TORONTO — The play was routine. With Tyler Seguin in the box serving a too-many-men penalty in the second period, the Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel started the power-play breakout.
Phaneuf passed to Kessel. The ex-Bruin intended to give the puck back to Phaneuf. Kessel’s return pass never made it to Phaneuf.
Daniel Paille stepped in front of the pass and sprinted the other way. Kessel tried to backcheck, but Paille tucked a shorthanded backhander past James Reimer at 16:37 of the second period, giving the Bruins a 4-1 lead.
Thank you, Kessel.
“I saw an opportunity and put my stick there,” Paille said. “I tried not to cheat too much. I got a piece of it and it stayed exactly in front of me. I never looked back. I just continued to skate toward the net. I was able to make a move and put it in there.”
It was a critical insurance goal for the Bruins. Kessel scored a power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period to make it a 4-2 game. The Leafs continued to push for the rest of the third.
“Obviously Paille scoring that shorthanded goal for us was huge,” said coach Claude Julien. “We had a decent cushion going into the third period and we just had to finish strong. This is a team that, no matter what the score is, they’re a good team. They’re giving us a real good challenge. It showed in the third.”
Paille’s shorthanded goal wasn’t his only important play in Boston’s 5-2 win Monday night. Late in the third, when Toronto was buzzing, Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton tossed a bucket of ice water on the Leafs. The fourth line gained puck possession and played a lengthy shift in the Toronto end. The Leafs never regained their traction after the fourth line’s heavy shift.
“They came in at us and pinched a lot harder,” Paille said.
“They forechecked with more than three guys. For us, we just tried to change the momentum as quick as we could. We didn’t get too many shifts out there as a line. But when we did, Thorty did a great job, and Soupy as well.”
Blue line in order
Andrew Ference returned to the lineup for Game 3. Ference was suspended for Game 2 because of his illegal check to Mikhail Grabovski’s head in Game 1. Ference had two shots, three hits, and two blocked shots in 22:07 of ice time. He played the third-most minutes on the team after Zdeno Chara (27:31) and Dennis Seidenberg (26:02).
Ference returned to the second pairing with Johnny Boychuk. Ference’s return also allowed Seidenberg to move back to the right side alongside Chara on the shutdown duo. Wade Redden and Adam McQuaid were partners on the No. 3 tandem.
Dougie Hamilton was a healthy scratch for the second time this series.
Comin’ at ya
Through two games, the power line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton had been the Bruins’ most consistent offensive threesome. In Game 1, Krejci and Horton scored. In Game 2, Horton netted his second goal in two games by driving to the net.
In those two games, Toronto’s second defensive tandem of Mark Fraser and Cody Franson had drawn most of the shifts against Krejci’s line. Carlyle matched Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson against Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Seguin.
“For their forecheck, it’s tough,” Fraser said. “They come so hard. For us, it starts in the neutral zone. We had far too many turnovers in the first game. That led to their transition game and not enough for us. That put us back on our heels.
“There’s no real way to handle their forecheck. When a team’s hungry and they want to come, they’re going to come. It’s up to us to make good plays.”
The Bruins went 0 for 3 on the power play in Game 3. But they had 4:04 of one-up time, far more than they had in Game 2.
On Saturday, the Bruins had just nine seconds of man-advantage time.
Phaneuf was called for roughing at 18:48 of the first period. But nine seconds later, Marchand was sent off for tripping to wipe out Boston’s only power play.
The Bruins are 1 for 9 on the power play in the series.
The Bruins won 45 of 75 faceoffs (60 percent) in Game 3. In the first period, Krejci beat Tyler Bozak on an offensive-zone draw that led to McQuaid’s first career playoff goal. Krejci pulled the puck back to Lucic, who fed it up top to McQuaid. The shot appeared to catch a piece of Joffrey Lupul, which threw off Reimer’s timing . . . Third-liners Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly combined to win 22 of 26 draws. Peverley and Kelly were 14 for 17 on defensive-zone faceoffs, which were critical in keeping Toronto from gaining offensive momentum . . . Chara and Boychuk were credited with a game-high seven hits apiece . . . James van Riemsdyk led all forwards with 22:28 of ice time. Van Riemsdyk has a game-high seven shots. The No. 2 left wing assisted on Kessel’s third-period power-play goal. Van Riemsdyk also prevented Kelly from clearing the puck prior to Jake Gardiner’s second-period power-play goal. Van Riemsdyk has been Toronto’s most consistent offensive presence . . . Hamilton was not among the Rookie of the Year finalists, which were released Monday. Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, and Chicago’s Brandon Saad were the three finalists for the Calder Trophy. Hamilton scored five goals and 11 assists in 42 games while averaging 17:07 of ice time per outing . . . Aaron Johnson, Carl Soderberg, Kaspars Daugavins, and Jay Pandolfo were were Boston’s other healthy scratches.Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.