Game Review: Game #78, Toronto Maple Leafs 4 vs. Boston Bruins 3

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 3: James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a second period goal as Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins skates past during NHL game action April 3, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs were done after the Red Wings loss, but would that stop them from turning it on in their final six games, you ask? Are you new to being a Leafs fan? Of course not.

It’s always dramatic in Leafland.

There were a couple of crazy storylines within the overarching storyline in this one, too.

The Leafs, league leaders in third period leads forfeited, gave up another one, which was another multi-goal lead squandered to the Bruins. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, as they say.

Jonathan Bernier left the game hurt, just as the Leafs had conceded the 3-2 goal. Enter James Reimer in a pressure-cooker situation. The Leafs were already well into the process of coughing up the lead. The game and any hope at the playoffs was on the line. The Bruins were about to go to a powerplay, too, given the incident that left Bernier injured involved a Paul Ranger interference infraction in front of the net.

They got the initial kill, but inevitably conceded the tying goal with 7 minutes to go. A key penalty kill late, overlapping into OT, gave way to a Leafs powerplay earned by Tyler Bozak. Nazem Kadri, in the Carlyle dog house on the night, rose to the occasion and roofed a rebound off a Cody Franson point shot on the 4 on 3 powerplay in OT.

The Leafs live to see another day, but got no favours from the Flyers tonight after a 2-0 Columbus victory in Philadelphia. The Leafs remain one point back with four games remaining, the tiebreak disadvantage, and two games out of hand.


– Based on the state of Bernier as he left the ice, unable to put any weight at all on his left leg, it seems unlikely he will figure into this 2013-14 season any further. We’re not doctors here, but if it’s the groin again, it’s time to just run with Reimer and shut Bernier down. Reimer’s season to finish up? Could very well be.

– The Leafs played a decent first 40 minutes in this game. The first period was played at a furious pace and it suited the Leafs just fine. Then came classic 3rd period Leafs hockey with the (temporary) lead. It’s become too predictable and repetitive to give it more analysis.

– Here, however, is a point/example demonstrating why the Maple Leafs getting so heavily outshot is system related, and not indicative of them being a horrible team: The Leafs’ forwards took 27 shots. The Bruins’ forwards took 27 shots. The teams’ respective defencemen? 11 shots to 4 for the Bruins. This is a trend we will explore further in an upcoming post here at MLHS. The Bruins worked the puck low to high repeatedly in this game against the Leaf collapse. It started in the opening couple of minutes when Kevan Miller was able to take a pass and stroll right down to the top of the circles (could’ve gone right down to the hashmarks maybe) and ring the cross bar.

– Worse than that, the Bruins’ 3-2 and 3-3 goals came from shooters left wide open in the slot. Pretty much identical goals for Bergeron and Lucic. Both involved slow anticipation by Mason Raymond, who seems to have a particularly difficult time figuring out where he should be in this swarm system, as well as Bolland and Clarkson (not that any Leaf really seems to know what to do in this collapse system once the other team sustains pressure).

– I wrote a point down that Ray Ferraro proceed to make after the commercial break, making it seem like I’m just piggybacking, but Carl Gunnarsson needed to move the man out of the crease area rather than allow himself to be backed right into Reimer’s grill on the 3-3 goal. Reimer had no chance at either seeing that puck or getting out to cut down the angle, so what followed wasn’t anything close to his fault.

– Another example of why the Leafs aren’t a bad team – they now have two 30-goal scorers (JvR just hit the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career tonight) and could have as many as three more 20-goal scorers between Raymond, Kadri, Lupul and Bozak.

– Jerry D’Amigo is a capable bottom six NHLer and should be used as one by Carlyle in these final 4 games. He played 8:10 tonight due to the 11 forward set up that fell to 10 when Clarkson went in and out of the game before leaving for good, but I just don’t get the sense Carlyle is going to give the kid his due still. He was key in the creation of the second goal, showing good patience to walk in a few strides and put a slap-pass into a good area.

– Cody Franson redeemed himself for his pizza up the middle leading to the Marchand goal with good work on the late penalty kill (cut out a sure goal on a cross ice pass) and good patience on the blueline on the 4 on 3, leading to Kadri’s winner.

