Game Five of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs opening round series didn’t go the way B’s fans had hoped. But Game Six in Toronto is tonight. Here’s what is on tap.
The Boston Bruins that were on the ice were very much the Bruins that fans were forced to watch in October and early November. The team started slowly, was inconsistent in handling the puck, and at times were not appearing to generate much effort or have much energy on the ice. This led to the Bruins going down 2-0 early, and having to claw their way back.
The score may have been a 4-3 loss, and the Bruins may have outshot the Leafs 45-21, but it never seemed like the Bruins were going to win Game 5. So that brings us to Game 6, and the series has shifted back to Toronto. A win tonight, and the Bruins move onto the 2nd round to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. A loss? While I’d prefer to not think about it, this would require a Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday night.
The 4th line was the story of Game 6, scoring the Bruins final 2 goals. The “Roaring 50s” line of Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari, operates with such efficiency in the small amount of ice time they receive. They make the most out of the every shift. When the lineup is fully healthy, the team benefits the most because this line gets to stay together.
The BIGGEST question before Game 6 is how Tuukka Rask will respond. The Bruins netminder was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 13 shots in the Game 5 loss. In the Bruins 3 postseason wins, Rask has been incredible. In their 2 losses, he has looked out of sorts. If the Bruins hope to move on, Rask may have to steal this game for them. A loss tonight, and the series momentum will be all in Toronto’s favor.
The who, what, when, and where
The Bruins appear to continue to be fully staffed. No reports of injuries out of Game 5, so I assume that everyone will be suited up. Sunday was a no-practice day, so many of the regulars took the day off from the ice. Rick Nash was the online line-up stalwart who took the ice.
The special teams of the Bruins needs to be better. I predicted in my pre-series post that special teams would dictate this series. In Game 5, the Bruins went a paltry 1 for 6 on the power play, whereas Toronto went 1 for 1. The Bruins still have the best power play in the playoffs at 35.3%, but are 14th in penalty kill at 70%.
Game 6 is slated for a 7:00 pm puck drop, and can be found nationally on NBC Sports Network, and locally on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Here’s hoping we see some handshakes at around 9:30 pm or so.