*For the record, we picked Bruins in 7
“I have no idea which team we’re going to see tonight. Will it be that Bruins squad that should win? The one that actually finishes their countless scoring chances? Or will it be the one needlessly, and unforced, turning the puck over?“ – BostonPucks Game 7 preview blog yesterday
Well, we got an answer to our Game 7 question. Which Bruins team would we see last night?
We saw both.
Despite a 3-2 lead after one period the Bruins were the tough to watch version of themselves through the first 40 minutes of play. Constantly turning the puck over, often unforced, mixed with sloppy, hesitant, lackluster play dominating their effort. Add in the fact that the Leafs were ready to go, sticking to their tried and true stretch pass approach, the B’s looked like they were going to stick to their disappointing effort in Game 7. They looked terrible.
Then the third period happened.
Like so many times in the regular season the Bruins came out a different team in the final frame. They came out like the team they were in Games 1 and 2. And they absolutely blew the doors off of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand (empty netter) accounted for a four-goal third period that gave the Bruins a 7-4, Game 7 win.
And just like that it’s on to Tampa for round 2.
Here were the keys points from Game 7:
- Jake DeBrusk (2 goals, team high 5 shots) was a monster. A difference maker. He had been all series. Clutch goals, speed that killed
Jake Gardinerfrom the drop of the puck, willing his team to the next level, #74 did it all. He is a special, special player that the Bruins absolutely hit a home run on back in the 2015 draft. I can’t begin to say enough about how great this kid is. And he’s only a rookie.
- The Bruins did not give up a shot on goal for the first 7-8 minutes of the 3rd period. By the time the Leafs finally got their first shot on net in the final frame the Bruins had already reclaimed the lead.
- Both Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen had roller coaster ride performances. Tuukka was not sharp early, but neither was the team in front of him. The Leafs did a real nice job getting traffic and jumping on brutal turnovers in front of Rask. At the other end Andersen had a slow start as well but settled in nicely in the second period. It was then that he had his biggest stop of the night, on Torey Krug streaking down the slot, that prevented the Bruins from taking a 4-3 lead. But by the third period all of Andersen’s playoff magic and luck had run out. He began to turn back into a pumpkin while Rask elevated his game. Rask would finish the game strong by stopping the final 13 shots he faced.
- Kasperi Kapanen‘s short handed break away goal was sick. Such a sweet, patient move that undressed Rask. It was his only shot of the game.
- David Krejci (3 assists) was a turnover machine in the first half of Game 7. It was almost shocking that he finished the game with three assists because for awhile he was such a massive liability in his own end. He finished the series with 8 points.
- Kevan Miller (2 assists) had a fantastic game. He might have been the Bruins best defenseman. He created Patrice Bergeron‘s (1 goal, 2 assists) goal with his deliberate wide right shot/bank pass, and also fed Krug for his game tying one-timer. And on a night where the Bruins defense was absolutely awful on the breakout and clearing pucks, he was largely the best amongst the group.
- Rick Nash (1 assist) was noticeable in a good way. He has a spotlight on him and rightfully so. His pay grade and job description call for it. At this point he is fairly snake bitten but in a Game 7 he did not disappear. I thought he played well despite taking a boneheaded retaliatory penalty that canceled out a Bruins power play. Luckily, the 4-on-4 situation he created with his dumb penalty was exactly what the Bruins needed. The B’s would score both the tying and game winning goals playing 4-on-4.
- Auston Matthews (4 shots) however brought less than desired to the table. He wasn’t terrible by any means but I certainly expected him to make an impact and he didn’t. A non-factor, really.
- Old man Marleau (2 goals) had one of the prettiest tip in’s I’ve seen. Just a laser beam from the point that he perfectly knocked down and under the extending Rask. If the Leafs are patient with Marleau I think he could turn into a decent player for them someday down the road.
- Danton Heinen (1 goal, 3 shots) was one of the bigger individual unknowns going into Game 7. He hadn’t been much of a factor in the series until last night, but he made his presence felt with a slick stick side snipe in the first period that tied things at 2. If he gets going like he can the scoring depth attribute of this Bruins team just got a huge boost for round 2.
- The Bruins were not going to win if their top line continued to put up donuts on the score sheet. Thankfully 63-37-88 finally came to life again. Bergeron had three points, Brad Marchand (1 goal, 1 assist) contributed, and David Pastrnak (1 goal, 1 assist, 13 points in the series) broke the Leafs back with the Bruins sixth goal. Even though a lot of different players chipped in offensively in Game 7 it’s that top line that drives the B’s scoring bus. If they’re passengers instead driving that bus it’s a much taller order and the Bruins don’t win that game.
Game 1 of round two against the Tampa Bay Lightning is this Saturday @ 3pm on NBC. Stay tuned for our preview.
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