Why does everything between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins have to be close? A back and forth game between two Atlantic Division powerhouses needed overtime on Saturday to decide a winner.
For the second game in a row, the Maple Leafs struck first. A Morgan Rielly shot from the point took a deflection off Brandon Carlo and found its way to the back of the net.
The lead was doubled, thanks to a Dmytro Timashov wrister that beat Jaroslav Halak on the glove side. The goal, at the 15:44 mark in the first, was Timashov’s first of his young career. Jake DeBrusk cut the lead in half with 21 seconds left in the period. His first of the season.
The least eventful period of the game. The most significant moment was when David Backes crashed into Frederik Andersen. Martin Marincin took Backes to the ground resulting in a 4v4. A lot of people believed that the Leafs should have had a power play, including Bruins announcer Jack Edwards, but it wasn’t given.
Both teams came out hot to start the third period. Boston equalized the score one minute and thirty six seconds into the period. A cross crease pass from Brett Ritchie to Danton Heinen, who had tons of space, left Andersen out to dry. But the Leafs took the lead back 61 seconds later, thanks to Alexander Kerfoot’s third goal of the season. David Pastrnak tied the game at three with a beautiful one timer. Andersen got run into again, this time by Brad Marchand, with no penalties called on the play.
Neither of the goalies were genuinely tested until the Leafs got possession in Bruins zone with Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, and Auston Matthews on the ice. Matthews, with the puck glued to his stick, circled the zone and teed up Marner perfectly in the slot for a one timer that beat Halak. But a second look at it showed it bouncing off of Rielly before it hit the back of the net. Rielly’s second of the night and third of the season.
Frederik Andersen had another strong game, saving 43 of the Bruins 46 shots. After a slow start to his season he has raised his SV% above nine hundred to .902.
Despite people worrying about Rielly’s sluggish start, he now has six points in his last three games.
The Leafs took the first battle of the season against their rivals, Boston, but they will have to game plan for them again quickly. Toronto visits the Bruins this Tuesday.
Before facing off with the Bruins again, the Leafs welcome the Blue Jackets to town the night before.
Puck drop is Monday at 7:00PM EST.