“Because its the cup,” a phrase that has become synonymous with the quest for hockey’s holy grail. In Boston, fans have coined “B”elieve, a term that became popular during the 2011 cup run. Believing worked when Boston took the cup that season, the hope is that it will work again during this playoff run.
It’s safe to say that the Leafs had the added emotional excitement of bringing the first playoff game back home since 2004 as Toronto tied the series 1-1 on Saturday in Boston.
But will history repeat itself for Boston? Heading into Game 3, the similarities were certainly skating in that direction. In 2011, the Bruins had veteran Mark Recchi, this season they have veteran Jaromir Jagr. In 2011, Toronto native and then rookie Tyler Seguin impacted the playoffs tremendously. This season, young rookie and Toronto native Dougie Hamilton made his playoff debut in Game 2. Finally, defencemen Andrew Ference was fined during the first round in 2011 for his obscene gesture towards Montreal fans. Fast forward to 2013, Ference will be sitting out Game 2 for an illegal check to the head on Leafs Mikhail Grabovski during Game 1. Finally, the player of the game jacket in 2011, it was an old Bruins Starter jacket found by Ference on eBay. This season, it’s a jacket with a bit more sentimentality, but a jacket nonetheless. The jacket, worn by an Army Ranger involved in capturing the Boston Marathon bombing terrorist encompasses “Boston Strong” and shows the Bruins undying love for the city they represent. Perhaps history will repeat itself, after a 2012 off-season.
The first two games of the series had already proven to be rough hockey, but just 7-minutes into the first period, the atmosphere was guaranteed to get chippy. Pushing, shoving and hard hitting were all the name of the game after the first face-off. Bruins Rask was faced with pressure early on, but he didn’t crack, nor did Leafs Reimer despite being tested mid way through the period. Penalties aplenty plagued the first two games in the series, but the first period went penalty free. A rocket shot from a defencemen, Adam McQuaid put the Bruins on the board at 13:42 (assists, Lucic, Krejci).
Shortly into the second period, Boston was able to skate up ice to make it 2-0, (5:57, Peverley (G), Jagr (A)). The lack in penalties in the first resulted was surely made up for in the second and benefitted Toronto. Jake Gardiner capitalized on the power play at 13:45 with an unassisted goal, his first of the playoffs, putting Leafs within one. The lead was short lived. Nathan Horton, made it 3-1 for Boston with a quick goal at 14:35, (Krejci, Lucic (A)). A consistent and reliable player all season, Daniel Paille needed no assistance at 16:37 for his first of the playoffs, giving Boston a 4-1 lead.
Down by three heading into the third, Toronto came out with a renewed energy and a goal for their efforts. At 00:47, Phil Kessel scored his second of the playoffs with a power play goal from Franson and Van Riemsdyk. Personalities began to bubble over half way through the period with Kessel and Marchand hitting the box at 9:58 for matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. When Toronto pulled Riemer for the extra attacker, Boston managed to hit the empty net, giving them a 5-2 win and a 2-1 series lead. Both teams will be back at it Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.Could not parse XML from YouTube Could not parse XML from YouTube