Bruins-Maple Leafs Live: Boston’s Late Rally Comes Up Short, As Toronto Holds on for 3-2 Win

Boston BruinsFinal, Maple Leafs 3-2: The Bruins spent the entire final minute in the Toronto zone, but they were unable to put the puck in the net.

The B’s cycled the puck well and applied plenty of pressure in the final 60 seconds, but they simply ran out of time. Boston ends its four-game road trip with a very frustrating loss north of the border.

The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs 33-13 and had plenty of scoring chances, but Toronto made Boston pay for all of its miscues, and that was ultimately the difference.

Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference were the goal scorers for Boston, while Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski and Frazer McLaren scored for Toronto.

James Reimer played very well in net for the Leafs, stopping 31 of the 33 shots he faced. The Bruins, on the other hand, changed goaltenders in the third period after Anton Khudobin allowed three goals.

The Bruins won’t have to wait long for their shot at redemption. The B’s will host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Monday night.

Third period, 18:50, Maple Leafs 3-2: Andrew Ference’s second goal of the year makes it a one-goal game.

Ference let go a blast from the point, and the amount of traffic out in front enabled it to sneak past James Reimer.

Third period, 18:30, Maple Leafs 3-1: The Bruins’ net is empty…

Third period, 14:30, Maple Leafs 3-1: The game is really opening up late, but neither team has buried its chances in the last few minutes.

One thing Bruins fans may enjoy hearing, though, is that Zdeno Chara took out Phil Kessel down in the Boston end. As you’d expect, it drew boos from the Toronto crowd.

Third period, 10:35, Maple Leafs 3-1: You’ve got to take the bad with the good when it comes to a talented, young player like Ryan Spooner.

Spooner’s defensive lapse while trying to corral the puck in the Boston zone led to two beautiful scoring chances for Toronto. Fortunately for the B’s, disaster was avoided.

Moments later, Spooner nearly atoned for his defensive mishap by carrying the puck with speed through the neutral zone and into the Toronto end. James Reimer kept the puck out of the net, though.

Third period, 10:25, Maple Leafs 3-1: The B’s were unable to cash in on the power-play chance, and we’re still looking at a 3-1 game.

Third period, 7:04, Maple Leafs 3-1: The Bruins are showing a lot of fight.

Dougie Hamilton has clanged iron twice in the third period, although he hasn’t been able to ripple the mesh.

The B’s now have a great chance to seize some momentum. They’ll go on the power play, as Carl Gunnarsson has been called for tripping.

Third period, 2:45, Maple Leafs 3-1: Claude Julien has made a change in net. Tuukka Rask has replaced Anton Khudobin.

Third period, 2:30, Maple Leafs 3-1: The Bruins are finally on the scoreboard.

Dennis Seidenberg unleashed a rocket with traffic out in front, and 56 seconds after Frazer McLaren’s goal extended Toronto’s lead, the deficit is back to two for Boston. It’s Seidenberg’s second goal in as many games.

Third period, 1:34, Maple Leafs 3-0: The Bruins entered the game having won eight straight against the Maple Leafs. That streak is now very much in jeopardy.

Frazer McLaren scored, and we’re now looking at a 3-0 game.

The Bruins had a hard time getting the puck out of their zone. Gregory Campbell hesitated a bit when trying to pass the puck up to Daniel Paille, and that moment of hesitation allowed the Leafs to keep the biscuit in deep.

The B’s then slapped the puck behind the net, and it was poked over to McLaren, who fired it behind his back. The puck ricocheted off his skate and underneath Anton Khudobin’s pads for the tally.

Third period, 0:01, Maple Leafs 2-0: The Bruins have 19 minutes, 59 seconds to erase Toronto’s two-goal lead. Away we go…

Second period reaction: Frustration is the theme of the night for the Bruins.

The B’s are outshooting the Maple Leafs 20-9, but they’ve come up empty-handed despite some decent scoring chances. Meanwhile, the Leafs have taken advantage of the miscues Boston has made, and it’s helped them gain a 2-0 edge after 40 minutes.

A two-goal lead is hardly insurmountable, but the B’s need to start cashing in on their scoring chances — they have eight to Toronto’s five. James Reimer has played well in net for the Leafs. However, a little more traffic out in front wouldn’t hurt.

As we get set for period No. 3, the Maple Leafs look like the more desperate team. One could argue that they are, given their place in the standings, but the Bruins need to come out with some fire in the third. Otherwise, they’re looking at a 1-3 road trip, with another showdown against Toronto at the Garden on Monday night.

End second period, Maple Leafs 2-0: The Bruins killed off the interference call on Matt Bartkowski, but the final couple of minutes saw the Leafs keep Anton Khudobin on his toes.

Jake Gardiner, James Van Riemsdyk and Nikolai Kulemin each fired a shot at Khudobin, but the Bruins netminder stood tall, and we head into the second intermission with the Maples Leafs holding a 2-0 lead.

Second period, 17:05, Maple Leafs 2-0:  The Leafs are going on the power play. Matt Bartkowski was called for interference, which is funny because it’s the same penalty the officials neglected to call on Toronto earlier this period.