– Troy Bodie led the team in even strength ice time with a whopping 20:29. That’s partially due to Clarkson leaving the game, but Bodie did look good in this game again. Consistently effective on the forecheck.

– Kadri played only 11:40 tonight. He was 71% on the draw but was used in the offensive/neutral zones by Carlyle as much as possible. Big goal for Naz’s confidence in OT that hopefully sets up a hot finish for #43, and renewed trust from Carlyle.

– Paul Ranger: Leafs’ feel-good story of the season, no doubt. Awesome game. In addition to his goal, which was a good read to nip in off the point and roof a backhand, he outmuscled Bruins players down low all night (including Lucic at one point) and made safe quick ups to his teammates. He’s a ridiculously strong guy and wins 90% of his battles in tight. Unfortunately, his attempt to be strong in front of his net led to Bernier getting hurt late in the third.

The Phil was back on the scoresheet in a big way, with a couple of points against his former team including what was basically his goal on the Bozak tally. Even if the win only lowers the Leafs’ draft position at the end of the day, no self-respecting Leafs fan can dislike seeing Kessel strip Dougie Hamilton and set up JvR for his 30th of the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins April3 2014

Dashed lines indicated non-even strength play.
Dashed lines indicated non-even strength play.

Fenwick chart for 2014-04-03 Bruins 3 at Maple Leafs 4 (OT)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins Boxscore

Jonathan Bernier (26-19-7)27250.92648:22:00
James Reimer (12-13-1)W11100.90914:29
Troy Bodie0020:29020001200
Dave Bolland0013:18-220761302
Tyler Bozak1019:13230880000
David Clarkson0012:12-225001100
Jerry D'Amigo018:10110000000
Cody Franson0215:04-100006102
Jake Gardiner0116:38-110003311
Tim Gleason0017:11100000200
Carl Gunnarsson0022:38-100002202
Nazem Kadri1011:40130520100
Phil Kessel0222:17230000011
Nikolai Kulemin0017:10012104100
Jay McClement0019:37-12012120300
Dion Phaneuf0021:59020003002
Paul Ranger1020:05112003201
Mason Raymond0017:25-320000000
Morgan Rielly0111:40100001000
James van Riemsdyk1020:38260114010


Chad Johnson (17-3-2)OTL31270.87162:51:00
Matt Bartkowski0116:35-100005001
Patrice Bergeron1118:5628014131111
Johnny Boychuk0018:39-110003200
Gregory Campbell0010:47010450000
Jordan Caron009:58-230000000
Zdeno Chara0027:00:00-130004001
Loui Eriksson0017:53-120000110
Dougie Hamilton0021:15-120001003
Jarome Iginla0020:29020010001
Chris Kelly0013:17-240452000
David Krejci0120:58000492010
Torey Krug0021:34242003000
Milan Lucic1019:14027212001
Brad Marchand1116:57220002010
Kevan Miller0119:12212001000
Daniel Paille0010:48010001010
Reilly Smith0014:02100001111
Shawn Thornton008:51020102200
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 vs Boston Bruins 3 Boxscore
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Special Teams
85 %
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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at
  • Mattmark

    “…but would that stop them from turning it on in their final six games, you ask?
    By no means.  Now it’s time to screw up our draft position with a late (but futile) push.  😉

  • RickC1983

    Whatever Randy’s idea of “shut-down” hockey while leading in the 3rd period is, it must be the worst thing ever invented

  • RickC1983

    It’s basically a 20 minute powerplay for the other team in our zone.

  • Mattmark

    RickC1983 Fortunately, we took a penalty at the end.  Imagine if we hadn’t and Bruins had pulled their goalie…

  • BingoDabber

    Awesome review as always, everything was on point

    I would love to see this team with a coach who didn’t think five guys on top of the crease is the way to defend in the NHL. Or if that’s not what Carlyle wants, a coach who can get his players to do just about anything else.

  • TwistMyMind

    MapleLeafsHS what are the mathematical odds at this point? 6-8%?

  • MapleLeafsHS

    TwistMyMind up to 9.9 according to sportsclubstats, FWIW

  • Black_Hawk

    Great win tonight but huge lose by losing bernier to injury

  • Black_Hawk

    Like the effort by clarkson going after Lucic, needs to pick it up more though

  • Black_Hawk

    Good on Phil too to step up againt his former team

  • Jay31

    I would really like Kessel to hit 40 this year. 4 games left against the Jets, Sens, and Panthers… still possible.

