Playoff hockey returned to Toronto for the first time in nine years on Monday, but the good vibes of a playoff win at the Air Canada Center didn't. The Boston Bruins rained on the Maple Leafs' parade, winning Game 3 5-2 and taking a 2-1 series lead.
Game 3 was the hardest hitting game of what has become a more and more physical series. The two teams combined for 99 hits in Game 3, leaving both teams banged up heading into Wednesday's contest.
Boston has managed to take a series lead despite getting horribly outplayed on special teams. They have converted on just one of nine power plays in the series, while the Leafs have scored on four of 12.
Now the Leafs will take the ice in front of their raucous home crowd yet again, but if they can't come out on top this time around, it may be the last game they play at the Air Canada Center this season.
Can the Bruins' second line be stopped?
Boston's second line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton has been unstoppable in this series. Lucic has six assists, Krejci has seven points and Horton has three goals in just three games this postseason. With the Leafs committed to stopping the Bruins' first line, the second line has been able to do as they've pleased and the result is a monster start to the playoffs.
Will the Leafs get even on face-offs?
The Bruins were the best team in the NHL in face-offs during the regular season so it's no surprise that they are winning draws in the postseason, but the Leafs can't afford to win just 42% of draws like they are now. Randy Carlyle complained to the media about this men getting thrown out of the circle, but Boston hasn't conspired with the referees and linesmen all season to win draws. They are good in the circle and the Leafs have to start winning face-offs all on their own.
Can Tuukka Rask come up big again?
The 5-2 scoreline in Game 3 was pretty misleading and it certainly didn't convey just how badly the Bruins were outplayed in the third period. Toronto was good, getting traffic in front and shots on goal, but they had no answer for Tuukka Rask, who was brilliant. The Boston goaltender finished with 47 saves, and along with the help of the post twice, ensured that the Leafs good play wouldn't show up on the scoreboard. The Leafs will come out flying in front of their home crowd again and Rask will be tested. He may not be tested 49 times again, but he will have to come up big on a few occasions.