Marchand's 'unbelievable' art of avoiding penalties irks Leafs' Keefe

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe called it "unbelievable" what Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was able to do in the visiting Bruins' 4-2 win in Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series on Wednesday.

Keefe was asked about an apparent non-call for interference that happened in the first period, when Marchand tripped up Leafs' forward Tyler Bertuzzi before Boston forward Trent Frederic tied the score 1-1. Boston went on to secure a victory and take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.

"He gets calls," Keefe said of Marchand. "It's unbelievable, actually, how it goes. You've got to play through that stuff. I don't think there's another player in this series who gets away with taking out Bertuzzi's legs the way that he does. It's an art and he's elite at it."

Marchand was a significant factor throughout the contest for Boston, finishing with two goals and one assist and depositing the winner midway through the third period.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead when rookie Matthew Knies scored his first goal of the series in the first period. Frederic's salvo appeared to be aided by a lack of an interference call on Marchand against Bertuzzi, and Knies acknowledged how the Leafs must adjust to manage Marchard's presence.

"He wants to get under our skin," Knies said. "He wants to influence the refs, so I think we've just got to be composed and not kind of get into that bulls---. Just play hard and make him [not as] effective."

That's easier said than done. Marchand also drew the Leafs' ire when he took down forward Auston Matthews behind the net without a call. And Marchand got involved again with Bertuzzi in the offensive zone right before pocketing the empty-netter to seal Boston's win.

It was a bitter end for Toronto in multiple ways. The Leafs fell behind in the second off Jake DeBrusk's third score of the series. Toronto's Morgan Rielly responded to knot the score at 2-2 in the third, but just 28 seconds later Marchand fired home his go-ahead dagger.

"You've got to recognize he's a world-class player, both in ability and how he plays, in the gamesmanship and everything," Keefe said of Marchand. "It's world class, and he's been in the league long enough, as you can see. ... We have to manage our way through that, avoid putting ourselves in situations where he can put us in those spots. And as far as his game is concerned, I think we've managed that pretty well, for the most part. Obviously, tonight, we make a mistake at a key time that allows him to get the winner."

Now it's on Toronto to respond when the two sides meet again in Game 4 on Saturday. The Leafs have lost five straight playoff contests at home. Another defeat at home means they could face elimination in Boston in Game 5.