There are moments in play-offs where there is a big save to “remember” later in the match. It could be what tilts the momentum in a particular direction – keeping a big goal at one end, and having that translate into a big goal at the other end. And when you look back after the game is over, that save turns out to be the difference, or the tipping point.
Andrei Vasilevskiy looked like he gave the lightning he saved in Game 3.
With Tampa trailing 3-1 in the third inning, Auston Matthews cut a beautiful pass from Morgan Rielly with a chance to bury the game. One on one against Vasilevskiy, the best shot in the world versus the best goalkeeper in the world. The goalkeeper won. twice.
Less than a minute later, Lightning scored to cut the lead into one.
And then, The Leafs found themselves in very familiar territory – hold on to a lead they had at once a firm grip, but you can be seen mitigation. Tampa lunged in the third inning, outsmarting the Leaves 14-7, and this was the kind of game that the younger Leafs got past who found a way to lose.
This team has not aligned with three goals in the past.
Tampa had one power game in the third game and provided the moment when Vasilevsky’s saves would matter to Matthews.
And that was the moment I realized Leafs Nation was inevitable.
Nikita Kucherov put a disk on the wall and managed to find Stephen Stamkus across the ice, in his office waiting for the timer. It was a target you thought you could see seconds away.
Instead it ended up being the moment the Toronto goal swung a string in their direction.
“This is a game saver,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said afterwards. “We made a mistake in the play. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes in the penalty kick today. It looks like we made one in the neutral zone that ended up in our net and we made one there that let that go right through. I think there was some sense off the bench going in. No. Stamkos misses a lot when it comes up like that.”
In their first qualifying series loss five years in a row, Foliage was always missing an element. Whether it’s from their superstars, poor lower-level penalty kicks in the squad, or poor goals against them at key moments – the Leafs haven’t put it all together yet. And with the playoffs entering, there was some concern that the goalkeeper could turn negative again in the post-season.
To say Campbell has had a choppy season would be an understatement. He started as a competitor to Vezina and faded poorly to below the league average for several months. A rib injury kept him out for a while and there was speculation that Leaf might have to add a goalkeeper on the trade deadline. Then Peter Mrazek was wounded and all Leaves had to go with him was a wild card in Campbell, and an unknown in Eric Calgren.
Moreover, Campbell’s job in the first round was to stare at the best goalkeeper in the world.
“As an athlete, you want to be your best,” Campbell said. “And Vasi has obviously proven how good he is over the course of his NHL career so it’s a fun challenge. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to do my best to beat him.”
In this series, we’ve seen her start gathering for Toronto. The big five minutes decisively killed in the first game was a turning point, and the quick productions from Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner were a great sign. We’ve seen the depth of the players shine, Especially in game 3a defense that made it difficult for lightning to get into the area, or setup for a lot.
If they get goalkeepers who can hold the fort and match Vasilevskiy’s big game moments, this is a recipe for the Leafs’ breakthrough.
“It was a great save and a very crucial time in the game,” Matthews said. “That’s what he does. He gives us confidence every time he’s there. He’s talkative, he talks there, he has a lot of fun there and I think that’s the most important part for him. When he plays really well, he enjoys a lot outside. You can see that.” In his play tonight. He did a lot of balls, but I think there’s no bigger than that in the third inning there.”
If The Leafs can win two more games, it could be the saves that were seen as the ones that finally got the monkeys out of Toronto.
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BRUINS stars are back in the series
There was no real reason to believe the Bruins would be able to hold back in this series. The Canes dominated them in the regular season, winning every game and not falling behind once. Carolina continued that into the postseason, never falling behind in either games 1 or 2. In fact, in most minutes played during the first two games, Carolina was at least two goals ahead of Boston.
With the exception of one Taylor Hall goal, Patrice Bergeron was the only Bruin to score against Keynes all year. Brad Marchand was quiet in terms of causing attack in the first two matches, and his highlight was a physical confrontation with rookie Carolina goalkeeper Pyotr Kochetkov. David Pastrnak got 10 shots in 5-on-5 but nothing to show for it.
