Sunday afternoon in Toronto will be an elimination game for someone. The winner on Friday night determines who will be up against a wall.
The Bruins led 3-1 in the series a year ago before the Maple Leafs forced a Game 7 at TD Garden. This time, it’s tied 2-2 in what becomes a best-of-three tournament with the Bruins holding home ice advantage.
A win in Game 5 gives the B’s some breathing room before returning to Toronto for an Easter Sunday Game 6 showdown, knowing a Game 7 returns to the Garden.
The Bruins will go with the same top six they showed in Toronto in the tie-breaking game, keeping Danton Heinen up on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand after a little gamesmanship before Game 4 showed a different look.
David Pastrnak was bumped down to the second line, but ended up scoring when he was on the ice with Marchand.
“Past’a been toggled around, and he was with Bergy when he scored and (Jake) Muzzin was out there, it just happened to be, they made a mistake in their rotation and paid the price for it,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Good for Pasta, he got going, hopefully he goes off again.”
Energy levels were higher in the Game 4 win, and the B’s responded well when the Leafs came back from down 2-0, and survived the late onslaught that saw Toronto bring it to a one-goal game before the Bruins potted their empty netter.
It’s not going to be easy by any means, for the rest of the series, and that’s what the Bruins expected.
“The momentum changes really quickly in the playoffs,”said David Krejci. “If you win a game and then the next game you go out there it’s always about that game. The momentum changes and you’ve got to say even-keel.”
The Bruins bring back another injured player as Sean Kuraly is inserted into the lineup for the first time since surgery on his broken hand on March 22. He replaces Joakim Nordstrom.
“Watching is always hard, especially in the playoffs,” said Kuraly. “Obviously we did a good job last game, proud of that, and looking forward to moving on to tonight. It’s gonna be a hard fought game.”
The defense stays the same for the first time since going from Game 1 to Game 2. John Moore will play in his second straight contest, paired with Matt Grzelcyk.
Per Cassidy, the top six fowards will at least start the game the same way they did in Game 4 in Toronto, with Heinen playing with the top group.
About the Maple Leafs
After a tough outing in Game 4, which did include a comeback bid that fell short, the Leafs are going with their same lineup for Game 5. The Bruins will have the last change on home ice.
Auston Matthews came alive in the two games in Toronto, but was held down in the first pair of games in Boston.