With the Washington Capitals finishing off the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, only one series remains in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Boston Bruins, who once held a 3-1 series advantage, now find themselves in a do-or-die situation heading back to Boston after the Maple Leafs eeked out victories in games five and six.
Both games followed a similar theme. The Bruins had opportunity after opportunity but were unable to get enough pucks past Leafs’ goalie, Frederick Andersen. In game five, the Leafs chased Tuukka Rask as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead. By all accounts, the Bruins outplayed the Leafs and were able to pull to within one. Ultimately, the comeback fell short but not for a lack of trying. The Bruins peppered Andersen with shots but were unable to solve the Swedish netminder. The same can be said about game six. The Bruins have been unable to get the puck past Andersen who is unquestionably the Leafs best player since a shaky start in games one and two.
Through the past two games, Andersen has turned away 74-of-79 Bruins shots. Many of those saves were highlight reel quality to boot. On the other end, Rask was not good in game five as he got pulled in favor of Anton Khudobin in the second. In game six he was much better, however, a miscommunication with a Bruins defender led to the Leafs first goal of the game just moments after the Bruins took the lead.
Latest NHL News
- A Gentleman and a Scholar: Neal Pionk Officially Receives Business Degree
- Sabres Season Crumbling Due to Illness, Injuries and Internal Issues
- Lake Tahoe’s Elements Couldn’t Cool Off Pastrnak Or Stop Bruins’ Resilience
- Pierre-Luc Dubois “Never Been More Ready” to Play
- Senators’ Goalie Joey Daccord Will Be Ready If Called Upon
There is no question Rask will have to repeat his performance on Monday in game seven. Preferably, the Bruins would like game-four Rask. However, with the way the offense played the majority of the game on Monday, Rask’s performance should suffice. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they could not turn chances into goals. Just false hope for a fanbase that is nervously awaiting Wednesday’s game seven.
The Maple Leafs, to their credit, have been able to capitalize on every Bruins mistake. The aforementioned miscommunication between Rask and a Bruins defender is one example. Another came on the game-winning goal from Mitch Marner. Brad Marchand, skating towards Rask to retrieve a puck, lifted his stick too early to leave it sitting for Marner. Marner backhanded the puck past Rask and that was the dagger for the Bruins.
When these two teams met back in the first round in 2013, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. The Leafs forced a Game Seven back in Boston where they took a commanding 4-1 lead. However, the Bruins pulled off the improbable comeback with two goals in the closing minutes to force overtime. Then, Patrice Bergeron ended it just minutes into overtime. The Bruins would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals that year.
The Bruins and their fans are hoping for a similar outcome. Although solving Andersen may prove to be a bigger task than the one they faced five years ago.