Bruins, Maple Leafs ready for Game 3 duel
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins took turns at doing what they do best in splitting the first two games of their first-round playoff series.
And the Bruins will try to sustain the momentum from their 4-1 victory Saturday when they visit the Maple Leafs Monday night for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series.
"They set the tempo the first game," said Bruins left winger Brad Marchand, who had a goal and an assist in Game 2. "We weren't prepared for that. We were (Saturday). It's going to be a fun series."
The Bruins played a far more physical game Saturday and limited the skating game of the Maple Leafs, who took the opener 4-1.
"To be honest with you, when you come in here, initially you're hoping you probably get a split," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Once you get the first game you get greedy and want the second game. We didn't get the second game. We're in a best-of-five now, we've got to dig in."
Things became testy in Game 2, particularly between Boston's Jake DeBrusk and Toronto's Nazem Kadri. Kadri scored Toronto's goal in the third period and soon after was given a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for cross checking DeBrusk on the side of the head.
"We've got some guys who have been through some nasty series in the past," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Kadri was offered the chance to have a hearing about a possible suspension, which would be the fifth of his career. He was suspended for three games in the 2018 playoffs for boarding Tommy Wingels in another Toronto-Boston series.
Kadri's place as third-line center could be filled by either William Nylander or Patrick Marleau if he is suspended for the game.
DeBrusk was dazed and his status for Game 3 was uncertain. Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin hit Boston defender Torey Krug head-first into the boards in the second period. Krug did not return. Another Boston defenseman, Connor Clifton, also left with an injury.
All three were scheduled to travel to Toronto, however.
John Moore could return from an upper-body injury to add experience to the Boston defense.
"The way they played (Saturday), I don't think surprised anybody in our room, but we didn't execute and handle it," Babcock said. "The bottom line is we'll get another go at this, we'll be in our house next and we've got to come out and get after them, just like we did night one."
David Backes, who was dropped from the first-game lineup as the Bruins dressed a faster lineup, returned Saturday and was a physical presence. He set up Boston's first goal.
"We're not a team that runs from a physical game," Cassidy said. "I think it brings out the best in us at times. You've got to make sure you stay on the right side of things, and score, defend, while you're doing all that. That was the ask (Saturday). We got it."
"That first 10 minutes they were physical and trying to make a statement," Toronto center Auston Matthews said. "We weathered the storm as well as we could and I thought halfway through the game we started pushing back much better and into the third period, generating more chances and playing more O-zone. That said, the first two periods, they controlled a lot of the play and obviously, when you lose Game 1 at home, you know they're going to come out with a response and they obviously did."
--Field Level Media