Well, that was a wild ride in Boston on Saturday night. In the most chippy game of the playoffs, the Bruins and Maple Leafs exchanged blows like it was the 1980’s again. It came to a head when Nazem Kadri gave Jake DeBrusk the lumber across the face with a swift crosscheck. DeBrusk was baiting Kadri into doing something all night long. The refs seemingly ignored everything, as DeBrusk elbowed Travis Dermott in the face, bloodying him up and possibly breaking his nose.
That was after DeBrusk was in a questionable play involving a knee-on-knee collision with Kadri. He appeared to lean towards Kadri and clipped him with a knee. Another possible call and the refs swallowed their whistles. The hit on Patrick Marleau could have been a dangerous play and DeBrusk knew what he was doing when he nearly pushed him into where the glass begins after the benches. If you don’t think that was his intention, then I guarantee that you’ve never laced up a pair of stakes or played in a competitive league. DeBrusk would have had ten staples in his head if this really was the 1980’s.
However, he isn’t the one looking at a suspension going into a critical Game 3. Kadri may be gone for Game 3 and longer. The league isn’t too forgiving when it comes to head shots like that, so it’s hard not to see him sitting down for a few games. He was suspended last season in the first-round as well, and his presence would have been appreciated in Game 7. That said, the Maple Leafs survived without Kadri in the lineup when he was injured for a stretch in the regular season.
Maybe the Leafs shouldn’t go as far as Auston Matthews dropping the gloves with DeBrusk, like Sean Avery suggests, but somebody has to set the tone early for the Leafs. The Bruins were flying in the 1st period and were beating the Leafs to every puck. They were the more physical team in the first-half of the game, giving the Leafs little room to operate. Toronto must be the aggressors from the opening puck drop. Head below for our free Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Game 3 pick from Toronto.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Game 3 Pick
Frederik Andersen is one guy on the Leafs who cannot be blamed for how Game 2 went in Boston. Despite a 4-1 loss, it could have easily been 8-1 if Andersen wasn’t playing at the top of his game. There aren’t many occasions you can say a goaltender who just allowed 4 goals had an excellent game, but Andersen made some incredible saves to prevent Game 2 from turning into an embarrassment.
Andersen made 37 saves to go along with the 37 saves he made in Game 1. He’s called his team out in the past and they probably deserve to get called out again after leaving him to fend for himself. The sloppiest play of all was William Nylander gift wrapping a puck to Danton Heinen with an empty net to slide the puck into. Nylander held out for more money and hasn’t held up his end of the bargain thus far. He’s made a few nice plays here and there, but it’s time he must show up and take a game over.
Nylander looked lifeless out there, but so did Tavares and Matthews. The energy levels have to go up tenfold for the Leafs in Game 3. Having said that, Toronto has the next two games in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena. Protect home and they go to Boston with a 3-1 series lead and can close things out.
The Bruins were just a run of the mill average team on the road in the regular season. They were dangerous at home, but the road wasn’t too friendly to them with a record of 20-15-6. Boston scored an average of 2.85 goals per game, while allowing 2.73 per game so they weren’t doing anything special.
Also note that they are 2-7 in their previous nine meetings with the Leafs in Toronto. After taking the night off in Game 2, Mike Babcock will likely have his team ready to go on Monday. They get the edge in Game 3, though don’t be surprised to see this going to a Game 7 just like the last two playoff meetings.