Listless Bruins forced to a Game 7 after falling to Leafs, 2-1
Remember when the Bruins led their quarterfinal series with the Maple Leafs 3-1 last week after David Krejci’s overtime winner in Game 4? That was fun. Things have turned quickly (as they often do in the NHL playoffs) and Toronto has all the momentum now after winning Game 6 Sunday by the same score as Game 5, 2-1, this time at Air Canada Centre. Game 7 is Monday night at TD Garden (7 p.m., NESN) and, of note, Boston has gone seven games in five of its last six playoff series dating back to 2011.
Similar to the end of the regular season where they simply couldn’t put the puck in the net, the Bruins aren’t giving goaltender Tuukka Rask (24 saves) any margin for error. Also, this was the second straight game they’ve fallen behind 2-0 in the third period which is impossible to recover from with the way they’ve struggled to score. James Reimer (29 saves) has been a huge part of Toronto’s success, forging two great performances in a row along with help from his defensemen.
The Leafs got on the board first when Nazem Kadri’s shot deflected off Dion Phaneuf 1:50 into the third period. Phil Kessel clinched it after a rebound and backhander at 8:59. The B’s wouldn’t let Reimer get a shutout, however, as Milan Lucic redirected a laser of a pass from Jaromir Jagr but there was only 25.5 seconds left in regulation. The painful last sequence was Zdeno Chara passing up a shot to Patrice Bergeron, whose shot was blocked.
What they’ll be saying: For a team that loves to make things difficult on themselves, this is another chapter in pain for the Bruins. A loss in Game 7 would have big repercussions for the franchise that three years ago blew a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals and lost in seven games to the Capitals in the first round last season.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate