy's Bruin Cassidy later said it was a persistent problem, but the Bruins are hopeful Bergeron returns for Game 5 on Saturday back, If the Bruins win the series, it does not matter if they play or not, at least in the balance of this series.
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The Bruins, now 12-5 -2 without Bergeron in the lineup during the regular season, took advantage of Toronto's defensive failures. The most dangerous was Marchand's goal when Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner were caught in a Bruins attacking draw. David Pastrnak slipped past the boards, and Marchand finished the 2-on-1 and let a helpless Frederick Anderson go along.
So far, Andersen was behind the pass leading to Tor 2 – this is not a typical Freddy. Debrusk had straightened the puck at that point and seemed to have him under control, but seemed to want to skate it into the net, which would give Andersen almost time to come back. pic.twitter.com/9m5mV3EGjy
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On the other hand, Rask was sensational by posting a pair of breakaways and a 2-on-1 in the second period, which could have tilted the game in a different direction.
Auston Matthews held his own
Auston Matthews, free of Bergeron's neck, expected to build his goal in Game 3 In the third half, the Leafs moved another two goals, but otherwise did not attract much attention and shoot only three shots in 19:43 on the ice. It was a rather inspiring series for the Leafs star, who scored only one point in four games – further evidence of the Bruins shutdown tactics as his own poor game.
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"I assume he thought he would come tonight and dominate the game, I thought so," said Babcock. "I thought the same to Willy (Nylander), that did not happen."
What about Mike Babcock?
If nothing else, the loss reveals the many weaknesses that must remain in the formation of the Leafs and the distance still go as an organization, missing some components to build the kind of situational depth used in elite teams like the Bruins is seen. Babcock's 15-26 playoff record since 2012 is probably the least-discussed narrative in the NHL. He often gets a reputation for reputation, but has not trained on the second round since 2009, when his Red Wings fell to the penguins in the Stanley Cup final.
Finally, as expectations in Toronto increase, the Leafs will have to counteract this trend.