The Toronto Maple Leafs gave up a 4-3 lead in the third period only to see their hopes of making round two go to the wayside as the Bruins added four goals in the third to win 7-4 to move on in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The series saw Boston leading 3-1 until the Leafs fought back hard to win Games 5 and 6 and force game 7. Boston will now face the Tampa Bay Lightning this Saturday in Florida. Boston’s Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Torey Krug each scored goals last night with Patrice Bergeron scoring one and earning two assists. Marchand and Pastrnak also earned assists in the game that saw Tuukka Rask making twenty saves on the night.
Toronto’s Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen each scored a goal and Patrick Marleau scored two. Frederik Andersen made 29 saves on 35 shots on goal.
Game 7 was forced after the Boston Bruins failed to win Games 5 and 6 with Toronto winning 4-3 in Game 5 and 3-1 in Game 6. The Leafs didn’t fare well in the playoffs against Boston with their last pairing in 2013 seeing Toronto giving up a 3-1 in the series and watching as the Bruins won Game 7 in overtime.
This year’s series was not nearly as bad but equally painful to watch. The Leafs scored the first goal of the game in the first period only to see the Bruins tie it 70 seconds later after both teams had players in the box and Krug fired the puck past Andersen.
Boston then took the lead at the 5:25 mark of the first period after Jake Gardiner came off a rush and slipped the puck between Andersen’s legs. Pastrnak added another at 8:21 after Brad Marchand took control of the puck behind the net.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs were down 3-2 after leading the first period twice. The start of the second period saw Toronto tie up the game 3-3 and then with the Bruins on a power play, Andersen saved the day after a remarkable save on a shot from Krug in what gave Kapanen score on Rask while the Leafs were short-handed to take the lead 4-3.
That seemed to be the end for the Leafs as energy levels seemed depleted by the hard pushing Bruins. Boston’s DeBrusk tied the game at the two-minute mark of the third period, and Danton Heinen scored giving the Bruins the lead at the 9-minute mark. Adding two more, one on an empty net gave the Bruins the win in Game 7 and the chance to play Tampa in hopes of going the distance.
Toronto had one of its best seasons in recent memory setting a number of records for the franchise including most games won in the regular season. The series may have started slowly for Toronto; they showed both skill and heart fighting hard to come back and force game 7. Toronto fans may not be happy but the anticipation of next year is strong with a team that is young, skilled and clearly, hungry.