About as gutsy of a playoff win as you’ll ever see for the Bruins. Their heart and soul, Patrice Bergeron, was a late scratch which caused a last minute line shuffle. Riley Nash slid into his spot, Sean Kuraly moved to the third line, and Tommy Wingels drew into the lineup on the fourth line.
However mishmashed it was set up the B’s opted to select “survival mode” at the games start menu. Relying heavily, almost solely, on Tuukka Rask the opportunistic B’s battled to a huge 3-1 win.
It was pure survival.
The Bruins now head back to Boston for Game 5 with a 3-1 series lead and a chance to close it out on Saturday night.
Here are some deep pulls to inhale from Game 4:
- In almost every playoff series in the history of the NHL one team will have game where their goalie is the best player on the ice. The difference maker. It doesn’t matter what is happening in front of him, he is going to be the difference and there is nothing the other team can do about it. Tuukka Rask did just that in Game 4. He was brilliant. Huge save after huge save, with a cool, ho-hum look all the while, is prime Rask. Unflappable, unshakable, unbeatable. And somewhere a #TradeRask-er is crying in his parents basement over it. Rask would finish Game 4 with 31 saves, none bigger than his second period beauty in the slot after he mishandled the puck. If you don’t think Tuukka is capable of a big game now you have a brain malfunction.
- The Bruins blocked 27 shots. Toronto had 77 shot attempts to the Bruins 40.
- The Patrice Bergeron injury kind of threw things out of sorts. Not to take anything away from the Leafs, they played their game and played it great, but there was often a look of confusion and/or a disorganized way in which the Bruins were playing without Bergy. Countless unforced errors on the breakout, sloppy puck management, and a looseness defensively. Credit the Leafs, it can’t all be blamed on 37’s late scratch from the game, but it certainly didn’t help.
- Jake DeBrusk is so good. He just is. Outside of the usual big guns he’s been the Bruins best forward. He hits top speed and keeps going. He’s relentless on the forecheck and backcheck. And he does it all with genuine hockey IQ. His third period tally was hockey sense 101:
- David Krejci went from having a less than stellar game to making much better decisions with the puck in the third period. Including his perfect assist to DeBrusk.
- Riley Nash is going to get a legit pay increase from some one this summer. Last night he filled in nicely for Patrice Bergeron as he has before. He wasn’t flashy, or even a goal scorer, but he held things together between two studs and it ultimately led to 88 and 63 connecting for beautiful goal.
- David Pastrnak might as well patent his play on the Brad Marchand goal. He fakes a shot, then does a sorta half toe drag/pass across the grain for a wide open tap in. We see him do this all the time. In fact, we’ve probably seen Patrice Bergeron use it more now that he’s feeding Pasta on the wing daily. Just a thing of beauty. Watch for this kind of pass again on Saturday:
- Mike Babcock might want to take the entirety of today’s practice to re-teach his D how to play a 2-on-1. Holy hell, were they ugly on those. For the learn to skaters out there, 2-on-1 101: take away the pass, let the goalie handle the shot. Toronto did the exact opposite on the B’s game winner and the insurance goal. For all the love I give the B’s for how pretty both of their oddman rush goals were, they were enabled by some of the worst D play you can see out of people paid millions, literally, to play that situation correctly. There is zero excuse for them to sell out and go full puck carrier with how they were positioned to begin with.
- And lastly, I’m sorry but I’ll never understand piling into the streets in a scarf to watch a first round game with thousands of strangers. It’s weird. Especially after what happened to the Leafs in Game 7 back in 2013. Why would you ever go back and do that again in THE FIRST ROUND? Call me a grump if you want but New Englanders would rather both their legs get chopped off before they stood in a street to watch a hockey game with strangers. Wouldn’t even do it for our best friends. Go home, weirdos.
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