The Toronto Maple Leafs talked about exacting vengeance on Brad Marchand going into Saturday’s game at Scotiabank Arena. Marchand chose to be the hero instead.
With less than eight seconds left in a wild overtime, Joseph Woll stopped David Pastrnak on a breakaway, but Pastrnak stuck with it and tried to bank it off the leaping Woll. It got through him and to Marchand, who gloved it down and scored into an empty net with eight seconds left to lift the B’s to a 4-3 win.
It was a happy Bruin ending to what could have been a gutting evening of hockey.
After the B’s coughed up another 2-0 lead to the Leafs, Trent Frederic broke a 2-2 tie with 6:51 left in regulation with a greasy goal. Morgan Geekie gained the offensive zone and dropped it for Derek Forbort at the blue line. With Frederic crashing the net, Forbort wristed a shot toward the net. The rebound dropped in front of the Woll’s crease and Frederic knocked it home.
But the Bruins just can’t close games out.
With Woll pulled, John Tavares took the puck to the net and Linus Ullmark made the initial save, but it squirted it out to Mitch Marner. With Ullmark down, Marner dished it over to Auston Matthews, who drilled home the equalizer with 4.8 seconds left in regulation. The league initiated a review for goalie interference, but the goal stood and the teams were on to overtime.
Both Woll and Ullmark came up with huge saves in the OT before Marchand finally ended it.
As is their custom, the B’s started slowly, but this time not so slowly that they’d create any big trouble. They took the first penalty of the game, a Charlie McAvoy hook, but they killed it off fairly easily.
Slowly, the B’s found their legs, spending a little more time in the Leafs’ zone and starting to test goalie Wall. And at 10:44, the B’s took the first lead on a great shot by Pastrnak. Pastrnak circled out of the Toronto zone to accept a Brandon Carlo neutral zone pass just outside the blue line. Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly backed in just enough to allow Pastrnak to load up and, from a few feet above the right circle, snapped a pea over the Woll’s blocker shoulder for his 14th of the year and a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Reaves, who’d been vocal about being unhappy with Marchand after Marchand got tangled up with Timothy Liljegren in a high-speed puck chase on Nov. 2 (Liljegren suffered a long-term leg injury), took his frustrations out on rookie Matt Poitras with a bad penalty.
After Poitras had moved the puck along the end boards in the Boston zone, Reaves hit him on the numbers and was called for a useless boarding penalty.
The B’s had some good chances, including two Marchand shots from the right circle, but couldn’t beat Woll with the advantage.
Ullmark had to make a couple of tough saves quickly at the start of the second period, but they were able to take a 2-0 lead when Pastrnak decided to show off his passing skills this time. He grabbed the rebound of a Jake DeBrusk shot off the rush circled back out on the left wing. Above the circle, he spotted a pinching a Kevin Shattenkirk coming down from the right point and hit him in stride. Shattenkirk then beat Woll with nifty roof backhander at 7:31.
The B’s owned the next several shifts but could not extend the lead before the Leafs tightened the game.
At 12:06, Toronto got on the board. McAvoy’s backhand clear attempt was knocked down at the right point by Conor Timmins. He got it down to Matthew Knies for a quality scoring chances. It looked like Ullmark might be able to smother the puck, but William Nylander took a whack at the puck and it squirted to Matthews, who had an open net which he did not miss.
The Leafs had a 23-16 shot advantage through two periods.
Toronto pulled even at 2:11 of the third period. With the B’s attacking, Shattenkirk fanned on a pass at the blue line and the Leafs were off on a 2-on-1. Once inside the B’s zone, Nic Robertson fed Max Domi for a clean break-in and he beat Ullmark with the equalizer.
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