The Boston Bruins wasted a golden opportunity to take control of the series for the first time following Friday’s lackluster showing against the Maple Leafs in Game 5. They’ll have their season on the line up in Toronto Sunday afternoon in Game 6.
Simply put, the Bruins can’t show up to Scotiabank Arena as an uninspired bunch. Otherwise, they’ll be cleaning out their lockers when they return to Boston.
“We have to rely on each other and put ourselves in a bubble and do the job. That’s the bottom line. Everything is on the line now,” Patrice Bergeron said following the 2-1 loss Friday night at TD Garden. “So now it’s about moving forward and be ready to head on the plane tomorrow, and going to Toronto, and be ready for a big game.”
It isn’t the most ideal situation. The Bruins have no one to blame but themselves for facing this predicament.
The Bruins look like a team going through the motions through the first five games. That doesn’t bode well against any team in the postseason, let alone a talented squad like the Maple Leafs.
There’s no reason for the Bruins to come out flat in Games 1 and 5 in a postseason battle against their Original Six rivals. Herb Brooks said it best in the Hollywood film Miracle: “playing like this is some throwaway game up in Rochester.” That’s exactly what’s going on with this Boston squad.
The improved Leafs are a hungrier bunch. We’ve seen Mitch Marner willing to die to win a game when he nearly blocked two David Pastrnak slapshots with his face as time expired in Game 3. It’s been the difference in this series. That is the type of energy the Bruins need as they face elimination on Easter Sunday.
This is it. There is no tomorrow.
“We just have to be relentless. It’s do or die,” Sean Kuraly said after returning to the lineup in Game 5. “We’ll play like our lives are on the line.”
They have their backs against the wall. But the Bruins remain confident while staring death in the face, and they should.
Boston is every bit as talented as Toronto. They’ve played themselves into the upper echelon of the National Hockey League while facing adversity all season long.
It isn’t out of the question that the Bruins can win two games in a row. The only question here is how bad do they want it.
It all starts with getting the job done in another road game, albeit under bigger circumstances.
“Well, we won there already, so we know what we need to do. Tonight wasn’t our best game, and we know we’ve got better,” Pastrnak said. “So, we’re pretty confident that we can bring it back home, and we will.”
If only Pastrnak and the rest of the Bruins can display the confidence on the ice up in Toronto. They’ll have a good shot of sending the series back to Boston for a seventh and decisive game if they do.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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