Matthews, Johnsson lead Maple Leafs to Game 3 win over Bruins

Ross Houston
April 16, 2019

Kadri broke Rask's shutout bid on a deflection at 10:44, but in a moment of madness cross-checked DeBrusk after the Bruins winger hit Patrick Marleau into the curved glass at the end of the bench. All four games are lined pretty tight and there's a different feel to these series than the ones that were played last night.

The NHL Department of Player Safety has offered Kadri an in-person hearing for the hit. That means the league has the option to suspend him for more than five games. The Leafs used their speed, skill and a surprisingly physical game to frazzle the Bruins.

Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is fond of saying teams' big stars cancel each other out in the heightened checking in the playoffs and it is the foot soldiers who make the difference. You can see where the emotions got to him, sticking up for a teammate. It's pretty clear at this point that playing in a third-line role behind John Tavares and Auston Matthews was a transition that was hard for him to make. He was suspended for three games during the Maple Leafs' matchup against the Bruins a year ago for boarding Tommy Wingels, and while his absence may not have been the only reason, they lost two of those three games.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has officially been suspended for the remainder of the first round of the playoffs. With Nazem Kadri out, Ennis was inserted in the lineup and performed with the kind of energy one would expect from a player who was a healthy scratch in the first two games ...

"That's what you've got to do to win", said Babcock. "Got to forget about that and move on".

In the last decade, Toronto has been unable to overcome Boston in the first round twice - once in 2013 and again last season, falling in seven games in both series.

The latest incident occurred at 14:01 of the third period Saturday.

The Bruins, though, as they would later in the period when the Leafs took a two-goal lead, fought back quickly to score.

Players like Kadri are so frustrating because they shouldn't have to resort to this stuff to make a name for themselves in the National Hockey League and have a meaningful spot on a contending roster. Johnsson's heads-up pass helped result in Auston Matthews' first point of the series, coming when Johnsson set up Matthews for a goal a mere 12 seconds after David Backes started serving a high-sticking minor ...

Kadri has the right to appeal through the NHL Players' Association to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Frederik Andersen made 34 saves. As a bonus, they showed that they can at least slow the deadly line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak, as that trio was unable to generate a single point on Monday.

But the tables turned Saturday as the home side came out flying before a raucous crowd as the Bruins took away the Leafs' time and space in the neutral zone. The whole team, many of which making their playoff debut in their rookie season in 2016-17, are older, wiser, and a lot tougher - a much more deserving opponent of the bruising Bruins. "We made a couple of key mistakes early".

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