A lot of the 2019 Spherical-1 matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins has felt completely different than the 2013 and 2018 conferences. The Leafs received the primary sport in Boston this 12 months. They’ve gotten wonderful goaltending from Frederik Andersen. They’ve led the sequence 3 times, together with the Three-2 edge they carried into Recreation 6 Sunday at house with an opportunity to remove their Atlantic Division rival.
And but, after the scared-stiff incarnation of the Leafs confirmed up for about 30 minutes Sunday, this very-different sequence units up for a similar previous finale. For the third time of their previous 4 playoff appearances, Toronto will head to Boston for a Recreation 7. The Bruins stayed alive in a Four-2 victory that Leafs coach Mike Babcock mentioned was Boston’s greatest sport of the sequence.
A lot had been product of the Leafs “beginning on time” after a lackluster Recreation Four loss on house ice, they usually did simply that to open Recreation 6, using momentum from a legitimately-loud-for-a-change afternoon crowd at Scotiabank Enviornment and taking a 1-Zero lead on a seeing-eye shot from defenseman Morgan Rielly. The Bruins answered lower than two minutes later and took the air out of the constructing, nonetheless. By the tip of the primary, they’d scored two power-play objectives and outshot the Leafs 14-6. For the second half of the primary and the whole second interval, the Bruins dictated the tempo. They acquired one of the best play from their defensemen all sequence. That they had Toronto stymied, tight and second guessing on each rush. Overlook getting pucks by means of – the Leafs didn’t even attempt to get pucks by means of for almost all of the second interval. They generated simply 35.42 of the shot makes an attempt at even energy within the second, after which they trailed Three-1, with Jake DeBrusk ending off a give-and-go with David Krejci for the interval’s lone purpose.
The Leafs woke as much as begin the third. They acquired the early purpose they wanted on a talented snipe from Auston Matthews, his fifth purpose of the sequence. They acquired some well timed saves from Andersen. They poured strain on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and managed the play a lot of the interval. However the jelly-legged assault that stricken the Leafs by means of the sport’s center chunk did them in. They fell Four-2, the ultimate purpose approaching an empty-netter from the Bruins.
A Recreation 7 at house clearly received’t scare this seasoned Boston group. So are we really rewatching the acquainted Leafs-Bruins storyline? Or has Toronto proven any indicators it is going to arrive for Recreation 7 a special group? There causes to count on both consequence, really.
There’s little doubt the Bruins’ energy play has Toronto spinning in circles. It’s now 7 for 16 (43.eight p.c) for the sequence, and if Boston manages to journey what must be a wild TD Backyard crowd and impose a bodily model of play to open Recreation 7, the Leafs may wind up in penalty bother.
“They’ve acquired a number of weapons, a number of guys who’ve acquired actually good one timers as effectively,” mentioned Leafs heart John Tavares after Recreation 6. “These performs occur bang-bang. They’re actually fast and threatening. They’ve acquired good deception. It’s a tricky energy play to defend. We’ve simply acquired to discover a technique to do it.”
That’s been a transparent benefit for Boston all sequence. The blue whale within the room, although, is the potential psychological benefit of that Recreation 7 juju. Does it exist? Assuming the Leafs costume the identical lineup in Recreation 7 that they did for Sunday’s Recreation 6, which excludes the suspended Nazem Kadri, Toronto will costume 13 skaters and one goaltender from final 12 months’s Recreation 7, by which the group led by a purpose getting into the third interval solely to lose 7-Four. If the Bruins costume the identical lineup as Sunday, they’ll return 12 skaters and one goalie from 2018’s Recreation 7. The Bruins refused to concede any psychological edge when requested about it Sunday, in fact.
“I don’t suppose anybody has a psychological benefit,” Rask mentioned. “Each season is a brand new season. You find yourself taking part in the identical group, so be it, nevertheless it’s a brand new sequence, new sport. Everyone seems to be simply making an attempt to concentrate on the second, not take into consideration the previous. So I don’t suppose anybody actually has a psychological benefit.
“Now we have expertise (in Recreation 7s) clearly, however we nonetheless must play the sport the fitting approach. Doesn’t matter if it’s Recreation 1, 2, Three, Four.”
If the Leafs are searching for a constructive spin on the 2019 model of Recreation 7 in Boston, they will look to the very fact the 2019 sequence has been totally its personal beast. Boston dictated the play in Recreation 2 and for many of Recreation 6, however Toronto has pushed the tempo for almost all of the sequence, together with twice in Boston. If the Leafs skate and drive the puck to the web with fury, they do have a tendency to permit probabilities at their finish, however they generate lots, too, and that caters to their model. They’re brokers of chaos. They’ve the guide on find out how to beat Boston, together with in Boston.
“They’ve performed rather well in our constructing to date, and the ice has been horrible — you could as effectively play with a tennis ball, skate round and see who can bounce the ball into the web,” mentioned Bruins left winger Brad Marchand. “Nothing issues in regards to the previous, so we’re not going to take a look at something that’s occurred previously and count on it to play out a sure approach.”
If the Leafs don’t wish to level out variations within the sequence from earlier years as constructive omens – they will merely select to method Tuesday’s Recreation 7 as “New group, new sport.” They’ll deploy a number of gamers who weren’t a part of the 2018 (or, naturally, the 2013) collapses, most notably Tavares and blueliner Jake Muzzin, a 2014 Stanley Cup winner with L.A. Kings.
Or Toronto can select to not affiliate this 12 months’s sequence with any earlier sequence. That’s what Babcock prefers.
“I’m a not an enormous believer in dwelling previously,” he mentioned. “I don’t carry a number of stuff round from the previous in any respect. The underside line is we don’t wish to be discouraged in opposition to these guys, and… we like one another. We like our group. We like hanging round collectively. We wish to be collectively. And the one approach we get to be collectively is that if we play good and execute and win. We’ve acquired a superb group that enjoys being collectively and plans on having a superb run, and as a way to do this we’ve acquired to enter Boston and win a sport.”
Per naturalstattrick.com, In 2013 in opposition to the Bruins, the Leafs gave up a roughly a 57-43 edge in shot makes an attempt at 5-on-5. In 2018, it was roughly 52 to 48. This 12 months: virtually precisely even, 50.08 for the Leafs, 49.92 for the Bruins. Extra so than another 12 months, the Leafs seem to belong.
So will that matter Tuesday? It should rely lots on energy performs, on Andersen and, as all the time, on how this group responds to the strain.
“It’s Recreation 7, something can occur,” Krug mentioned. “That’s a query you’ll want to ask them over there of their locker room. We simply have to enter it with the fitting mentality. It’s our constructing, and we’re comfy taking part in at house. We’ll use our followers to our benefit. They’ll be excited, and we’ll be excited to get one other crack at it.”
– With recordsdata from Edward Fraser
Tags: boston bruins, information, nhl, stanley cup playoffs, toronto maple leafsConnect: Concerning the AuthorMatt LarkinMatt Larkin is a senior author at The Hockey Information and has been a part of the group since 2011. He is your one-stop store for deep-dive participant interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy participant rankings, participant security and hair suggestions. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey Information Stay and The Hockey Information Podcast.