No team has won two games in a row in the series.
If the Bruins want to advance to the second round to face the Blue Jackets, that’s what they have to do on Tuesday night.
After taking a win in Game 6 in Toronto, the Bruins earned a chance to play in a Game 7 on home ice. It’s a mirror image of the scenario a season ago, hosting a decisive game for the chance to move on.
The Bruins won that game, powered by two goals from Jake DeBrusk. That time, though, Toronto had forced the Game 7 after coming back down in the series 3-1. This time around, neither team has garnered any consistency, each game writing its own story and resulting in different looks for each squad.
If the Bruins play like they did in Game 6, they should have a good shot. Arguably their best game of the series, or as closest as they want to play as possible, that kind of showing in front of a home crowd puts them in a good position.
“I thought Game 6 was our identity, our type of game in terms of pace, physicality, finishing, all aspects of the game, special teams,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “That’s probably the biggest thing that goes into (lineup) decisions.”
Of course, in Game 6, the Leafs nearly staged a late comeback, just like they did in Game 4 when the Bruins blew a 2-0 lead but held on later to win 6-4.
Without any lineup changes, the Bruins are looking for the same formula as Game 6, which provided their most dominant period of the series and was the closest they’ve come to playing a game that looked like their best of the regular season.
It still feels like there’s another gear, though, and at home in a must-win game, that might be the best time for it to come through.
“We have some young guys who have a little experience with it,” said Cassidy. “Obviously (Karson) Kuhlman, no, but he’s played in big games. Brandon Carlo, his first playoffs he’s handled well. Hasn’t seen a Game 7, so let’s keep an eye on that.
The lineup from Game 6 will stay the same, with David Backes and Chris Wagner sitting out in favor of Kuhlman and Joakim Nordstrom.
The blueline stays the same, after a stellar game in Toronto where the defense accounted for nearly 40 percent of the Bruins shots on goal.
About the Maple Leafs
The Leafs have made a game of it late in each of the Bruins last two wins. They scored late in Game 6, keeping the B’s on their toes before they extended their lead with an empty net tally.
The Leafs lines are expected to be as follows.
Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Andreas Johnsson – Auston Matthews – Kasperi Kapanen
Patrick Marleau – William Nylander – Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis – Frederik Gauthier – Trevor Moore
Morgan Rielly – Ron Hainsey
Jake Muzzin – Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner – Travis Dermott