Talking Points from the Bruins' 5-1 Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs


GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask had the best Game 7 of his NHL career and he deserves plenty of credit for that. Rask was good throughout while only allowing the goal in the second period on a John Moore turnover and was at his best in the second period when the Maple Leafs really whipped up some momentum with their speed game.

Rask stopped 12 of 13 shots in that second period while standing tall and never bent when the Leafs were trying to seize back the game. That allowed the Bruins to collect themselves in the second intermission and make the final push in the third period while advancing past Toronto in a first-round Game 7 for the second consecutive season.

It was a far cry from last spring where he melted down in Game 7 before the team rescued him in the third period. This time, it was Rask taking care of his end of the bargain and answering some of his critics when it comes to big games.

BLACK EYE: Jake Gardiner again choked in a big game against the Bruins at TD Garden. He wasn’t as bad as the minus-5 he posted in Game 7 last spring, but Gardiner was once again a minus-3 in 17:17 of ice time while turning pucks over at warp speed. It was Gardiner who banked a puck off the boards behind the Toronto net to nobody in particular, and that turned into the eventual game-winning goal for Marcus Johansson in the first period. 

So, Gardiner is now a minus-8 in the last two seventh games against the Bruins and really continues to look like a liability for the Maple Leafs on their back end. Travis Dermott wasn’t good either as his defensive partner either and turned it over on Boston’s first goal of the game, so together they did a ton of damage to the Leafs chances.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins got off to a great start and survived getting stormed by the Leafs in the second period. It was pivotal to their chances of winning that they push at the start of the third period and they did exactly that with Sean Kuraly scoring a big goal to extend things to a two-goal lead.

It was par for the course for the B’s, though, as they got goals from their bottom-six forwards on their first four scores until Patrice Bergeron tapped in an empty-netter in the final second of the third period. It was hugely important that the B’s take back the game to start the third period after letting things go in the second and Kuraly’s goal allowed them to do just that while also getting the home crowd going.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kuraly has been a difference-maker since coming back into the series and he was at it again on Tuesday night for the Bruins. Kuraly finished with a goal, two points and a plus-3 while the fourth line truly made its presence felt against the Leafs and really made an impact on the tail end of the series. 

Kuraly was part of the B’s important first goal as well as he intercepted a turnover from Travis Dermott throwing the puck up the middle of the ice. That eventually turned into Joakim Nordstrom taking a bad-angle shot toward the net and sneaking a puck through the short side that Freddie Andersen hadn’t been able to seal off. Kuraly also had three shots on net, a hit and a blocked shot while winning three of six face-offs in 11:48 of ice time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 – The number of power plays for the Bruins in Game 7 where the Maple Leafs certainly must have thought their discipline would tip into their favor. It didn’t as it turned out.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “It was huge for us to get the first goal. [The Garden] was rocking.” –Tuukka Rask, on the Bruins taking the early advantage before he went into shutdown mode in the second period in the Game 7 win. 

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