Johnsson's goal and assist from the bumper role on the Leafs' No. 1 power play proved to be the difference in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs leaned on special teams to recoup momentum - and the series lead - with a 3-2 victory on home ice. Frederik Andersen played another incredible game, but his efforts were wasted by another poor effort from his team. Boston has scored five goals and allowed five. Tuukka Rask stopped 31 shots in front of a crowd of 19,611.
It was night and day from Game 2 in Boston, when the Bruins bullied their way to a 4-1 victory. The Under is 25-10-1 in Boston's last 36 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 6-1 in Toronto's last seven vs. the Eastern Conference. Saturday night's Game 2 turned violent with Boston's Jake DeBrusk and Toronto's Nazem Kadri engaging in several altercations. "You've just got to find another level to dig in".
"I think injuries, suspensions, are all part of hockey", Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.
The Bruins did suffer some major injuries though as DeBrusk is likely concussed, as is defenseman Torey Krug from a Jake Muzzin hit.
Boston responded on a power play of its own with 37.3 seconds left in the period when Coyle collected a puck off the end boards to score his second of the series.
With two pucks placed perfectly, perhaps then the opportunity to serve as the axis point between the four most talented players on the roster was all the motivation Johnsson needed to rediscover his game at the precise moment for the Maple Leafs.
For those who fear the loss of Nazem Kadri puts the series in jeopardy, remember that Kadri was suspended a year ago in Game 1, and a team without John Tavares at centre still managed to keep themselves in the competition without him.
The refereeing of Brad Meier and Trevor Hanson in Game 2 wasn't exactly brilliant, for either the Leafs or the Bruins, and Babcock had an interesting answer when asked whether he was surprised with what was not called during the game. According to the NHL and NHL Players Association's collective bargaining agreement, a player has the right to an in-person hearing if facing a possible suspension of six or more contests. Don't be the least bit surprised if Saturday night was the last you ever see Nazem Kadri in a Maple Leaf uniform and his crosscheck to DeBrusk his last indiscretion. Kadri was also suspened for the final three games of the Leafs' 2018 playoff loss to Boston.
"In anything in life, you want to be in control and you've got to own everything". He is an excellent third line center and is under a good contract. That means a maximum five-game ban for Kadri. They have not appeared in the Stanley Cup since 1967.
If Babcock can trust Kadri - who is under contract through the 2021-22 season with an annual average salary of $4.5-million USA - we aren't sure how.
The Leafs will be dealing with a financial crunch as they look to tie up a number of potential free agents, most notably foward Mitch Marner, whose extension could equal or surpass Matthews' recent five-year, $52.17-million (U.S.) deal.
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