Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 6-4 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 4 of their playoff series, with BSJ insight and analysis:
B’s shuffle things up at forward: Bruce Cassidy didn’t take it off the table when asked on Tuesday, but based on his comments following Bruins’ practice, it looked as though Boston was committed to keeping its top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak intact for Game 4. That notion lasted right up until puck drop on Wednesday night, as Cassidy opted to split up his top line and start Danton Heinen with Bergeron-Marchand, while Pastrnak was slotted down with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.
While Cassidy was willing to tinker with his top-six when necessary throughout the game, the new combinations certainly panned out for Boston. The Bergeron-Marchand-Heinen line generated a pair of 5v5 goals together, while Pastrnak buried his first of two goals on the night during a brief 1:07 stretch in TOI in which he was back up on the top line.
It might have been a bit unconventional, but Cassidy’s impromptu lineup shuffling accomplished its goal, as Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand tallied a combined six points in what was a 6-4 win for the Bruins. That’s a great sign for Boston in what is now a best-of-three series, while Heinen more than held his own up top with Bergeron and Marchand (66.67 CF%).
Leafs make things interesting late: While the Leafs and Bruins traded goals for most of the night, Zdeno Chara’s slap shot from the point appeared to be the final nail in the coffin for Toronto on Wednesday — giving Boston a 5-2 cushion with a little under 15 minutes left in regulation.
What seemed to be some extra insurance eventually turned out to be the game-winning margin, however, as Auston Matthews and Travis Dermott both scored less than two minutes apart to make it a one-goal game with over six minutes left in regulation.
While Boston’s penalty kill surrendered Matthews’ second goal of the night and a brutal shift from the fourth line and a D pairing of John Moore and Matt Grzelcyk led to Dermott’s goal minutes later, the Bruins’ defense was able to clamp down against the Leafs’ surge, with both the Bergeron and Krejci lines draining the clock in the offensive zone. Joakim Nordstrom added the empty-net goal with two seconds remaining to close out the win for the Bruins, who were out-attempted, 70-43, during 5v5 play Wednesday. Still, a win is a win.