We’ve seen just about everything in this evenly-matched series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. The two storied rivals battled their way to yet another decisive Game 7 matchup for the second straight postseason; trading off wins in every other game this series.
The Bruins, fresh off a 4-2 victory in Game 6 on Sunday, battled their way back from the brink of elimination. Now they look to break the trend through the first six games and become the first — and only — team to notch two straight wins.
“Experience matters obviously, I think it’s just the compete level,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said following Boston’s half-hour practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday. “It’s about effort and execution, I doubt either team will lack effort. So it comes down to execution as much as anything. Why do we execute some days better than others? Tomorrow hopefully we get on it in a hurry.”
The Bruins have home ice on their side for the series finale. Yet playing in friendly confines hasn’t mattered much this series.
Both teams earned a pair of wins on the road, but the Bruins and Maple Leafs are each 1-2 at home. Neither team could take advantage of playing in front of their home fan base since Toronto’s Game 3 win at Scotiabank Arena. The Bruins look to buck that home ice trend as well come Tuesday night.
“It could be because you think it’s going to help you,” Sean Kuraly said about the home woes this series.
“Both crowds have been unbelievable. It’s nothing against that, it’s just no one in the crowd is scoring a goal for you. You have to come out and you have to play. If you think it is going to be a big advantage and the other team thinks they are going to be at a big disadvantage, then they come out like gangbusters and you come out a little slow and it’s an issue.”
We all knew this was coming. The Bruins and Maple Leafs have met three times in the postseason this decade. Each encounter went the seven-game distance. Boston has two decisive Game 7 victories over its Original Six foes, but it’s far from a guarantee that they’ll do it again on Causeway St.
It’s do or die once again for the Bruins for the second straight game. They’ll need to bring everything they have to get the job done. The star-studded Maple Leafs are a year older and wiser. They still have a sour taste in their mouths after relinquishing a third-period lead at this time last year.
There’s very little separating these two teams and it will come down to the minor details. The Bruins are happy to have home ice despite dropping Games 1 and 5 in front of the loyal 17,565 at TD Garden.
The Bruins played their way to this moment with a strong late-season push that included a 19-game point streak. They hope to finally use that home-ice advantage en route to another series victory over Auston Matthews and company.
“You can look at it any way you want, but you just have to play a good game,” Kuraly added. “We’ll be lucky to have our home crowd behind us and that’s what we fought for this season.”
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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