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Monday, May 6, 2013

Bruins Completely Ruin Toronto's First Home Playoff Game In 9 Years, Winning Game 3 5-2

There is no better way to troll Canada than to have an American NHL team go up there and win an important game. In that way, Boston made the U.S. proud tonight as they won 5-2 in Toronto's Air Canada Centre in Game 3, giving the B's a 2-1 series lead.

The Bruins never trailed as they scored the first goal then jumped ahead 4-1 in the second period before letting Tuukka Rask (career-high 45 saves) close it out in the third period when the Maple Leafs bombarded them with shots on goal (18-6).

Speaking of Rask, Toronto goaltender James Reimer (33 saves) is no Rask. Boston's first goal set the tone for him as he allowed Adam McQuaid to score his first career playoff goal on a slap shot from just inside the blue line at 13:42 of the first period. Milan Lucic (3 assists) and David Krejci (1 goal, 2 assists) assisted on the goal that never should have happened. I don't know how Reimer didn't stop it, he wasn't really screened and it wasn't deflected.

Toronto's weak defense was the issue on Boston's second goal as Jaromir Jagr stripped Ryan O'Byrne behind Reimer's net then fed Rich Peverley for a one-timer at 5:57 of the second period. Boston's much-maligned third line cashed in its first goal (and points) of the series.

The Maple Leafs solved Rask with a power-play goal from Jake Gardiner at 13:45 of the second period after the B's failed to clear the puck out of the slot. The good news was that Boston responded like a top team should. Nathan Horton scored a goal in his third straight game, finishing off a one-timer from Lucic that ended up lodged on the camera inside the goal. Krejci had the second assist at 14:35, only 50 seconds after Gardiner's strike.

If that goal by the B's didn't take all the energy out of the building, the next one certainly did as Daniel Paille took the puck away from Phil Kessel on a power play and went in alone for a sweet backhander. That shorthanded goal gave Boston the 4-1 lead at 16:37 that they would never relinquish.

Kessel sort of atoned for his gaffe by scoring a power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period on a rebound. That's as close as the Maple Leafs would get though and Krejci sent the nice people of Toronto streaming for the exits with an empty-netter with 1:17 left in the game.

If Game 1 taught us anything, it's that we can't get too cocky even after a great victory by the Black and Gold. They need to show that they can put efforts like this together consistently, not sporadically. Game 4 on Wednesday (7 p.m., NESN) is a wonderful chance to really take control of this series and put Toronto on the brink of elimination.

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