TORONTO - David Krejci had already tied the game once. And as time dwindled away in Game 3, it appeared that the pivot was poised to do it again.
As he drifted into a wide-open slot, Krejci took Jake DeBrusk's feed and was all alone in front of the Toronto net. But as he attempted to stuff home a backhanded equalizer, Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen dove forward and knocked the puck away with the nob of his stick to preserve Toronto's one-goal lead with just over three minutes remaining.
The denial was a perfect snapshot of the Bruins' night of frustrations, which ended with a 3-2 loss to the Leafs at Scotiabank Arena that dropped them into a 2-1 series hole in their best-of-seven first-round series.
"We got ourselves back in the game, so we felt confident enough that we could come back in the third," said Krejci, who tied the game at 1 early in the second period. "Just one goal, we couldn't get it today, but playoffs it's about getting ready for the next game. New day tomorrow. Just gotta get ready for the next one."
Video: Krejci speaks to media after Game 3 loss
To do that, the Bruins will no doubt try to shore up their special teams effort, which was lacking in Game 3. Boston surrendered two power-play goals, tallies by Auston Matthews and Andreas Johnsson exactly seven minutes apart in the second period that put Toronto ahead, 3-1.
"Our kill wasn't good enough for whatever reason," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We talked about we were a little late on one, didn't get the clear on the other. But giving up two most nights is a recipe for what happened tonight, a one-goal loss."
Despite converting on one of their three man advantage opportunities, the Bruins also appeared disjointed on their own power plays, particularly Boston's first unit of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, and DeBrusk.
Boston's lone power-play marker came from the second unit, with Charlie Coyle scoring for the second straight game to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 38 seconds remaining in the second period.
"Our power play, our first group was a little bit off," said Cassidy. "They were a little out of synch in their plays…second unit pitched in, they did a good, we still get one on the PP."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins drop Game 3 to Maple Leafs
Cassidy, while not overly concerned, also acknowledged that the top line of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak has had a tough time generating offense at even strength so far in the series. Matched up against Toronto's top line of John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and Zach Hyman, the trio has struggled to get to the net, managing just one five-on-five goal through three games.
"I think they're trying real hard one-on-one to get there," said Cassidy. "They've got to use each other a little bit better and get an old-fashioned goal where there's a center lane drive, pucks to the net, second chance. They're pretty determined guys. They'll find their way."
"We can be better," added Bergeron, who does have two goals in the series, both coming on the power play. "That's what the playoffs are all about, it's about bringing your best and we've got to do that."
Video: Bergeron speaks to media after Game 3 loss
Rask Hit Hard
The Bruins held their collective breaths in the second period, when Tuukka Rask went down in a heap inside his net after a collision with Tavares, who was battling with Charlie McAvoy in the crease. Rask got pushed back against the post and into the goal and was down for a moment with his mask off, before being attended to by Bruins trainer Don DelNegro.
Rask eventually got to his feet and remained in the game, saying afterwards that he was doing fine.
"[Feeling] good…little stinger, cracked my neck, so my arm went numb for 10-15 seconds there. Then that was it," said Rask, who made 31 saves.
Video: BOS@TOR, Gm3: Rask stones Hyman from close range
Before the game, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced that Toronto forward Nazem Kadri had been suspended for the remainder of the first round after delivering vicious cross-check to DeBrusk's face late in Game 2.
"I actually just was told," DeBrusk said after the B's loss on Monday night. "The league handled it and it's one of those things where I don't think it's any use to comment on it, to be honest with you."
Kadri was also suspended three games during last spring's Bruins-Maple Leafs series for boarding then Boston forward Tommy Wingels.
Video: Marchand, DeBrusk, Rask speak to media