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Friday, May 10, 2013

James Reimer Steals A Game For The Maple Leafs In The Playoffs, Wait What?

Everything lined up perfectly for the Bruins in Game 5. They were back at TD Garden, up 3-1 in the series on the Maple Leafs with a chance to send them home for good and move on, earning a much-needed break before the next grueling series. Obviously Boston enjoys a challenge since their 2-1 loss to Toronto threw a wrench into those plans. Game 6 is at Air Canada Centre on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NESN).

The fact that the Maple Leafs came out fired up and playing desperate hockey was not a surprise, what else would you expect from a team down 3-1 in a series? Oh that's right, some gutless teams like the Canadiens mail it in when faced with adversity like that. Credit to Toronto though, they earned this victory and the fact that James Reimer (43 saves) was the main reason why couldn't be more shocking.

Boston came out slow in the first period, getting outshot 19-8 but Tuukka Rask (31 saves) stood on his head and allowed his teammates to catch up. The B's woke up in the second period but the Maple Leafs drew first blood as Tyler Bozak skated in a breakaway and tucked a backhander past Rask at 11:27. It was a shorthanded goal and Andrew Ference was the goat after turning it over to Bozak in Toronto's end.

One costly turnover wasn't enough so Nathan Horton gave it away in his own zone, leading to Clarke MacArthur's backhander for a goal at 1:58 of the third period. Two unassisted goals for the Maple Leafs but truthfully, Bruins were the ones with the helpers. Facing a 2-0 hole and another flight back to Toronto, the B's really turned it on in the third. It looked like Reimer might escape with a shutout, he still gave up plenty of rebounds but tonight the Bruins couldn't take advantage.

The momentum turned Boston's way when Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the playoffs at 11:12. David Krejci (who has a point in every game; leading NHL with 11 points) found the captain for a wicked wrist shot. Dennis Seidenberg had the second assist for Boston. The crowd got loud for the rest of the game which was almost totally spent in Toronto's end. Johnny Boychuk hit the crossbar, Jaromir Jagr had a great chance and Boston even had a late power play after a delay of game by Bozak. Somehow Reimer and the Leafs stood tall, the B's even had two shots right in the final seconds but time ran out.

The Bruins won't be afraid of Air Canada Centre, they won Game 3 and Game 4 there. They just need to have the urgency and fire that they showed in the third period when the puck drops to start Game 6. The Leafs are a decent team but there is no reason this series should go seven games, Boston has to get the job done on Sunday or else they will piss away their hard-earned 3-1 lead with nothing to show for it.

UPDATE 5/12: Andrew Ference stayed in Boston with the flu so he's out for Game 6. Matt Bartkowski and Wade Redden are expected to be in there for the Bruins.

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