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NHL Playoffs: Grades for Night 7

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

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TeamGradeAnalysis
CThe atmosphere was electric for the first home playoff game in nine years in Toronto, but the Maple Leafs made just enough mistakes to cost themselves the game. Pouring 47 shots on Tuukka Rask was promising and the Leafs showed some resilency late, but just couldn't overcome the miscues. It's a tough way to welcome back playoff hockey to Toronto, but there are enough positives -- like the power play going 2-for-5 -- to build off of for Game 4.
B+The Bruins were opportunistic, but a lot of the good teams are. Capitalizing on Toronto's mistakes allowed Boston to open the game up and create a comfortable distance in the second period. The Bruins perhaps allowed Rask to be a little too busy, but the netminder was equal to the challenge. Coming off the Game 2 loss, Boston responded in a very positive way. There are areas to clean up, like avoiding penalty trouble, but the Bruins earned a solid Game 3 victory.
AThough the scoreline seems to diminish the goaltender's performance, Tuukka Rask repeatedly came up big. Facing an onslaught of 47 shots, he made 45 saves and did not allow a goal at even strength. It wasn't always pretty, but Rask got in front of a lot of pucks and allowed the Bruins to take and remain in control.
C+The Caps allowed just enough wiggle room for the Rangers to get in there and grab the win in what turned out to be a very entertaining game. Braden Holtby had his shakiest start of the playoffs, but offensively, Washington was generating some quality chances. Penalty trouble plagued the Caps for much of the game. Additionally, Washington was unable to capitalize on its own power-play opportunities including a man-advantage with 1:54 remaining in regulation.
A-Facing the 2-0 series deficit and a bunch of questions about their ability to score, the Rangers responded well in front of a home crowd. Scoring four goals, including once on the previously anemic power play, should build some confidence and give New York new life in the series. More remarkable, the goals came from less likely players like Arron Asham and Brian Boyle. The Rangers' big guns still need to get going, but as long as the team keeps scoring, they won't care where the goals come from.
A-If not for some spectacular play early on from Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, this game might not have been close. The Red Wings, which got good goaltending from Jimmy Howard as well, were generating chance after chance and shot after shot for much of regulation. The Wings' persistence eventually payed off in the third period with a pair of goals including a beautiful shot from Pavel Datsyuk to tie it late. It was a gutsy effort for a team depleted by injury and suspension that payed off with an overtime win.
C+A couple of late breakdowns defensively led to goals that ended up sinking the Ducks. Jonas Hiller gave his team an opportunity in the game, but the Ducks were overmatched at times and struggled to generate enough offensively. Anaheim appeared unable to equal the Red Wings' energy, particularly in the late goings of the game. An opportunity to go home with a chance to clinch slipped right through Anaheim's fingers.
DThe Blues got off to a great start at 2-0, but let the lead get away before they could get out of the first period. A huge second-period goal from T.J. Oshie put the Blues in control again in the second period, but again the Blues couldn't close the deal. Scoring three times Monday was a step in the right direction for a team that has been average offensively in the series. After seeing its 2-0 series lead erased in LA, St. Louis needs a big pushback in Game 5.
B+A bad start could've cost the Kings, but they were able to continually chip away and earned a huge win to even the series with St. Louis. Jonathan Quick didn't have his 'A' game, but the Kings found ways to generate enough offense to outlast the Blues. LA showed good puck movement throughout the game, which is tough to do against a sound defensive team. If the Kings can keep spreading the Blues out a bit more like they did today, Los Angeles could take control of the series.

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