Boston Bruins run out 4-2 winners over the Toronto Maple Leafs
After an excellent start in front of a frantic home crowd, the Leafs looked well on their way to finally getting over the voodoo against an opponent that’s caused them so many headaches.
The thing about veteran teams is they don’t go away without a fight.
Down 1-0 after the first period of Sunday’s Game six, Boston scored off a lucky ricochet on a man advantage. Before the Bruins red-hot power play struck again later in the matchup.
The battle-tested visitors had counter-attacked. However, the Leafs didn’t have much of a response until it was far too late.
The Leafs now need a third road victory in this back-and-forth Eastern Conference quarter-final to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Brad Marchand scored two goals and got an assist as the Bruins staved off elimination with a 4-2 victory over the Leafs to force Game seven at TD Garden on Tuesday night, which will be the final act of a series where neither side has managed back-to-back victories.
“We were ready, we were jumping big time,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. “As soon as we had a little adversity and they scored twice, we didn’t recover.
“I don’t know if the emotions got the better of us, but we couldn’t get ‘er back in check.”
Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk were also on the scoresheet for the Bruins. While they got 22 saves from Tuukka Rask.
Meanwhile, David Pastrnak added two assists for Boston. Who downed the Leafs in seven games in the first round of the 2013 playoffs. Before replicating that achievement last season.
“We’ve got a lot of character,” Marchand said of his team’s demeanour after falling behind. “We weren’t fazed.”
Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews had the goals for Toronto, while Frederik Andersen stopped 37 shots.
“We’ve still got a good chance to win this series,” Leafs centre John Tavares said. “That’s what our focus is on.”
Tuesday’s victor will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets after the conference’s eighth seed comprehensively beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning had tied an NHL record with 62 victories in the regular season.
Down by two through 40 minutes, Matthews scored his fifth goal in the previous four games when he rifled a far shot side on Rask at 4:15 to excite the crowd of 19,683 at Scotiabank Arena.
The 21-year-old was held pointless in the first two games of the series and had just a pair of scores in the Leafs’ seven-game loss to Boston last season.
Rielly then set up Matthews on another terrific chance only to see his pass hop over the star centre’s stick as Toronto turned up the pressure.
However, Andersen bailed Rielly out after a brutal turnover with just under four minutes remaining. He robbed Pastrnak of a chance that would have sealed it. However, Marchand scored into an empty net with 1:54 left to force Game Seven.
“We had a good attitude going into the third and started executing a little better,” Tavares added. “We’ve just got to continue to be patient. We got within one.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t find a third.”
“We’ve got a one-game series against these guys,” Babcock said looking ahead to Tuesday. “We’ve got a good group that enjoys being together and plans on having a good run.
“To do that, we’ve got to go into Boston and win a game.”