Saturday Game 5 preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins

Kadri's three-game suspension from Game 1 of the National Hockey League first-round series is just one of many reasons the Toronto Maple Leafs face elimination, with the Boston Bruins holding a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair.

Playing with basically their season on the line, the Maple Leafs responded with a much better team-wide effort in Game 3 on Monday at Air Canada Centre, a 4-2 victory to cut Boston's series lead to 2-1.

Schneider, who seemed to hurt his groin in a collision with Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh midway through the final period, survived a late power play to nail down the win and pul;l the Devils to 2-1 in the best-of-seven first-round series. Whether or not Bergeron (upper body injury) can return to the Bruins' lineup might not be known until the pre-game skate.

Nash took Bergeron's spot up the middle on the top line alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand on Thursday and did enough to make the Bruins forget that their four-time Selke Trophy victor was a late scratch from the lineup. One key reason for that: the play of Riley Nash, elevated to the No. 1 center chair between Marchand and David Pastrnak. "They're fast with the transition, catch you in between, so we were very mindful of that, tried to be cognizant of our line changes, where we put pucks on the forecheck, and limit their chances". Three split-second saves midway in the first period were followed in the second period, first denying Dominic Moore's 2-on-1 attempt and then a Mitch Marner breakaway halfway with the Leafs outshooting the Bruins, 22-16, after two. With an extra day off before Game 4 on Thursday (7, NESN), expect another entertaining tilt that could ultimately shift this matchup in a big way. Of course, you have to also acknowledge that the Bruins just didn't shoot very accurately as they hit three posts in Game 3. Plekanec was sharp in Games 3 and 4 between Marleau and Marner, noted by all observers, but none more than Leafs coach Mike Babcock.

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The area was under a blizzard warning and the Jets' afternoon flight had to be rerouted to Duluth, the team said on Twitter. I feel like we've been playing on three-quarters of the rink for two games now. "His game was underappreciated this year".

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All teams lose games. "The league is played over a lot of games and we need five points from six games", he said. It is what it is. "You have to try to win the first one", he said.

"We talked about that here today", he said. Plekanec had three assists in 20 combined regular-season and playoff games with Toronto before Thursday. The Bruins struggled to make crisp plays in the period and in the defensive zone were scrambling around, allowing for plenty of Toronto shots on goal. "Even though they got the next goal, I think it set the tone for us and I think we felt a little bit more comfortable". When you play better defensively, you get it faster. Rask stopped 31 of 32 shots on net and kept the Bruins in the game. Trying to slow the Bergeron line is enough of a job by itself but Kadri has the ability not only to frustrate an opponent but to score on him as well. Pastrnak moved in on a 2-on-1 with Marchand, faking a shot to draw the overaggressive Nikita Zaitsev to him before feeding his linemate with a slick pass for a wide-open net.

"It's nice, eh? To see these young guys", Cassidy said. Three defensemen (Adam McQuaid, Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller) have at least one block in all four playoff games.

"I think if it happened against us I'd say the same thing".


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