Trailing and in trouble after two periods of play in game seven, the Boston Bruins scored four times in the third period to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-4 to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "So, you know, they did a good job showing up for us tonight", Torey Krug, who tied the game at four apiece just 1:10 into the third period, said of his front line teammates.
Jake DeBrusk put the Bruins ahead with his second goal of the night, beating Frederik Andersen 5:25 into the third period. It was just one example of bad decision-making on Gardiner's part, something that plagued him over the series' first two games but that he seemed to have under control more in the previous two.
After a Travis Dermott goal tied the game, Kasperi Kapanen had an incredible individual effort to outduel Brad Marchand for the puck and then out deked Tuukka Rask, giving the Maple Leafs the lead. With four unanswered goals, the Bruins punched their ticket to a second round matchup with the risky Tampa Bay Lightning.
"I thought the first half of the series, it probably wasn't good enough", Matthews said of his performance. "It's good for our young guys to have them around".
"[Krejci] always wants to make sure I'm focused on the next shift", DeBrusk said.
Matthews had 34 goals in his sophomore season, which was limited to 64 games due to injury.
While it has been received with some poor criticism at times, as long as it produces a first-round series like it did between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, the league isn't going to be in a rush to change it.
Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak combined for 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in Boston's four wins, including seven points (three goals, four assists) in Game 7.
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"It's the same kind of pressure we've felt these last two games, where we've been facing elimination", he said.
Boston's season might have been on the line, but Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned that pulling Rask wasn't really considered following a dismal second period.
Again DeBrusk carried the puck on his hip as his speed increased before he snapped the puck past the goaltender, but this time it was his second goal of the game. He may not have been the only reason why Toronto lost in Game 7, but he certainly didn't help their chances.
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron got an early and valuable lesson in Game 7 management from former linemate and Hockey Hall of Fame winger Mark Recchi.
I can go on and on and point fingers, but the fact of the matter is, Toronto simply did not deserve to win this series.
Based on the play of Matthews this series, he'd usually come away with more points. It will all be gravy because we now know just how bright the Bruins' future is for this playoff series and beyond.
Perhaps there will be a sense of momentum for the Maple Leafs though, given that they won the last two games and looked particularly solid in Game 6.
"They wanted to make plays; they got back to their nuts and bolts and how they can play". I think those people are angry and looking for easy targets.
The Bruins are 13-12 in Game 7s, with a 12-8 record at home. "Obviously, you're trying to win the Cup".