Pastrnak sets National Hockey League playoff record with 6-point effort against Maple Leafs


The Toronto Maple Leafs are probably pretty relieved to be out of Boston. "They're playing against real players and they're young guys, so you have to go through some of these slappings in your life to learn how to play and do things right".

Embarrassed and desperate after getting steamrolled by the Bruins through the first two games at Boston, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a point to prove at home in Game 3.

The Leafs will be without their best defensive forward, Leo Komarov.

The Bruins will likely get better tonight, too, with the expected return of third-line center Riley Nash. Visit SportsLine to get National Hockey League odds and picks for every Stanley Cup playoff game, all from the advanced computer model on a red-hot 21-8 National Hockey League run. Then it was a pass to Marleau's tape, with the puck winding up under Rask and into the net just 43 seconds after the McQuaid goal.

Plekanec was acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline to add depth and experience to the Leafs up the middle, but until Monday his contribution was mostly negative.

On the back end, a more predictable desire matchup for Babcock: the pairing of Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey.

"I thought (Plekanec) was outstanding". Patrice Bergeron also got stopped on a point-blank opportunity with Andersen down on the ice.

This did not come to pass and it was sort of fascinating to watch it unfold.

In their first two shifts in the first period, Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak either didn't possess the puck or couldn't get it out of their own zone or both.

Lifelong Leafs fans admit the first 2 games were crushing but they're not jumping off the bandwagon just yet. They got two goals from Patrick Marleau, one from Auston Matthews and one from James van Riemsdyk.

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Man-of-the-Match Nitish played a totally contrasting innings and picked his gaps nicely during his 59 off 35 balls. The team will also be relying heavily on its spin ace Sunil Narine to keep a check on Daredevils' batsmen.

The Bruins generated several golden scoring chances against the Leafs throughout the third, including two near-misses by David Pastrnak within 26 seconds on an early power play.

Not that through 20, you'd say, the Leafs' designated escorts for the Boston first-string were winning the battle.

Plekanec and his new linemates did not overwhelm Bergeron and company but, more important, they were not themselves overwhelmed.

The Washington Capitals blew two-goal leads in back-to-back overtime losses on home ice to Columbus because of ill-advised penalties and go into Game 3 on the road (7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, NBCSN) knowing it's a problem that needs immediate fixing. That, in a seven-game format that gives the home team the advantage, is obviously true.

In the second period, however, things came apart for the Bruins' first line.

While Andersen allowed a bad goal to Adam McQuaid in the second period, he was terrific after that. And if they didn't... well, we've already established what that would have made them. That means that Game 2 featured six games of posts condensed into 60 agonizing minutes. He'll be a difference-maker for the Leafs if he can get rolling.

"Didn't know he had that type of shot in him", Andersen said. "We could have won a few more puck battles".

"I think it's important", said Mike Babcock of Matthews' goal. Take the Bruins at the best price you can find.

After Marleau scored his second of the game, with less than four minutes left in regulation, the numbers were ugly. The goal came moments after Andersen made a stellar glove save from his belly on David Krejci with Nash and Travis Dermott battling in the blue paint. Compounding this was the fact that Marchand and Bergeron were out on the penalty kill when van Riemsdyk opened the scoring.

Bruce Cassidy didn't want to throw his first line under the bus in the final evaluation.