The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered a lopsided loss in their first home playoff game in nine years the last time out, but they'll have a chance to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when they host the Boston Bruins in Game 4 at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.
Toronto is in the postseason for the first time since 2004 and after splitting a pair of games in Boston to begin the series, the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs dropped a 5-2 decision in Monday's home clash.
The fourth-seeded Bruins, meanwhile, used tremendous outings from goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward David Krejci to regain a 2-1 lead in this best-of- seven series. Boston won Game 1 by a 4-1 score before allowing Toronto to tie the best-of-seven series with a 4-2 decision in the second contest.
Rask made 46 stops and Krejci posted a goal and two assists to lead the Bruins to the Game 3 victory. Nathan Horton added a goal and an assist while Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley and Adam McQuaid also scored for the Bruins.
"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 and I'm pretty happy about that."
If the Bruins can win again on Wednesday it will set up a potential series- clinching Game 5 on Friday in Boston. Including Monday's game, the Bruins, who were 12-9-3 on the road this season, have won five of their last six games in Toronto.
Monday's tilt was the first playoff game staged at Air Canada Centre since May 4, 2004, when Philadelphia's Jeremy Roenick scored in overtime to lift the Flyers to a series-clinching victory in Game 6 of the conference semifinals.
Although the home crowd was raucous for its first taste of postseason hockey in quite some time, the atmosphere wasn't enough to give Toronto an edge in Game 3.
Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel had the goals for the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer gave up four goals on 37 shots in the loss.
"We made some mistakes that ended up in our net and when you do that you end up on the wrong side of the score," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. "I'm not taking away from them because they earned it, but we gave them some grade A scoring chances and they took advantage."
Toronto lost despite going 2-for-5 on the power play and killing off all three of Boston's chances with the man advantage. The Bruins are 1-for-9 on the power play in this series and the Leafs are 4-for-12.
The Maple Leafs, who lost their last two home games of the regular season, were 13-9-2 as the host in 2013.
This is the 14th time these Original Six teams have met in the playoffs, but the first since 1974, when Boston swept Toronto in the opening round.