The Leafs took home ice in Game 3. The Bruins can take it back tonight.
Just the facts
When: Tonight, 7 PM
Where: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON
How to follow: NESN, NBCSN, CBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Rival SBN site: Pension Plan Puppets
- This is the fourth time we’ve done this, so you’re pretty familiar with all this stuff by now. You know the good players on the Leafs, you know the strengths, the weaknesses…aren’t the playoffs fun?
- Game 4 seems to frequently be the biggest game in a seven-game series. It’s interesting: the Bruins essentially have their backs to the wall entering tonight’s game. If they lose, they’re all but toast. But if they win, all of a sudden they’re looking at needed to win 2 of 3 games, with 2 of 3 being at home. Goes to show how quickly things can swing in the playoffs.
- It’s a stretch to say the Bruins have beaten themselves in this series, but you could make that argument about Game 3. Think about the goals they allowed: a failed clear on goal one, a lost puck battle on goal 2, and blown coverage on goal 3. You could look at this as a reason for positivity: the B’s have been beating themselves as much as Toronto’s been beating them.
- Of course, that’s a bit of a rosy view. You can also argue that the Leafs are forcing these turnovers and sloppy play with their speed and tenacity, and you wouldn’t be wrong. One of the bigger concerns for the Bruins heading into this series was how they’d handle the fleet-footed Leafs. Thus far? Not great!
- Things don’t normally change dramatically in a series, but tonight’s Bruins lineup could look pretty different. John Moore and Marcus Johansson appear to be game-time decisions. Having Moore return would add a little stability to the blueline, while the return of Johansson would give Bruce Cassidy options up front.
- If Johansson returns, it will be interesting to see how he fits with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen, if that’s how the Bruins choose to play it. Coyle has been the Bruins’ best forward in this series. Adding a craftier player like Johansson to his line could give that unit another element of attack. Of course, Coyle played well with the heavy-game Backes in Game 2, so he might just be on one of those rolls where things are going his way.
- It’s a little dramatic, but it’s worth saying anyways: it’s put up or shut up time for the first line. The B’s top trio hasn’t looked like itself in this series, even in the Game 2 win. It’s unclear what’s causing it: line-matching by Toronto, a heavier game played on David Pastrnak, sloppiness from the entire trio…the possibilities are endless.
- As some have said, however, that line is too good to be this down for this long. Is there an eruption in the works?
- Compared to Game 2, last game was called pretty tightly by the men in stripes. It would seem that a tight game benefits Toronto as the home team with an ultra-talented power play. Given the intense attention on the officials after the whole Nazem Kadri incident, it may be a safe bet to say the series will be called tightly for the rest of the way. Both teams would be wise to watch the stickwork and keep the retaliation to a minimum.
- He was kind of quiet in Game 3. Could this be the night Jake DeBrusk cements his villain status in Ontario? Discuss.
See ya tonight!