Leafs Down the Bruins for Second Night in a Row

Toronto (4) Boston (1) Final

By: Gordon Brown

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday night marked the second half of a home-and-home series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. The long-time rivals clashed for two games in as many nights to celebrate Induction Weekend at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

This year’s prestigious HHOF induction class features; Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Clare Drake, and Jeremy Jacobs.

Toronto managed to fulfill a come-from-behind win to stun the Bruins 3-2 in overtime just one night prior. Effectively, it would make for a very exciting finish to an already eventful weekend between the two, on Saturday night prime-time no less.

Even without Auston Matthews, the Leafs looked competitive and capable of managing without their All-Star centre.

Not only was it an exciting matchup, but Saturday was special in its own right due to it being both Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in America. Each nation recognized the contributions and sacrifices made by many military service members.

Shifting back to the action, Frederik Andersen had the night off following a 33-save performance in favour of Curtis McElhinney. A typical back-to-back would pave the way for McElhinney’s third start in goal this season.

Ever since the Marner has returned from the fourth-line abyss, he has been dynamite after being reunited with his longtime linemates Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk. The tandem emphasized their presence with two first period goals to put the Buds out in front 2-0 early.

Brandon Carlo gifted Mitch Marner with a gorgeous scoring opportunity up the middle, to which he made no mistake and sniped one upstairs against Tuukka Risk for a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for Carlo’s night to get progressively worse, as a costly penalty would lead to another goal for Toronto 0:07 seconds later. James van Riemsdyk redirected the initial shot by Nazem Kadri to beat Rask for a power-play goal and his 9th of the year.

Before the Leafs could escape the opening frame with a 2-0 advantage, Frank Vatrano got Boston on the board. Torey Krug’s initial shot managed to get behind McElhinney thanks to a redirect from Vatrano just over a minute after JVR’s insurance marker.

The second period would be goalless and devoid of significant offence. That’s not to say it wasn’t exciting, but rather more gritty.

Despite fighting tirelessly to tie the game, the Bruins fell victim to a lucky bounce in favour of Toronto and found themselves down by a pair in the third. Morgan Rielly added the 3-1 marker, and with time winding down, put the Bruins in a very tough position.

It wouldn’t make much of a difference for the Maple Leafs, as they would continue to roll and bury the Bruins in the process. Patrick Marleau added his 8th goal of the season and effectively delivered the dagger into what remained of Boston’s chances.

Ultimately, Toronto has proven they can win without their superstar Auston Matthews and handle opponents with undeniable depth. The 4-1 victory is much needed as Toronto looks to solidify their place within the Atlantic Division — especially after a dreadful losing streak.

Now, the Buds have won four in-a-row and will look to continue that trend next Thursday after a well-deserved break. New Jersey will be in town for a 7:00 PM puck drop. It should be a chance for Toronto to redeem their last effort against the Devils.

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E-mail - gordon@BarnBurner.ca

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Photo Credit: @MapleLeafs