The Maple Leafs have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force a Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, but will they be able exorcise their playoff demons, or will the Bruins shatter Toronto’s hearts again?
After two weeks of the first round, one playoff series remains. The first round series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs has delivered in almost every possible fashion and each game has been ripe with intrigue, but now comes time for the real fun as Game 7 approaches.
Toronto played their hearts out for their city in Game 6 after the tragedy that took place just hours earlier in the city, and won their second straight game to the series the series at three games apiece with a 3-1 victory on home ice.
The Leafs put together their most complete game of the series in Game 6. Frederick Andersen was absolutely stellar in Game 6 with 32 saves on 33 shots, by far his one of his best games of the series after a shaky start. Toronto has needed their star players to step up this series and come through with some production, and they’re finally starting to come through when it matters. Mitch Marner has recorded a team high eight points, William Nylander recorded his first goal of the series in Game 6, but Auston Matthews has recorded just a disappointing two points in this series. The Leafs shouldn’t rely on Andersen to bail them out again, they’ll all need their best performances of the season to advance in Game 7.
The Bruins are clearly frustrated they couldn’t finish this series in Games 5 or 6, but Boston needs to shake these two losses out of its head and get ready for Game 7, or it could be headed for the golf course with plenty of questions to answer.
Ever since recording nine points in the first two games of the series, David Pastrnak has dried up for just two assists that both came in Game 4. While there are a variety of reasons why the Bruins couldn’t close this series earlier, the entire top line has one goal since Game 2, and the Bruins’ chances for victory in Game 7 are little to none if they don’t step up.
Will history repeat itself with another blown 4-1 lead? Not likely. This Game 7 will be a back-and-forth affair. Both goalies will almost surely be at the top of their games, and everything could hinge on just one lucky bounce. The real matchup here will be Boston’s playoff experience vs. Toronto’s motivation. The Bruins have been here before, the Maple Leafs haven’t, but at the same time the Leafs have every once of motivation they need to match the Bruins intensity.
I can’t go against Toronto with this much motivation behind them, fighting for their city after Monday’s tragedy and fighting to slay the dragons of playoff past. Frederick Andersen stands tall for 30+ saves, and Patrick Marleau scores the go ahead goal in the third period to exorcise Toronto’s playoff demons in Boston and set the Maple Leafs up for a second round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Game 7 Prediction: Maple Leafs defeat Bruins 3-2