TORONTO — Everything’s on the line in Game 6.
Trailing 3-2 in the series, the Bruins have to win to force a Game 7 against the Maple Leafs on home ice on Tuesday night. The B’s dropped Game 5 on Friday in a disappointing, lackluster effort that looked similar to Game 3 in Toronto.
Facing an elimination game on the road in a place like Toronto is far from ideal, but, the Bruins have faced adversity before.
“We thought after Game 1 we weren’t ready,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We were coming into the playoffs, we had some time off and it didn’t work in our favor but hopefully it will work in our favor down the road. Whether that is true of not I don’t know, for clearly we need to see it in Game 6 and if there is a Game 7 that the rest has paid off further down the road. Is it that Toronto has taken us out of our game? Or, is that we are not on time starting some night’s where we are not executing to the level that we can because of Toronto or because we are not focused.”
The B’s shift back to a quicker lineup after some of their heavier players haven’t brought a heavier game. Ever since Game 2, which was the Bruins best effort of the series, the physical advantage hasn’t been there.
Instead, the Bruins offense has gone quiet, being shut out until the final minute of Game 5 when David Krejci scored a late tally to make it a one-goal game.
It was the opposite of a Game 4 in Toronto when the B’s exploded for six goals behind a pair from David Pastrnak, but they’ve struggled to find line combinations that feed off each other.
There’s no room for error on Sunday afternoon, and if something doesn’t spark, the season is done.
“Obviously I didn’t like our first game,” said Cassidy. “We have to reach our level if we expect to advance so you hope that your veteran guys get that message across. We are far along here, Game 6, so I’m certainly working on getting that message and hope they get it across. We have no room for error. Whoever gets it across and they need to be bought in and we’ve got to step up our urgency.”
According to the line rushes at practice on Saturday, Karson Kuhlman and Joakim Nordstrom would go back into the lineup for David Backes and Noel Acciari.
The defensive pairings were the same, with Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton the odd-men out.
The power play went quiet in an 0-3 effort in Game 5, but it appears they’ll keep Marcus Johansson with the first group and Jake DeBrusk with the second.
About the Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews has broken out for the Leafs, scoring the go-ahead goal in Game 5 in Boston. Neither team has won two in a row in the series, so the Leafs will try to buck that trend to advance.
Toronto is expected to lineup like this.
Ennis- Gauthier- Moore