TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to take more shots on the Boston Bruins goal on Monday.
They did generate more shots but Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped 45 of those 47 shots.
The Maple Leafs also generated too many mistakes and the Bruins were quick to respond on enough of them to earn a 5-2 victory at Air Canada Centre and take a 2-1 lead in their playoff series.
“We obviously generated a lot off of shooting the puck,” said Leafs defenseman and captain Dion Phaneuf. “We talked about getting more pucks on net and tonight we did. We got to the tough areas and credit their goalie, he played well. Mistakes are part of the game and you try to limit them and tonight we made too many.”
The Bruins regained home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series on goals by Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille and David Krejci.
Milan Lucic had three assists and Krejci added two assists.
Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel scored for Toronto.
The Leafs gained the home-ice edge when they won Saturday in Boston to even the series.
Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer stopped 33 shots.
“Until the third period it was a pretty good tilt from our end about not giving many shots,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “They came out in the third a desperate team. We knew they were going to throw everything at us. We needed good goaltending and we tried to minimize the scoring chances and be patient.”
The Bruins led 4-1 after two periods, but the Maple Leafs scored a power-play goal at 47 seconds into the third on a 16-foot snap shot by Kessel, his second goal of the series. Boston was short-handed because of a hooking penalty taken by Lucic at 19:27 of the second period.
“That early power-play goal at the beginning of the third certainly gave them some life, so no doubt they picked up their game from that point,” Julien said.
However, Krejci clinched the game with an empty-net goal at 18:43.
“I think, as a team, we played a good road game,” Krejci said. “Maybe we didn’t have as many chances in Game 1, but I think it was a perfect road game. I’m pretty happy about that and in Game 4 we know it’s going to be tougher, just like we knew Game 2 was going to be tougher. We’ve got to make sure we’re more ready than we were in Game 2.”
The ACC crowd was noisy as it watched its team play its first home postseason game in nine years.
“I thought there was a tremendous amount of energy in the building with the towels very visible,” Maple Leafs heads coach Randy Carlyle said.
Some of that energy was taken from the crowd at 13:42 of the first period when McQuaid’s 59-foot slap shot from the right point gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The assists on the defenseman’s first goal of the playoffs went to Lucic and Krejci.
The Maple Leafs killed off an early Boston power play in the second period when Ryan O’Byrne was penalized for interference.
When the sides were even again, the Leafs came close at the five-minute mark of the second with Rask stopping a snap shot from Tyler Bozak.
Then the Bruins stormed back at 5:57, and Peverley notched his first goal of the series on a 20-foot snap shot set up by Jaromir Jagr.
Phaneuf hit the post with a 41-foot wrist shot at 10:59 when the teams were playing with four skaters.
The Maple Leafs cut the lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal by Gardiner, his first of the playoffs, at 13:45 of the second period. It came off an attempted clearance by the Bruins’ defense, and Gardiner made no mistake on his 52-foot wrist shot. The goal was unassisted.
Boston answered with Horton’s third goal of the series. Lucic and Krejci again earned the assists that set up the 29-foot shot.
“It was very unfortunate that we gave up the third goal in a 2-1 hockey game,” Carlyle said “We had the building going our way, we had a lot energy and momentum going and we made a mistake and we gave them a goal. I think it was the very next shift.”
The Bruins weren’t done, with Paille taking advantage of a giveaway by Kessel to break in alone and beat Reimer with a 27-foot backhand for a short-handed goal at 16:37 of the second. The Bruins had been penalized for too many men on the ice.
“Obviously me and Phil have to make a better play there,” Phaneuf said.
NOTES: Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was back for Game 3. He was suspended from Game 2 because of an illegal check to the head of Mikhail Grabovski in Boston’s 4-1 win in Game 1. “Nerve-racking,” was the way Ference described watching Boston’s 4-2 loss on Saturday. Dougie Hamilton did not have a good game in his place and was a scratch for Game 3. … Other Bruins scratches were Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Aaron Johnson. … Matt Frattin, Ryan Hamilton, Gardiner and O’Byrne, who gave the Leafs a boost when they were added to the lineup on Saturday, were back for Game 3. … The Leafs’ scratches were Clarke MacArthur, John-Michael Liles, Joe Colborne, Frazer McLaren and Michael Kostka. … Game 4 will be played Wednesday at ACC, with Game 5 back in Boston on Friday.
Rangers 4, Capitals 3: Derek Stepan broke a 3-3 tie with a third-period goal to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers still trail in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday night at The Garden.
The Capitals have never swept an opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers, and Stepan, Arron Asham, Derek Brassard and Brian Boyle scored goals for New York. Stepan’s goal at 13:35 of the third was the game-winner and came on assists from Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello.
The Rangers also benefited from an emotional surge created by Marc Staal’s return. The defenseman had been out since March 5 with an eye injury.
Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Jay Beagle scored for Washington. Braden Holtby made 26 saves in a losing cause.
Beagle’s goal at the 7:19 mark of the third period tied the game 3-3.
New York went 1-for-6 on the power play. Washington was 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
NOTES: One of the reasons that the Capitals entered Monday night’s game with a 2-0 series lead was the play of the Alexander Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson line. The trio had two goals, two assists and 33 shots on goal in the first two games, both at Washington’s Verizon Center. “That line, the chemistry they have, when they’re on their game, I think all three guys can generate more shots,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said in his press conference at Madison Square Garden during the morning skate. “Obviously, Ovie is the No. 1 guy; he’s the shooter of the three. Both guys kind of cater to that but they still have their opportunities in the game.” … Even though the Rangers are down 2-0 in the series and have just one goal to show for their efforts, coach John Tortorella doesn’t believe the situation is as dire as has been stated. “It definitely happens. I’m not saying you guys (media) do — you guys have your heads stuck in your computers, but I’m not saying you guys,” Tortorella said when asked if people weigh the outcome of games more heavily than what took place on the ice. “I can’t afford to do that. It’s a game of results, there is no question about that, but I can’t go about the process of coaching a hockey game on what the result was.”