  • Jay31

    RickC1983  Where the hell did this guy’s defensive reputation come from? The one he had when he first came here.. Jeez.. I’m not seeing it.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Did anyone else catch Bolland saying to another player “that’s why I have two Stanley Cups and you have none”? I wonder if he was talking to a Bruin or a teammate.

  • Jay31

    DJBrianBurke  Couldnt that have been Thornton too? He has 2 cups

  • Jay31

    Great point made about Raymond/our other forwards in general not knowing what to do within our system. Some people will twist that into a pro-Carlyle argument but IMO that actually goes against him… shows a massive failure to adapt. We get it, you won a Cup with that system, but you don’t have the same team anymore you stubborn, stubborn old man.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Jay31 DJBrianBurkeOh that’s right, I forgot he was on the Ducks. That sounds more like something he’d say.

  • Bruffins

    Last 14 games: 
    Jake Gardiner: 12 points, +2
    Morgan Rielly: 7 points, -1

    love watching these guys

  • Cameron19

    Jay31 RickC1983  It came from Niedermayer and Pronger being fucking awesome.

  • Xxxxxnew

    @CVerhaeghe21: Thanks for all the support. Huge honour to have signed with @MapleLeafs! Dream come true for me and my family! #justthestart

  • Yan28

    Poor Christopher Gibson now has to come up again, and he was justnsent down, but I guessnthat’s a good thing Cause Devane described Orlando Solar Bears as a hell hole and made a promise tomhimself to never end up there again.

  • loomx

    DJBrianBurke  Eriksson? Iginla? Reilly Smith? Kevan Miller? Torey Krug? Phil Kessel? lol

  • loomx

    drunk me watching the highlights can’t help but wodner what it would’ve been like if that OT goal came on May 13th, 2013.

  • Yan28

  • Great Dane

    What is it that is wrong the middle-tier of the Leafs:
    Phaneuf, Kessel JVR are fine as the top players.
    In the bottom we have Bodie, Ranger, D’Amigo under a million contract and doing a splendid job.
    The young group Gardiner, Rielly and to some extend Kadri are doing fine given the circumstances.
    But the entire middle group suck big time. The only ones I would give a pass is Gunnar who admirably is filling out a spot on the top pairing where he shouldn’t play and Bozak, and Bozie is again playing on a line where he shouldn’t be.

  • Chris Jay

    Black_Hawk  That was the best thing Clarkie’s done all season. Classic way to win a Leaf fan over; drop the mitts with someone way above your weight class lol

  • Savo43

    Great Dane  Agreed. Lupul, Kulemin, Raymond, Clarkson and to an extent, McClement (great on draws and better lately though), have really let us down this year. Not because they haven’t done anything, but because they disappear for too long offensively, and haven’t been difference makers defensively, infact most of them are liabilities and it brings the morale of the team down, and in result, exhaust our top line by giving them too much of the load. Alot of these Marlies are ready to graduate. Could be a really interesting offseason. Would love Leivo, D’amigo, Kozun, Holland, Ashton, MacWilliam, McKegg and Percy get serious looks next season while Spott takes over for Randy. The effort level would go up tremendously, and perhaps we’d have a young group committed to playing a system.

  • drummond

    I am so pissed. There are two reason for that.
    1) There are so many games in which the Leafs clearly demonstrate that they can play with anybody – just recently games against Anaheim, LA and yesterday against Boston. They obviously can. However the other side of the same coin (team) is that they also for unknown reason do not bother to show up at all in many others. The lowsier team they play the more likely they do not show up. Over the year the leafs lost so many points to lowsy teeams such as Sabres, Islanders, Panthers etc. It´s killing me, because it is those games, not the 8 game losing strake that most probably will cost them post season.
    2) It took stubborn Carlyle the whole year to realize that it is not bad to have a competent 4th line, that Phaneuf should be paired on PP with Gardiner. If he had realized this sooner, wthe Leafs would be sitting in comfortable position. especially with all those injuries and suspensions he had a glorious opportunity to play some Marlies in more extensive role than 2:50 TOI per game.
    In other words all this (even with 8 game losing strake) was so easily avoidable by better motivation, preparation and bench management.

