Toronto Maple Leafs: Frederik Andersen plays hero once again in Game 5

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Frederik Andersen
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Frederik Andersen /

It was an intense win in Game 5 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they had to rely on their goaltending to keep their chances alive for at least one more game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs live to play another game after a stressful night for Leafs Nation, but luckily for them, not all heroes wear capes. Instead, he was wearing no. 31, and made 19 saves in an eventful third period.

Despite the 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 , it could have easily been a repeat of 2013 if not for Frederik Andersen.

When Tyler Bozak put the Leafs up 4-1, it looked like the game was going to run its course and the Bruins would wait for their next chance. That was until the flood of penalties gave Boston a major shot of adrenaline and forced the Leafs to go into full survival mode.

Andersen was in the zone and despite being outshot 20-5 in the third period, never showing nerves or panic, even when some bounces were going against him.

His defence did not do him any favours in that period by allowing 38 chances on net, while the Leafs only had nine the other way. Granted in situations where a team is trailing, they usually get the majority of the scoring chances, because the defending team doesn’t try to be too aggressive.

The issue is that the Leafs were too passive and couldn’t clear the zone at times. In addition, the part of the gameplan that allowed them to be successful for a good portion of the game went out the window.

A big reason why Ron Hainsey played as much as he did, was due to the number of penalties the Leafs took. It was also because Travis Dermott did not play a lot in the third period and finishing with 9:36 of ice time, which was the lowest on the team.

Now there were positives to take from this game as well, especially the return of Nazem Kadri, who showed why his absence was a big deal.

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It’s also hard to forget the strong play from Auston Matthews to help the Leafs set the tone early, with a dominant effort with the puck that led to Connor Brown‘s opening goal.

The Bruins clearly did not have an answer for the Leafs’ new-look lineup early on and the visitors pounced on their opportunities. This was similar to what happened in Game 4, where Toronto dominated for most of the game but Boston made the most of their chances.

Obviously, this is not the formula the Leafs want to follow heading into Game 6, but it was encouraging to see the team rebound after a deflating loss at home.

At this point, the odds are still against the Leafs but they are also one win away from making this a winner-take-all scenario. That should be the focus.

Next: Yegor Korshkov preparing to join Leafs?

What are your thoughts on Game 5? Do you feel optimistic about the series going back home? Let us know in the comments below.