The Toronto Maple Leafs, save for Game 1, have acquitted themselves quite well in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins. If one saw that they were down 3-1 and facing elimination Friday night in Boston, they might think it hasn't been very close. But the Leafs have played pretty well against the Bruins this series, to the point where they'd be even with them had they gotten an overtime goal from their many chances late in Game 4 on Wednesday.
The Leafs outshot the Bruins, 11-9, in overtime and looked to be controlling most of the play. It didn't matter, however, when David Krejci skated in, looked off the remaining defender, and went five-hole on James Reimer. Just about as cool a head as you'll ever see on a hockey player, and it capped off a playoff hat trick. It kind of encapsulated the theme of the series: the Leafs played better in overtime than you probably thought they would, but still ended up on the losing end.
Now, the series shifts back to Boston with a chance for the Bruins to clinch the series. Boston will have to do so without the services of Wade Redden. The defenseman is out with a "day-to-day situation" according to Bruins coach Claude Julien. There's a new explanation to add to the bingo cards! Anyway, Matt Bartkowski (he who was not traded for Jarome Iginla) was taking line rushes in Redden's place. You would assume either he or Dougie Hamilton will play in Redden's spot. The Bruins will look to finish off the Leafs regardless.
What awesome things will David Krejci do tonight?
57 points in 63 playoff games. That's David Krejci's current standing. After garnering 23 points in 23 games en route to the Bruins' Stanley Cup Championship in 2011, Krejci's gotten 10 points in the first four games to start the 2013 postseason, which is nuts. At this point -- and obviously it is very early -- he's an early Conn Smythe contender along with the duo of Pavelski and Couture out in San Jose. Can he keep up the pace, at least for Game 5?
Will Dion Phaneuf's brutal series continue?
Phaneuf has had a rough go in the series, getting torched by the Bruins' top players as the Leafs' top defender. He's a minus-4 on plus/minus and a -25.45 Corsi; only Jay McClement, Matt Frattin and Ryan Hamilton are lower. Phaneuf also made a bad pinch on Nathan Horton, which directly set up the game-winning goal for Krejci. He has to play better or Toronto is done.
Will the first goal continue to mean very little?
In three of the first four games in this series, the team that has scored first has lost. Will it be the proverbial kiss of death again tonight?
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
National TV: CBC, NHL Network
Boston TV: NESN