Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Mitch Marner's play integral to Maple Leafs' playoff success

Mitch Marner's play integral to Maple Leafs' playoff success

With the Bruins' net empty and Toronto clinging to a 4-2 lead, the puck found Pastnrak in prime area - as it has so much in this series - before the postseason's leading scoring let one rip but was foiled by the paddle of the sprawling Andersen's twig.

I give credit to the Maple Leafs.

Like they had throughout the first two games of the series, the Bruins seem to have an answer for everything again Monday. Key players such Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Patrick Marleau have been held pointless. "The 6'9" strongman with the longest reach in the league has not allowed Matthews to have the time and space in the offensive zone to threaten the Bruins' goaltender.

Mike Babcock's Maple Leafs will be looking to temper this Boston offense, especially in front of a playoffs-thirsty Toronto crowd. "Certainly, if you add it up, it's what, 12-4? We know there will be some rust, but once they're clear to go they'll get all the work that they can handle". He moved the puck well as evident from his stretch pass to Marner to set up Marleau's first goal to give Toronto a 2-1 lead in the second period.

The Maple Leafs proved that they're not spineless losers Monday night.

Matthews was nearly invisible in the first couple games in Boston, but he made his presence felt in Game 3. His reaction to struggling in Boston also was not what you'd want to hear from a leader and a great player. Nashville leads the series 2-0.

Plekanec has confidence that he can draw on some of the success he's had against the Bruins over the years and use that to help the Leafs slow Boston's attack down and gain some momentum as the series shifts back to Toronto.

However, while Toronto got taken apart in its first two games, the Avs were quite competitive against the NHL's best regular-season team. He also was seen giving a fiery speech to his teammates in a break after his game-tying goal, as he obviously knew that one more goal could likely swing the entire series and could have ended all hope in Toronto. The Avs were pushing hard at the finish of Game 2 before dropping a 5-4 decision.

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"They were tight on us and we have to battle through and be better", said Bergeron. Nash has 15 goals and 26 assists over 76 games with the Bruins this season.

Pastrnak (four goals, five assists), Marchand (one goal, five assists) and Bergeron (five assists) had their way with Toronto through the first two games, but the Leafs held Boston's big line at bay thanks in large part to Marner, Marleau and Tomas Plekanec. Because they've been able to do it all year and they're good at it. Babcock is a brilliant coach who should get the best effort out of his team.

This was a period filled with intense back-and-forth action. Played his best game since he's been here.

If you enjoy frequent bouts of nausea and faintness followed by soul-crushing sadness and total jubilation, then Freddie Andersen's turbulent Game 3 performance is right in your wheelhouse.

The Avs are playing pressure-free hockey. McQuaid blasted a shot that Frederik Andersen should have had but it trickled off his left pad and over the line.

San Jose has won two games in Anaheim and come home with a huge advantage.

This next game will dictate the rest of the series. Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf will set the tone, and the Ducks win on the road and start to turn this series around.

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