Like they’ve done so many times this season, the Boston Bruins mounted a third-period comeback en route to victory. Only this time it wasn’t an ordinary regular-season game. This 7-4 victory, keyed by four goals in the third period, over the Toronto Maple Leafs means a trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and a matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Observations from the first period
- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has been named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, joining Vegas' Gerard Gallant and Avalanche's Jared Bednar.
- Like the decision by Cassidy to start the fourth line. Expect a big hit immediately from Noel Acciari.
- Sean Kuraly with a tripping penalty 30 seconds into the game. Toronto on the PP. Wow.
- Solid shorthanded bid by Brad Marchand. Freddie Andersen with the save but Boston gets an O-zone faceoff.
- Nice play by Riley Nash on the PK to draw the Maple Leafs offside.
- Zdeno Chara can't clear the puck at the defensive blue line as the Maple Leafs can control and gain entry and finish with a power-play goal for a 1-0 lead.
Marleau with the deflection in front for an early 1-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/3dgR7a1GUy
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 25, 2018
- Patrice Bergeron's forecheck forces the Maple Leafs to quickly clear the puck and send it into the seats for a delay of game. Boston on the PP and a chance for the equalizer.
- Torey Krug's shot nearly trickles through but Andersen reaches back and snares it before it closes the line.
- Outstanding play by David Pastrnak to feed Jake DeBrusk for the power-play goal to tie it at 1-1.
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) April 25, 2018
- Fantastic puck movement by the Maple Leafs after a Krug D-zone turnover and Toronto has a 2-1 lead.
You’re not supposed to duck when the puck comes at you right? pic.twitter.com/lVYgAnY0Bb
— John Zannis (@John_Zannis) April 25, 2018
- A pair of turnovers by the Bruins and the Maple Leafs have capitalized on both.
- Danton Heinen. Cassidy told him to shoot the puck and he does and he scores to tie it at 2-2.
— NHL (@NHL) April 26, 2018
- Morgan Rielly takes a puck off the face and is bleeding all over the ice. It was a Chara shot but fortunately, the puck was knuckling.
- Bruins kill off the Rick Nash penalty.
- Heinen playing with confidence now.
- Kevan Miller shoots the puck intentionally wide, bounces off the end wall and Patrice Bergeron is on the off post to pump it in to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead with 36.4 seconds remaining in the period.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 26, 2018
- In the closing seconds, Marchand nearly weaves his way through everyone the building and nearly slides one in before the buzzer.
- That's entertainment at its finest. Wow what a period.
Observations from the second period
- Bruins doing a good job getting traffic in front of Andersen.
- Boston's top line caught at the end of a long shift and the Maple Leafs tie it at 3-3.
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 26, 2018
- DeBrusk is dialed in -- big time.
- Marchand draws a penalty and then points to the Maple Leafs bench. I feel a power-play goal coming for Boston.
- Maybe not. After an incredible save by Andersen on Drug, the Maple Leafs score a shorthanded goal at the other end to take a 4-3 lead.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 26, 2018
- Outstanding backcheck by Adam McQuaid to break up a scoring chance for Zach Hyman. However, McQuaid goes spiraling into the end wall and needs help off the ice and goes to the room.
McQuaid's desperation dive to stop Hyman ends up with him crashing into the boards. He's slow to get up. pic.twitter.com/G7U89svdTZ
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) April 26, 2018
- And he's back on the bench.
- Freddie's feeling it -- big time.
- Numerous icings for the Maple Leafs.
- McAvoy's knee can't be right. He's struggled big time in this series.
Observations from the third period
- Can the Bruins mount a third-period comeback like so many times this season?
- Good redirect by Rick Nash in front but Andersen finds it and makes the stop.
- It'll be 4-on-4 for two minutes with Krejci and Hyman in the box.
- Krug with a one-time blast from the point to tie the game at 4-4. Place is alive now.
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 26, 2018
- That reactionary penalty might have sealed Rick Nash's time in Boston. Draws a penalty, Bruins on the delay and he retaliates. Dumb.
- During 4-on-4, DeBrusk with another impressive attack and finishes with a five-hole goal to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead. It's his second goal of the night.
Jake DeBrusk crashes the net. Jake DeBrusk scores an enormous goal. Boston is DELIRIOUS.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 26, 2018
- Marchand on the stick check, retrieves it and feeds Pastrnak, who scores a goal scorer's goal. Boston 6-4.
Pregame notes As expected, Danton Heinen will be in the lineup when the Bruins host the Maple Leafs in Game 7 Wednesday night at TD Garden. The rookie forward was a healthy scratch in Game 6 and will be reunited on the third line with Riley Nash and David Backes. Bruce Cassidy explained his decision after the optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. “That line played really well for us and we’re trusting them to do it again tonight,” Cassidy said. “He sat a game and generally when guys have come back into the lineup have played well. . . that’s why the decision was made because he’s played well for us this year and we expect him to do that tonight.” Here are the Bruins' line combinations and defensive pairings vs. the Maple Leafs. Forwards Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash Heinen-Riley Nash-Backes Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari Defense Chara-McAvoy Krug-Miller Grzelcyk-McQuaid Goalies Rask Many speculated that rookie forward Ryan Donato would be inserted into the lineup, but Cassidy is going with the players that guided the team to this point. “It’s the groups we had envisioned and we trust this group to get it done,” Cassidy said. “Those are tough decisions.” When Heinen doesn't appear on the score sheet, he's still accountable on the defensive side of the game. “Very reliable player. There’s never been an issue there,” Cassidy said. “He goes to the right spots. He doesn’t cheat. There’s no concern with his defense. With Danton, the pace of the game if he doesn’t have his legs he has to manage the puck and that’s the only thing we’re telling him. When he gets his opportunity, relax and shoot it. There’s been some nerves in the playoffs for a lot of guys, so just go out there and play.” Heinen finished the regular season with 16 goals and 31 assists for 47 points in 77 games. The Bruins posted an 11-2-2 record when he scored a goal. He does not have a point in this series. Having the trust of the coaching staff should give him a boost of confidence. “It’s nice,” Heinen said. “There are a lot of guys that could be in and I’m grateful for the opportunity. . . You try not to put anymore pressure on yourself. We’re confident in our group and we’ll be ready to go tonight.” Sitting Game 6 was part of the process. Cassidy has done that a few times this season with the younger players and it's worked every time, so the Bruins are hoping that's the case again in Game 7. “You’re hungry to get back in,” Heinen said. “Nobody likes watching from the stands. You want to show them you’re ready to go. You want to be good for your teammates and help the team win.” When a player isn’t able to create chances offensively, he has to focus on the defensive side of the game, which is always important, especially in a Game 7. “Yeah, for sure. It’s huge,” Heinen said. “That’s where it starts and if you’re good in your own end, and you’re in the right spots and we’re defending well then we don’t play much in our own end. We break up pucks and we’re going the other way. It’s huge to check well, defend well and defend fast so you’re not playing in your end a lot.”