Second period, 14:18, Maple Leafs 2-0: It’s not often you see the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Milan Lucic go flying, but he took a pretty good lick upon giving chase into the offensive zone.

While the hit drew a loud response from the Toronto crowd, it also led to a nice scoring chance for Boston. Tyler Seguin’s shot was harmlessly steered aside by James Reimer, though.

The Bruins got another solid opportunity moments later. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line again worked the puck to the goal mouth. With a bunch of traffic in front, the puck trickled away. Zdeno Chara let one rip with Reimer down on the ice, but it sailed over the net and out of play.

Second period, 11:05, Maple Leafs 2-0: Finish. Finish. Finish. And I’m not talking about the country.

The Bruins haven’t been able to finish off their scoring opportunities, and they had a good one midway through the second. Tyler Seguin entered the offensive zone with speed, and poked the puck over to Patrice Bergeron, who let go a wrist shot that James Reimer was able to stop.

Back down the other end, Nikolai Kulemin came oh-s0-close to making this a 3-0 game. His shot beat Anton Khudobin, but it clanged iron.

The Bruins are outshooting the Leafs 16-6.

Second Period, 8:25, Maple Leafs 2-0: Shortly after Grabovski’s goal, the Leafs got away with one.

The Leafs clearly should have been called for interference on a centering pass intended for Dougie Hamilton, but the refs put the whistles away, robbing the Bruins of a power-play opportunity. Then again, considering the B’s power play of late, it’s probably not much of an opportunity lost.

Neither team really had a great scoring chance after that, although the Bruins at one point were right on the door step jamming away at the puck.

Second period, 2:52, Maple Leafs 2-0: Mikhail Grabovski always seems to play the Bruins tough, and he’s made this a two-goal hockey game.

David Krejci tried to send a pass along the side wall in order to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but the Leafs managed to take over. Grabovski then slipped past Milan Lucic, who was way too aggressive defensively, in order to gain entry into the attacking zone.

Once in the Boston zone, Grabovski skated in full steam ahead. He quickly threw on the brakes, which forced him to momentarily lose the puck. Grabovski managed to reach back and regain the puck, though, and he then fired a wrist shot past Anton Khuobin blocker side.

So many games are decided by a few key puck battles, and that’s one the Bruins would like to have back.

Second period, 0:01, Maple Leafs 1-0: The break is over, and it’s back to hockey. Let’s go!

8:11 p.m.: I have an interesting note to pass along before we kick off the second period.

The Bruins are among four teams having “ongoing discussions” with the Calgary Flames about Jarome Iginla, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Penguins, Kings and Blackhawks reportedly are the other teams.

Whoa.

Click here to read about the Iginla rumor >>

First period reaction: Things really turned around for the Bruins in the latter half of the first period. We’ll see if that momentum can carry over after the break.

Nazem Kadri’s goal came on the heels of a sloppy line change by the Bruins, and it came at a point when the B’s weren’t doing anything offensively. The tide started to turn, however, when the Shawn Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Daniel Paille line gave the Bruins a tremendous shift that led to a solid scoring opportunity.

That line played great throughout the entire period, and Shawn Thornton even dropped the mitts with Colton Orr, which also may have helped shift momentum in Boston’s favor. Talk about a heavyweight bout.

The Bruins did a better job of keeping the puck in the Toronto zone as the period went on, and that led to more sustained pressure. The B’s were outshot 4-2 to begin the game, but they ended the period having unleashed eight straight shots. Boston now holds a 10-4 shot advantage.

End 1st period, Maple Leafs 1-0: The Bruins got another quality scoring chance in the final minute, but James Reimer kept the Maple Leafs in front.

Milan Lucic threw a shot on net, and David Krejci jammed at it before the puck trickled near the front of the crease. Nathan Horton unsuccessfully tried to stuff it in on the backhand, and then brought the puck away from the goal mouth in an attempt to turn and fire it in. Horton couldn’t elevate the puck, though, and Reimer was able to handle it.

First period, 19:01, Maple Leafs 1-0: The Bruins still haven’t found the back of the net, but they’re settling into a rhythm offensively.

The B’s are suddenly finding themselves in the Toronto zone more frequently, and it’s led to an increase in quality scoring chances.

The Thornton-Campbell-Paille line provided another great shift, and it’s really setting the tempo in this one.

First period, 15:20, Maples Leafs 1-0: James Reimer is out to prove he can provide the goaltending that Toronto so desperately needs.

The Bruins finally enjoyed a solid scoring opportunity on a great shift by the Thornton-Campbell-Paille line. Thornton went left to right with the puck on his stick before firing a pass out in front. Paille tried to jam it past Reimer, but the Leafs netminder made an impressive diving stop.

The B’s got another decent chance soon after, but Reimer covered up that bid as well.

The offense looks to be waking up a little bit.

First period, 12:49, Maple Leafs 1-0: The Bruins killed off the penalty to Johnson, but Boston’s offense hasn’t been able to generate much of anything thus far.

The B’s have just two shots on net, as they haven’t been able to sustain any pressure in the Toronto zone.

First period, 10:30, Maple Leafs 1-0: Aaron Johnson has been sent to the box for high sticking.