It wasn’t the best start yet again, as Carolina led 1-0 early on and sat in a position that has been very comfortable all year. Kans scored his first goals in 49 of 82 games this season and tied with Boston for fourth place in the league. But where the Bruins lost 10 of the games they scored first, Carolina played safer with the lead and lost only four of them. Edmonton was the only one to suffer fewer losses in the matches in which he scored his first goals.
Bruce Cassidy’s big move for Game 3 was to reunite the Perfection streak and boost Pastrnak into the lineup. They beat the competition 3-1 and outsmarted them 1-0. And it was a massive goal – Marchand’s first net-less player in 16 games, and Boston’s first lead over the Carolinas all season.
“When Marchi scored, it was a huge improvement for us. We got proof,” Cassidy said. “Now all of a sudden we are playing a more comfortable game.”
Pastrnak scored in a Power play to increase the lead to two goals and Hall added another sign of power early in the third half to move away by three goals. It was the Boston Watchers that finally gave them the win over Carolina.
“I know the burden at this time of year is on your best players to be your best players,” Bruce Cassidy, coach of the Bruins, said after the game. “If you have a little bit of success in power play, it moves on to the rest of the game. So they start it up. They’re back together again. Maybe give them a little comfort knowing what success they’ve had, and that helps them. It’s up to the rest of the group not to fall off. And I found That we have good contributions from everyone. Maybe not necessarily on the score sheet for some lines, but they were working hard to create insult.”
The Bruins became the second team to win a game in this playoff after allowing the first goal, and now the Hurricanes have left them off the field.
Derek Forport will be in pain tomorrow
The second most blocking shot ever scored by anyone in Game 2 was three… Derek Forport got in the way of nine balls.
“He’s a famous guy,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Men root for guys like that. He was brought in to be that kind of staying at home, try to be a solid defender, keep the ball out of your net, blocker and he’s really good at PK. It has been announced.
“These are the people who make the difference in this type of game. You need scorers to score your goals and your checkers to be physical and export. That’s what makes a well-made machine.”
Special teams were a decisive factor in this game, with strong play being halted in Carolina and Boston’s 2-5 move. The Bruins added a reduced goal from Conor Clifton.
Carolina was actually excelling 4-3 in her strong play, and Forport gave them a nightmare with time to get pucks over the man’s advantage. Six of his nine masses came short.
He earned his own ice and played more than any other Bruins player with 23:07 of ice time, and a high of 6:46 during shorthand.
I’ve never seen that before
Two strange incidents in this game.
The first was when the ice cleaner skating toward the exit was confronted by Johnny Murray, who shook the check and continued the game. No word on supplemental discipline yet.
The last of some enthusiastic fans included breaking a pane of glass that fell into the penalty area and hitting commercial coordinator Joe Foley, who was kicked off the rink. It was good to see David Pasternak come in and kick him in the foot on his way out.
According to Bruins’ reporter Matt Porter, Foley was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons and “It seems to be working fine.”
“We send our best wishes to the gentleman,” said Bruce Cassidy, coach of the Bruins.
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glass crushers. SMH.
The main second line in Minnesota is the difference between wild control of the blues
Since he was eliminated in Game 1, Wild has outlasted the Blues 11-3, a team celebrated for their attacking depth with nine scorers with 20 goals.
On the Minnesota side, Kirill Kaprizov and his streak have grabbed and deservedly made headlines, but the main element in their grip on the series is the minor trio led by Joel Erickson Eck.
Ericsson EK between Jordan Greenway and Marcos Foligno was the best streak on the ice in Game Three, controlling over 66 percent of shot attempts and 81 percent of predicted goals, while edging out the Blues 2-0 by 5 on 5. Greenway scored the game’s opening goal after just 38 seconds, setting a new record for the franchise.
The storyline of this was once again a fast start to Wild, who created a number of individual dash opportunities in the opening period and scored both firsts this way – a Greenway 2v1 conversion and a split opportunity by Kaprizov.
Eriksson Ek’s streak has been generating plenty of attacks and chances and thus, neutralized one of St. Louis’ best streaks – and the league’s best streaks in the process. With three playoffs, the Minnesota streak leads this league by controlling more than 77 percent of projected goals in 5-5, not once conceded yet.