May 21, 2024

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Game 7 results, highlights: Boston survives off an overtime goal from David Pastrnak

The Boston Bruins have survived their first-round collection in opposition to the Toronto Maple Leafs with overtime heroics from David Pastrnak in Game 7. For the Maple Leafs, it’s extra postseason heartbreak with a fourth straight collection loss to their largest rival.

The groups performed a tight-checking sport and went into overtime tied at 1-1, however it solely took 1:54 for Pastrnak to give you the clutch goal. Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm crossed the middle pink line and fired the puck into the Toronto zone.

Pastrnak learn the play completely and burnt a few Maple Leafs defenders for the free puck after it kicked off the top boards. With nothing however time and area in entrance of the Maple Leafs internet, Pastrnak schooled Ilya Samsonov to ship Boston by means of to the following spherical.

In his postgame interview, Pastrnak mentioned he was most happy with how the Bruins fought again after falling behind 1-0 within the third interval. Trent Frederic’s line got here up with an glorious shift to maintain Boston alive, and Pastrnak made a clutch play in overtime.

“Just the comeback, honestly,” Pastrnak instructed ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “In third period play, down 1-0. There’s nothing easy, you know? Freddie’s line came up huge. They got us the tying goal, and I was able to make a play on the game-winning goal. … Just focused on making one more play today.”

Nine minutes into the third interval, William Nylander broke a 0-0 tie when he cashed in an ideal cross from Auston Matthews to offer his group a one-goal lead. That edge didn’t final lengthy, although, as tenacious forechecking from Boston created chaos within the Toronto zone, and Hampus Lindholm put a shot by means of site visitors that beat Samsonov.

The Maple Leafs had been by no means actually capable of recuperate after that, and now they’ve failed to achieve the second spherical for the seventh time of their final eight postseason appearances. This was additionally their seventh straight Game 7 loss, courting again to 1992.

After successful this collection in dramatic trend, Boston should rapidly flip its consideration to the second spherical. The Bruins will face the Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers, the group that got here again from 3-1 all the way down to beat them within the first spherical final yr.

Pastrnak comes up clutch after call-out

Following the Bruins’ Game 6 loss to the Maple Leafs, head coach Jim Montgomery didn’t shrink back from calling out his star ahead. Montgomery mentioned Boston wanted extra from Pastrnak in “big-time moments.”

“Your best players need to be your best players this time of year,” Montgomery mentioned in his press convention. “I think the effort is tremendous. They need to come through with some big-time plays in big-time moments. [Brad] Marchand has done this throughout the series. (Pastrnak) needs to step up.”

I believe it’s honest to say that message was acquired. Even earlier than the overtime goal, Pastrnak was one of many extra noticeable gamers on the ice for the Bruins. His 4 photographs on goal and eight shot makes an attempt had been tied for second on the group, and Pastrnak created two high-danger scoring probabilities, per Natural Stat Trick.

Then once more, these numbers wouldn’t imply a lot if the Maple Leafs had been those advancing. Moments don’t get a lot larger than overtime in Game 7. Plays don’t get a lot larger than the one Pastrnak made in that second.

No one was ever questioning Pastrnak’s expertise, but when the Bruins are going to go on a deep playoff run, he must be the one driving the bus. On Saturday night time, Pastrnak did simply that, and he’ll must do it some extra within the subsequent spherical.

End of an period in Toronto?

There might be an honest likelihood that we simply witnessed the ultimate sport the “Core Four” will ever play collectively. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander have shaped a star-studded quartet since 2018-19, however they haven’t discovered a lot postseason success in that span.

That group has taken the Maple Leafs to the playoffs in every of the final six seasons, however it has gotten out of the primary spherical simply as soon as. That was final yr, when Toronto eradicated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six video games earlier than successful only one second-round sport in opposition to the Florida Panthers.

This collection was an particularly powerful one for these gamers. Nylander and Matthews each missed time with an damage whereas Marner and Tavares had their share of struggles. They mixed for simply six targets and 6 assists, which isn’t sufficient from 4 gamers making upwards of $39 million.

That mixed cap hit will solely go up in 2024-25, when extensions kick in for Matthews in Nylander. The former is about to make $13.5 million per season, and the latter is getting a big pay bump to $11.5 million per yr.

As good as these 4 have been for the Maple Leafs within the common season, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and so they haven’t even come near attaining these heights. That being the case, don’t be stunned to see normal supervisor Brad Treliving make massive adjustments in the summertime.

Given the truth that they only signed contract extensions, Matthews and Nylander will possible be again for 2024-25 and past. That leaves Tavares and Marner as the apparent commerce candidates. Marner, 26, has one yr left on his deal at $10.9 million. Tavares, 33, has one yr remaining at $11 million.

Letting one or each of these gamers go shall be a tricky tablet to swallow for the Maple Leafs, however change is important at this level. Things have gotten stale in Toronto, and the franchise has to do all the things it may possibly to compete for a Cup whereas Matthews continues to be in his prime.

Do the Bruins have sufficient left within the tank to beat the Panthers?

This was an extended, hard-fought collection, and the Bruins’ reward is a second-round date with a Panthers group that has been resting for every week now. While Boston was capable of outlast Toronto on this collection, it should dig deeper with the intention to take down Florida.

The largest concern for the Bruins within the subsequent spherical is their offense. They simply scored 18 targets in a seven-game collection, and it’s not just like the Maple Leafs received all-world goaltending your entire time. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been too quiet at occasions, however the extra evident drawback is the dearth of depth up entrance.

The Panthers have 4 reliable difference-makers in Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe, and Aleksander Barkov. Throw in Vladimir Tarasenko and a wholesome Sam Bennett, and the Bruins actually begin to look outgunned at ahead.

In order for Boston to drag off the second-round upset and advance to the convention finals, it’s going to want one other distinctive efficiency from goaltender Jeremy Swayman. In his six first-round video games, Swayman saved 8.07 targets above common, per Natural Stat Trick. That ranks first and greater than doubles the second-best mark – 3.28 targets saved above common by Joseph Woll.

Sergei Bobrovsky was strong within the first spherical, however not essentially unbeatable. If Swayman retains enjoying like this, and Pastrnak can maintain developing with well timed targets, the Bruins ought to be capable of make issues fascinating.