First period, 9:57, Maple Leafs 1-0: A huge save by Anton Khudobin kept this a one-goal hockey game.

Mikhail Grabovski made a nifty move to sneak past Tyler Seguin and into the Boston zone. He made a great centering pass to set up a golden scoring opportunity, but Khudobin steered it aside with his glove. The puck then sat in the crease, but Dougie Hamilton was able to slap it away.

The Bruins’ best scoring chance came on a centering pass from Gregory Campbell, but it was steered aside.

First period, 5:00, Maple Leafs 1-0: Right after the Toronto goal, a couple of tough customers went toe to toe.

Shawn Thornton and Colton Orr dropped the mitts for what was a lengthy bout. Both combatants threw some heavy punches. Neither fighter really got the upper hand, but both landed some blows.

First Period, 4:59, Maple Leafs 1-0: Nazem Kadri has given Toronto the lead.

Kadri was hit with a pass along the side wall just before entering the Boston zone. He ended up with a clear path to the net, and his forehand wrister was put right past Khudobin for the first goal of the night.

First period, 4:30, 0-0: Some nice transitional offense by the Leafs led to Tyler Bozak breaking in, but Khudobin stopped his backhand bid.

First period, 2:59, 0-0: It took three minutes to get the first whistle.

The best scoring chance came on a drive from Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Anton Khudobin was screened in front, but Phaneuf’s slap shot sailed wide right.

The Bruins finally started to set something up in the Toronto zone, but James Reimer was able to cover it up after Milan Lucic let go a hard wrist shot.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: We’re under way in Toronto.

7:10 p.m.: Puck drop is scheduled for 7:17 p.m., so you still have time to grab your food and beverages. Time management, people.

In case you’re wondering, though, the 7:17 puck drop will come after Toronto rolls out the blue carpet for Maple Leafs legend Mats Sundin.

6:55 p.m.: It’ll be Anton Khudobin between the pipes for the Bruins. He’ll go up against James Reimer.

Here’s a glimpse of what the lines looked like during pregame warmups.

Forwards
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Jordon Caron-Rich Peverley/Ryan Spooner-Jay Pandolfo

Defense
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg
Aaron Johnson-Andrew Ference

6:50 p.m.: We’ll be coming up on game time shortly, but I’d just like to remind all you hockey enthusiasts that the Hockey East championship is also in the cards for Saturday.

UMass-Lowell and Boston University will duke it out in the championship game at TD Garden. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. ET.

While the Bruins-Maple Leafs game will air on NESN, we also have you covered for all of the Hockey East action. The championship game will air on NESNplus, and NESN.com will be running a live blog, complete with play-by-play and additional commentary.

Check out the links below for more information regarding NESN’s coverage of Saturday’s Hockey East championship game.

Click here for Saturday’s NESNplus channel listings >>

Click here for our Hockey East championship live blog >>

4:40 p.m.: The Bruins held an optional pregame skate at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

Johnny Boychuk, who left practice early on Friday after taking a puck off the skate, was the lone defenseman not on the ice. He’s listed as day-to-day, and he won’t be dressing for this game. Matt Bartkowski, who was recently called up, will see his first NHL action this season in his place.

David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic all stayed off the ice on Saturday morning in order to rest. It’s unclear at this point what the lineups will look like, although Claude Julien indicated that Rich Peverley, who was a healthy scratch on Thursday, will play.

2 p.m.: In case you haven’t noticed, your usual NESN.com Bruins point man, Mike Cole, won’t be around for Saturday night’s game. That doesn’t mean he isn’t working hard, though. Mike and I pulled a good, old-fashioned switcheroo for Saturday’s games. He’s grappling with our Red Sox coverage, while I’ll be taking my cuts on the Bruins’ side of things.

I highly encourage those interested to check out Mike’s Red Sox live blog. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

8 a.m ET: The Bruins squeaked out a win on Thursday, and thus avoided what had the potential to become a disastrous road trip. Their focus now turns to the Maple Leafs as they try to finish the four-game slate at an even 2-2.

The B’s travel to Air Canada Centre on Saturday to take on the Leafs. It marks the first game of a home-and-home set between the two teams, and Boston will be seek its ninth consecutive victory over Toronto.

Saturday’s game also marks the end of a four-game road trip for the Bruins. The B’s dropped the first two games before bouncing back with a win over the Senators. Dennis Seidenberg netted the game-winner with 1:04 left in that one, and Anton Khudoin played very well in net for the Bruins, who enter Saturday’s game two points behind the Canadiens in the Northeast Division — with one game in hand.

The Bruins’ offense has been shaky of late, particularly on the power play. The B’s only scored four goals in the first three games of the road trip, and they haven’t converted any of their eight power-play chances.

If there’s a team you’d like to face with your offense is struggling, though, it’s the Maple Leafs. Toronto has allowed at least four goals in eight of its last 11 games, and the Bruins have enjoyed plenty of success putting the puck in the net during their eight-game winning streak against the Leafs.

Saturday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in on NESN to catch all of the game’s coverage. And hey, while you’re at it, why not stick around the live blog?

Yardbarker

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