Wasted opportunity. That is what Game 5 was in Boston on Saturday night. A wasted opportunity.
The Bruins had the ideal scenario; a close out game, at home, save themselves another trip, and end it. But a leaky defense, lack of finish, and one soft goal proved to be just enough damage done as Frederik Andersen and his Maple Leafs grabbed a 4-3 win.
The series now shifts back to Toronto for Game 6 on Monday night with the Bruins holding a 3-2 series lead.
Here are my key takeaways from Game 5:
- Frederik Andersen was 1st, 2nd, and 3rd star of the game. He had a lights out 42 save performance. And if it weren’t for weird bounces off the Garden end boards, net, and glass he might only given up one goal. The Bruins are without a doubt the better team but Andersen is doing what it takes to keep his team alive.
- Tuukka Rask on the other hand was not great, but not terrible either. He just wasn’t as sharp as expected. Give credit to Connor Brown (batting the puck out of mid air) and JVR (roof job) for beautiful finishes, but the third Leafs goal of the game was soft. And unfortunately for Tuukka the team play in front of him that put him in those positions was more of a glaring issue to me than his goaltending.
- Where is Rick Nash? Anyone know?
- Things get tough if you’re only counting on one line to score. At even strength the Bruins absolutely need offense from David Krejci, Rick Nash, David Backes, Danton Heinen, and even Riley Nash. And in a close out game even the B’s top line didn’t get it done either. Now, I don’t think any of them are playing terrible. This isn’t a “they suck!” moment. But offensively, 5-on-5, were running out of time for them to be factors. This the the Toronto Maple Leafs here, not Tampa Bay. What the B’s forwards have given so far isn’t enough. Especially when we see what the fourth line has been able to accomplish simply by out working whoever is in front of them.
- And if you’re not going to bury your chances the Bruins slow start was doubly bad. The B’s took a good period or so to really get going and that just can’t happen. As Patrick O’Sullivan said the other day, “you can’t fake desperation.” And in a close out game you’re either playing with it or your chasing the team that is. The Bruins desperation kicked in thirty minutes later than it should have and it cost them.
- The refs were awful again and the Bruins benefitted greatly. Some of the stuff the Leafs got called for looked like basic “I’m stronger than you” battles. And of course there was the classic “his stick broke regardless of the circumstances so it’s a slash” call. I’m glad it went the Bruins way even if they didn’t cash in but that doesn’t change how bad the officiating is.
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