There are few moments in sports greater than game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The only one of this years playoffs would be a shootout from the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. This game was hardly the goaltender match up many people would have thought it would be as there was a combined eleven goals scored between the two teams. For the majority of the game it looked like it could have gone either way as the first two periods were separated by one goal at the end of each. The ending would be a thriller for one team, and total heartbreak for the other as the winner would advance to the next round to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There was a lot of back and forth action in the first period as it seemed like whenever one team scored, the other would respond in a matter of minutes. The team that has scored first in the series has won 5/6 times so Leafs fans must have been thrilled to see their team score first. It only took two minutes for the first goal of the game to be scored by the wily veteran Patrick Marleau. An early powerplay was a big help for the Leafs as Marleau deflected a shot by Gardiner passed Rask for the 1-0 lead. The Bruins however were undeterred by this early setback and would score a poweplay goal of their own, only two minutes later. The red hot Jake Debrusk would deflect a shot by Pasternak passed a screened Andersen to tie the game 1-1. The goals would keep coming fast and furious as the Leafs would re-take the lead less than two minutes later. It would be Marleau again, this time beating Rask over the blocker on a bad angle giving Toronto the 2-1 lead. The lead would last all of three minutes before Boston would tie the game again, this time courtesy of Danton Heinen. Heinen would receive the puck from Krejci who made no mistake beating Andersen for a 2-2 tie. It was looking like the period would end in a tie, but the Bruins had other plans. With under a minute to play in the period Patrice Bergeron would score his first goal of the playoffs from a beautiful bank pass off the back boards by Miller. The pass would give Bergeron an open cage to shoot in giving Boston a 3-2 lead going into the second. Boston had a 12-10 edge in shots, but that wasn’t going to help them much in the second period as Toronto was far from done.
Once again it would take all of two minutes for the Leafs to put a goal on the board, much in thanks to the Bruins defence. Travis Dermott would enter the Boston zone on the rush and proceed to throw the puck at the net. Normally a harmless shot this one would deflect off a Boston defenceman and go over the glove of Tuuka Rask for a 3-3 tie. Then all of four minutes later the Leafs would find themselves shorthanded, but that didn’t stop them from breaking the tie. On a errant pass for Marchand, the puck skipped over his stick and the race between Marchand and Kapanen would ensue. Kapanen would win the race for the puck and deke Rask out of position before sliding the puck home for the 4-3 lead. Despite being out shot 13-6, the Leafs found themselves carrying a one goal lead into the third… Where all hell broke lose.
It took all of one minute for Boston to tie the game courtesy of Torey Krug. Krug got the puck alone on the point where his shot would beat a screened Fredrick Andersen under the glove tying the game at 4-4. The Bruins were far from done there as only four minutes later they’d re-take the lead. Debrusk would score his second goal of the game on a coast-to-coast rush. He blew by Gardiner and beat Andersen five hole for a 5-4 Boston lead, and they weren’t going to just sit on the lead either. David Pasternak would add an insurance marker halfway through the third. He was handed a gift as Gardiner again made a mistake, this time diving to block the shot and taking out his own goalie in the process. The Leafs wouldn’t get another shot on Rask until over halfway through the third, but by then it was far too late. Marchand would ice the game with an empty net goal giving Boston the 7-4 win, and the 4-3 series win with it. Boston out shot Toronto 11-8 in the third and 36-24 in the game as they turned on the jets at home and secure a birth in the semi-finals. Boston’s next round opponent will be the Tampa Bay Lighting, game one will be Saturday April 28th in Tampa, should be another great series of hockey!