Toronto — Auston Matthews scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Patrick Marleau had two goals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
James van Riemsdyk also scored and Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly added two assists each to help Toronto pull to within 2-1 in the best-of-seven set. Frederik Andersen stopped 40 shots.
Adam McQuaid and Zdeno Chara had the goals for Boston, Sean Kuraly had two assists, and Tuukka Rask finished with 26 saves.
The Maple Leafs will look to even the series at home in Game 4 on Thursday night.
Matthews was held without a point through 120 minutes where Toronto was outscored, outmuscled and outplayed in losing by a combined 12-4 margin at Boston. However he came through to snap a 2-2 tie with 5:13 left in the second when he rifled a shot short-side highs on Rask from a sharp angle after a great feed down low by William Nylander.
Boston’s top line of David Pastrnak (four goals, five assists), Brad Marchand (one goal, five assists) and Patrice Bergeron (five assists) totaled 20 points through the first six periods of the series while also holding Matthews and Toronto’s top unit off the scoresheet.
But the Maple Leafs finally had an answer on this night as the Bruins’ trio failed to find the range.
The Boston power play — which went 5 for 10 in the first two games — got its first opportunity early in the third, but Pastrnak hit the post off a feed from Rick Nash.
The Maple Leafs finally sealed it with 3:35 left when Marleau scored his second of night on a 2-on-1 rush, firing a shot past Rask for the 70th career playoff goal.
Pulled after allowing three goals on five shots in the first period of Game 2, Andersen robbed Pastrnak on a jaw-dropping diving stick save with Rask on the bench for an extra skater with just over two minutes to go to help preserve Toronto’s win.
Toronto led 1-0 after the first, but Boston tied it at 3:06 of the second when McQuaid’s shot from the point squeezed under Andersen’s pad and dribbled in. The goal came moments after Andersen made a stellar glove save from his belly on David Krejci with Nash and Travis Dermott battling in the blue paint.
The Maple Leafs went back ahead 43 seconds later when Marner controlled a pass off the boards from Rielly before feeding Marleau in front.
But the Bruins again responded when Chara ripped a shot off Andersen’s mask and in from an impossible angle at 6:19.
Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen, who hit the post early his team’s ugly 7-3 loss in Game 2, found iron again later in the period on a shot that beat Rask clean, but Matthews would make no mistake later in the period.
The Maple Leafs had a number of chances early as they returned to a boisterous Air Canada Centre before a controversial sequence led to the opening goal.
Boston was left fuming after center Riley Nash, who returned to the lineup after suffering an ear laceration on March 31, was ruled to have put the puck directly over the glass for a delay of game penalty with just over three minutes left in the first, even though replays suggested otherwise.
Toronto, which was 1 for 7 with the man advantage through the first two games, made the Bruins pay just 7 seconds later when van Riemsdyk scored his second goal of the series, slipping the rebound of Tyler Bozak’s initial shot through Rask at 17:05 to give the Leafs their first lead of the series.
The Maple Leafs had a couple of other opportunities earlier in the period, but Rask stretched to rob Andreas Johnsson with a great save before Kapanen didn’t get all of his backhand attempt on a breakaway.
But apart from van Riemsdyk’s goal, the biggest cheer came when Zach Hyman leveled Marchand with a solid hit that sent the Bruins winger flying.
MORE EASTERN CONFERENCE
(At) New Jersey 5, Tampa Bay 2: Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists, setting up Stefan Noesen’s game-winner with 7:05 play, and New Jersey scored four times in the third to beat Tampa Bay in Game 3.
Rookie Will Butcher had a power-play goal earlier in the third to tie the score 2-all, and Blake Coleman and Ben Lovejoy added empty net goals late. Cory Schneider made 34 saves while starting in place of Keith Kinkaid.
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.
Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos each had a power-play goal and an assist for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov added two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series will be Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
(At) San Jose 8, Anaheim 1: Joonas Donskoi scored one goal and set up another to start a four-goal barrage in the second period and San Jose raced past Anaheim for the third straight game to take a 3-0 series lead.
Donskoi scored and then set up Marcus Sorensen in the opening four minutes of the second period to seize control of the game and series.
Eric Fehr and Tomas Hertl added goals later in the second to turn this all-California series into a rout. Logan Couture had a goal and two assists, Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Chris Tierney scored power-play goals in the third period, for the Sharks, who have outscored the Ducks 14-3 through the first three games of the first-round series.
Martin Jones made 45 saves, the most for a Sharks goalie in a regulation playoff game.
San Jose will look to complete the sweep in Game 4 at home Wednesday night.
Rickard Rakell scored a power-play goal for Anaheim, which has scored three goals all series – including just one at even strength.
(At) Colorado 5, Nashville 3: Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, including one as part of a three-goal first period and another to chase Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne from the game, and Colorado pulled to 2-1 in the first-round series.
Blake Comeau and Gabriel Bourque also scored in a furious opening period that revved up a pom-pom waving capacity crowd. Gabriel Landeskog was credited with an empty-net goal for the Avalanche, who snapped a 12-game skid against the Predators.
Game 4 is Wednesday in Denver.
MacKinnon’s goal at 4:25 of the second period gave Colorado a 4-0 lead and prompted the Predators to pull Rinne in favor of backup Juuse Saros. Rinne allowed four goals on 15 shots.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 29 shots on a night when the Avalanche finished 0 for 5 on the power play. Ryan Johansen had a second-period goal and Colton Sissons scored another in the third to make it 4-2.