  • Savo43

    Black_Hawk  This is the part where Reimer earns his respect back.

  • Savo43

    drummond  We should complain after we’re eliminated. For now, WE WIN…thats it. Booyakasha!

  • Savo43

    drummond  ps: for the record i agree, its frustrating as hell. such a roller coaster team this is lol.

  • Great Dane

    Savo43 drummond A middle group that has not been preforming and coach/coaching team that has been awful in most of his/their decisions, well that requires a serious cleaning in the summer.

  • Savo43

    This Dane Fox for the Erie Otters…why is he not drafted, and if we wanted him would we have to use a pick or is he a free agent? (he’s 20 yrs old). 64 goals…pretty sure he’d be worth taking a flier on either way lol.

  • Great Dane

    Savo43 Believe he signed with the Canucks

  • Savo43

    Great Dane Savo43 shit that sucks.

    friggin ripper of a shot.

  • Savo43

    Great Dane Savo43  Browns got a lot of first assists on his goals.

  • Great Dane

    Savo43 Great Dane We just need McDavid next year and trade for Fox. Then we have a pretty good line

  • Savo43

    Carl Gunnarsson is a +14 this year. 8 higher than the second placed Troy Bodie. I understand how +/- doesn’t mean as much when you’re on a team that is all pluses, but when you’re a huge plus on a team that has mostly minus players, it means something. Gunnar has grown a lot this season, he makes very smart decisions with the puck, and when he wants, knows how to jump in and put the puck where it needs to be to generate a scoring chance. I can only imagine how much better his numbers offensively would be with some freedom. Unfortunately he has to cover for Dion so he’s limited in that respect and we have too many specialists offensively on the backend for him to get an opportunity. People think he’s expendable, but i think he’s extremely undervalued. Glad to have him on our team. Is he a number 1 pairing dman? No, but he’s a great 3-4 and an amazing 5-6 IMO.

  • MaxwellHowe

    I won’t let them get my hopes up. I won’t let them.  I won’t let them.

  • 4evrblue

    MaxwellHowe It’s already too late for that isn’t it?

  • Jordan29

    Unless the jackets start losing some games, we are toast. I’m just happy we got to beat the bruins

  • MaxwellHowe

    4evrblue MaxwellHowe tomorrow night versus Winnipeg.  Reimer in net (probably for the rest of the season, regardless its length).  Dear Lord, this is a team of drama queens

  • Knights2Leafs

    Fox is a pretty good OHLer who has had the benefit of being the trigger man for McDavid, Connor Brown, and Andre Burakovsky.  Of the 4 of them McDavid will clearly be a top line NHLer,  Burakovsky is bigger than Brown and has really high end skill and on paper is a better prospect than Brown at the NHL level.  Brown is the real sleeper and could end up being anywhere from a bust to a Versteeg to a Giroux.  I like his chances.  Fox is a much longer shot at making the NHL but could end up being like a Chris Kunitz.
    A good comparison for Fox is Dylan Hunter, Dale’s son, who had two 100 point seasons but was never good enough to play at the next levels.

  • TheCanucksnaphook


  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook yeah, how’s it going with the “Eye of the Hurricane”, your proposed fan blog for the Carolina Hurrincanes?

  • Mind Bomb

    Who Believes !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Morning Folks

  • Knights2Leafs

    So if Nonis is making the call on Carlyle, isn’t Lieweke making the call on Nonis?  At the end of the day Nonis’ failure to rid this organization of Carlyle’s stupid systems will likely lead to him losing his job. And sooner than later which means Carlyle will be gone anyways.  So I’d say indirectly Carlyle staying or going is in Lieweke’s hands. 
    But I’ll defer to the brilliant Steve Simmons on that.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    MaxwellHowe  Had to put a reverse jinx on my team.  It remains on until I deem appropriate.

  • Uncle Otis

    Mind Bomb
    Tony Soprano 😉

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb  

    Mornin MB

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Mind Bomb  Morning sir.  You know I am that loser fan who is sucked in each time we get close to the promise land, only to realize AFTER we had no chance and ruined another draft pick.