For the first time since the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs can advance to another round of postseason play after their, 2-1, victory on road ice against the Boston Bruins.
The TD Garden crowd was silenced Friday night after the Leafs took the, 3-2, series lead with them out the “exit” doors.
Frederik Andersen (3-2-0 record, 2.62 goals against average, .925 save percentage in five games played this postseason) made 28 saves on 29 shots against for a .966 SV% in the win for Toronto.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (2-3-0, 2.65 GAA, .922 SV% in five games played this postseason) stopped 25 out of 27 shots faced (.926 SV%) in the loss.
Connor Clifton (upper body) and Kevan Miller (lower body) remain out of the lineup for the Bruins due to injury, while Sean Kuraly (fractured right hand) was back in action for Boston in Game 5 after missing the last 12 games.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, kept his lines the same otherwise, with Joakim Nordstrom joining Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman as Boston’s healthy scratches on Friday.
The first period started with a heavy defensive presence from both clubs as the players trailed up and down the ice.
Toronto dominated the first half of the period, but missed wide of the net more than a few times before Boston started to kick into gear in the latter end of the opening frame.
Late in the period, Zach Hyman tripped up Charlie McAvoy and sent the Bruins on their first power play of the night at 17:00 of the first period. The B’s did not convert on the resulting skater advantage.
After one period of play, the score was tied, 0-0, while Toronto led in shots on goal, 7-6. The Maple Leafs also led in takeaways (10-5) and face-off win percentage (64-36), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (8-1), giveaways (5-2) and hits (14-11).
Entering the first intermission, the Leafs had yet to see any time on the power play and Boston was 0/1.
Early in the second period, Patrick Marleau hooked Krejci and was assessed a minor penalty at 4:13.
The Bruins didn’t convert on the ensuing power play, but had another chance on the skater advantage when Mitch Marner sent the puck over the glass for the automatic delay of game penalty at 8:24 of the second period.
Once again, Boston failed to capitalize on the power play for the third time of the night.
There was no scoring in the second period, as the second intermission commenced with the score still tied, 0-0.
Through 40 minutes of play, Toronto maintained the advantage in shots on goal (16-15) and takeaways (14-5), while the B’s led in blocked shots (10-2), giveaways (8-4) and face-off win% (57-43).
Both teams had 21 hits aside through two periods, while the Maple Leafs had yet to see any time on the skater advantage.
Boston was 0/3 on the power play entering the third period.
Almost midway through the third period, the Bruins were caught with too many skaters on the ice and Boston was charged with a bench minor. Marcus Johansson served the penalty at 7:14 of the third period.
Despite killing off the infraction, the B’s were caught up behind the pace of play and lagging in the aftereffects of the vulnerable minute.
That’s when Toronto pounced.
Jake Muzzin sent a pass across the ice to Matthews (4) for the one-timer past Rask at 11:33 of the third period to give the Leafs the lead, 1-0.
Muzzin (2) and Kapanen (1) tallied the assists on the game’s first goal.
The Bruins used their coach’s challenge arguing that Hyman had interfered with Rask in the crease prior to the shot on goal, thereby inhibiting Rask’s ability to play the puck and make a save across the crease.
After review, had the call on the ice been reversed, it likely would’ve been the softest goaltender interference call in the history of the coach’s challenge.
Regular season? You might get that one.
In the playoffs? Not a chance. The absolute right call has to be made and it was made.
As a result of losing the challenge, Boston lost their timeout. That would’ve come in handy later…
A little over two minutes later, the Maple Leafs caught the Bruins on a rush the other way and waltzed into the attacking zone with the chance to convert on another one-timer– and convert they did.
Kapanen (1) scored his first goal of the postseason and perhaps the most important goal of the series so far at 13:45 of the third period to give Toronto the two-goal lead.
Toronto scored two goals in a span of 2:12 and took a stronghold on the eventual outcome.
With about 2:49 remaining in regulation, the Bruins pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker.
Boston continued to hold onto the puck for too long trying to set up the “perfect” play, but caught a break after entering the zone and setting up Krejci (2) for a one-timer to cut the lead in half and make it a, 2-1, game.
After sending the goal through video review to confirm that the Bruins had not entered the zone offside, Boston pulled Rask again for an extra skater with about 30 seconds left in regulation.
Hyman iced the puck for the Leads with 13.2 seconds to go.
Boston couldn’t convert.
Toronto iced the puck again with 1.2 seconds remaining.
Boston couldn’t get a next to impossible shot into the back of the twine as time expired.
At the sound of the final horn, Toronto had won, 2-1, and finished the night trailing in shots on goal, 29-27.
The B’s finished Friday night with the advantage in blocked shots (13-9), giveaways (13-5), hits (29-26) and face-off win% (65-36), while both clubs failed to record a power play goal.
Toronto went 0/1 on the skater advantage and Boston went 0/3.
The Maple Leafs enter Game 6 back on home ice at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday with the chance to eliminate the Bruins and punch their ticket to the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune in on NBC. Canadian residents can catch the action on CBC, SN or TVAS.