Morgan Rielly passionately defends Jake Gardiner after disastrous Game 7 vs. Bruins


TD Garden is a house of horrors for Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner.

Gardiner was Toronto's worst player in last season's first-round Game 7 when the Bruins eliminated the Leafs 7-4 to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Tuesday night's Game 7 was almost as bad for Gardiner, who finished with a minus-3 rating and made a few costly mistakes.

The 28-year-old blueliner didn't talk to the media after the Leafs lost 5-1 at TD Garden, but one of his teammates, Toronto d-man Morgan Rielly, gave a strong defense of Gardiner.

Gardiner's sloppiness with the puck presented the Bruins with some prime scoring chances, and Marcus Johansson capitalized on one to increase Boston's lead to 2-0 in the first period.

The Bruins had a 15-13 edge in shot attempts, a 10-5 advantage in scoring chances and outscored the Leafs 2-0 during the 14:51 of 5-on-5 ice time Gardiner played in Game 7.

Gardiner is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and given the Leafs' salary cap situation, it wouldn't be shocking if the defenseman finds a new team before the 2019-20 season. 

Click here for an early look at Bruins vs. Blue Jackets>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Contact Us