It’s game seven between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, and we are at the TD Garden for the final game in this round, to be televised on NESN. The best-of-seven series is tied 3 games to 3, so the Bruins MUST WIN today!
Surely you realized that Bruins vs Maple Leafs was destined to go the full seven games, right?
Well that’s what is happening.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 22, 2019
How did we get here?
Well, when last we left our heroes…
In the first round of this duel, game one of this series, the Bruins underperformed, giving up a game in which they had home-ice advantage. Some fans were a little bit disappointed by this.
Then last weekend, the two teams met again, and the Bruins were much more physical and aggressive in play. The Bruins would win this match by a decisive 4-1. And there was much rejoicing.
In game three last Monday, the Bruins did not play well enough to win in the playoffs, and giving up two power-play goals was the difference maker.
Notably underperforming was the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line, with lots of missed passes and hurried plays, and not enough shots on net. Neither Krug nor DeBrusk were playing their best, though they were coming off injury so their may have been some hangover effect.
Last Wednesday the Bruins were in a position where they needed to “steal a win” on the road if they wanted to win the series. They did so, Oh yes.
Now the series was tied 2-2, and each team had won a game in the other’s barn.
For game 5, could the Bruins take care of business on a Friday night at the TD Garden?
I thought they could. They disagreed.
Tuukka Rask was great in net, holding the Leafs off the scoreboard entirely for 51 minutes, but the offense did not help him out, not scoring until the final 45 seconds of the third period, by which time the Leafs had potted two goals. One of which should have been voided due to goaltender interference, but the NHL has had lots of inconsistency issues defining interference, so why should the playoffs be any different?
On Easter Sunday, the Bruins treated us to a 4-2 victory in Toronto, with a solid performance from Tuukka Rask and a 2 goal performance by forward Brad Marchand. This was an elimination game, and the Bruins survived to play another game.
So now it’s time for the decisive game number seven.
It’s time to win or go home.
Let’s win today, shall we? Please?
The Bruins are going to have to have their players playing on all cylinders today.
What do the lines look like?
It seems pretty familiar now.
Everyone but Kevan Miller is ready to go. It’s a playoff game and Tuukka Rask has been pretty good, so he will be the starting netminder. David Backes and Chris Wagner were out for game 6, and it appears that they will sit out again tonight. Danton Heinen moved back to the Bergeron-Marchand line in practice, with David Pastrnak on the DeBrusk-Krecji line. Marcus Johansson and Karson Kuhlman should be on the Coyle line. The 4th line was Nordstrom-Kuraly-Acciari as in the last game.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|#40 Tuukka Rask||(#41 Jaroslav Halak)|
Toronto has played solid defense, blocking lots of shots, making hits at a good clip, done a reasonable job at trapping the neutral zone and defending zone entries. They’ve also had some reasonably effective use of the stretch pass allowing them quick offensive zone entry when clearing their d-zone, resulting in a ping-pong game with an advantage in zone time. They have no injuries to speak of, but 3rd line center Nazem Kadri is suspended. Their skating lines have otherwise been stable.
(h/t Daily Faceoff and TSN beat writer Kristen Shilton):
Maple Leafs Forwards
#11 Zach Hyman — #91 John Tavares — #16 Mitch Marner
#18 Andreas Johnsson — #34 Auston Matthews — #24 Kasperi Kapanen
#12 Patrick Marleau — #29 William Nylander — #28 Connor Brown
#63 Tyler Ennis — #33 Frederik Gauthier — #42 Trevor Moore
Maple Leafs Defense
#44 Morgan Rielly — #2 Ron Hainsey
#8 Jake Muzzin — #22 Nikita Zaitsev
#51 Jake Gardiner — #23 Travis Dermott
Maple Leafs Goaltending
#31 Frederik Andersen
#30 Michael Hutchinson
Also fun – the banner captain for tonight’s game… is it this 3x champion?
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) February 5, 2019
Either way, it will be lit.
Win or go home.