TORONTO — While Game 3 lacked something from the Bruins side, it wasn’t as bad as the listless Game 1 effort.
With a stellar Game 2, the Bruins already proved they can bring it in their series against the Maple Leafs. Trailing the series 2-1 with a Game 3 in an opposing building — especially one in Toronto — they’re not in an ideal spot.
There’s a big difference between a 2-2 and a 3-1 series, though the Leafs forced a Game 7 with the B’s down 3-1 a season ago. It’s still not the position a team wants to put itself in.
Parts of Game 2 got out of hand, resulting in a suspension and both teams dodging injuries. But some of that energy was a good thing for the Bruins, who came out with the then-series tying win. Being on the road as well, naturally the Bruins won’t get to feed off the energy of the crowd the way the Leafs will.
Issues in Game 3 ranged from the lack of production from the B’s best players to special team struggles, not able to break through Toronto’s penalty kill and allowing two power play goals against.
Those two areas are the biggest things that need to change in Game 4.
“I thought that Game 3 was a very close game, they got on top with two power play goals,” said Zdeno Chara. “But for sure it’s something that we know we’ve got to be tighter. That’s what we’re looking for tonight.”
A Bruins win would ensure a Game 6 back in Toronto next week. A loss, and they face elimination at home on Friday night. The Bruins did do some things well in Game 3, with a decent opening period, one power play goal coming from the second unit, and the third line collectively playing some of their best hockey of the season.
Some reinforcements enter the lineup as well, so the Bruins have an opportunity to fight for a guaranteed lengthened series.
Both Marcus Johansson and John Moore will return to the lineup if they feel up to it after pregame warmups. Moore has missed the entire postseason recovering from a late season injury, while Johansson has been out since Game 2 with the flu.
“Felt good out there,” said Johansson. “I was fine. I’m gonna talk to Butchy and discuss it, but I felt good out there now. I’ll prepare as if I’m playing and we’ll see what happens.”
If those two are in, the scratches are Steven Kampfer and Karson Kuhlman.
“We’ll look at Kuhlman if MoJo is ready to go,” said Cassidy. “He’s been under the weather, so he has to have his energy level in order to help us. Johnny has been skating lots, so for him he’s got his legs and I don’t anticipate there being any issues.”
About the Maple Leafs
In their first game without Nazem Kadri, the Leafs didn’t have much trouble. Auston Matthews finally broke through, and the rest of the offense worked well.
Jake Muzzin‘s defense pair has done a solid job shutting down the Bruins top line.