“[We’re] moving on to the next one, and we’ll finish the job in Toronto,” Tuukka Rask said after being pulled during the second period of the Bruins’ 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in Game 5.
That is obviously quite the statement from a goalie who allowed four goals on eight shots before being yanked in favor of Anton Khudobin Saturday night. The Bruins, however, played inspiring hockey following the goalie switch and nearly pulled off another 4-1 comeback against the Leafs at TD Garden.
Now, the Black and Gold will look to carry that play over into Monday’s Game 6 in Toronto in their second attempt to get that coveted fourth win and turn their attention to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2. Burying chances, limiting the Leafs’ odd-man rushes, getting better goaltending from Rask and getting off to an early lead will go a long way toward accomplishing that first-round victory.
Otherwise, it’s back-to-back wins for Toronto and back to Boston for a do-or-die Game 7 — for the second time in six seasons — Wednesday night.
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Series: Bruins lead 3-2
Location: Air Canada Centre
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Rick Nash
Riley Nash-Sean Kuraly-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Noel Acciari-Tommy Wingels
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Matt Grzelcyk
Maple Leafs projected lines
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown
Patrick Marleau-Nazem Kadri-Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson-Tomas Plekanec-William Nylander
Morgan Reilly-Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner-Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott-Roman Polak
Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 6 storylines
– Monday’s storyline in the never-ending Rask narrative is obviously what he has in store for a bounce-back performance. As 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson pointed out, Rask is just 1-5 in six career Game 6 appearances and has just five wins in 16 prior elimination appearances. His guarantee after Game 5 was quite bold, but Rask indeed will need to shake off his past history to back it up.
– The good news for Bruce Cassidy is that he has every healthy player at his disposal for Game 6. The bad news for one of the players from the Game 5 lineup is one might be watching from the press box. Danton Heinen, who is a minus-1 and pointless in five games, is the prime candidate to get a bird’s eye view, while Tommy Wingels would likely get bottom-6 minutes and notch his third appearance of the postseason. This would mark the first occasion that Wingels and Nazem Kadri renew acquaintances since the latter served a three-game suspension for charging the former Blackhawk in Game 1.
– One key to the two Leafs’ wins this series? Holding the Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak in check. Bergeron, who missed Game 4 with an upper-body injury, is pointless to go along with a minus-3 rating in his last two games. Marchand and Pastrnak notched at least one point in each of the three victories. With the Leafs getting last change, Mike Babcock gives Kadri, Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner the assignment against the Bergeron trio. Yes, the Bruins could use some secondary scoring from David Krejci and Rick Nash in particular, but one can also expect the top line to create their share of chances and get back on the scoresheet in Game 6.