The game wasn’t without its controversy, but the Leafs were the better side all night.
There weren’t a ton of highlights, so let’s get to them! Thanks to Chris for the Streamables.
The Bruins blow a golden chance to take a stranglehold on the series, and instead will head to Toronto with their season on the line.
- I can think of three Bruins who played well tonight: Tuukka Rask, Charlie McAvoy, and David Krejci. Everyone else ranged from “off” to “terrible.”
- A game like this almost encapsulates the entire Bruins season, so it’d be fitting if this ends up being the fatal blow: the Bruins, all season long, alternated between dominant and inept. They’re been frustrating to watch all season. Was it naive to expect that to change?
- The Leafs do deserve some credit, of course. They’ve clearly tightened up their game in the neutral and defensive zones, and are doing a good job of limiting time and space for the Bruins’ skill players. Still, you need your best players to be your best players. For the Bruins, that simply hasn’t happened.
- One of the more frustrating parts of the series has been watching the Bruins try to make what could be termed too many cute plays. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, in particular, are consistently making another deke, another shimmy, another move that ends up leading to the puck rolling off their stick. It’s possible that the “win or go home” pressure of Game 6 makes them simplify their game; if it does, it could be a boon for the B’s.
- The replay of the Leafs’ second goal isn’t a good look for DeBrusk. It’s tough to gauge effort, of course, but he sure looked to be in glide mode for most of that backcheck. When the play finished with him so close to Kapanen, an extra stride could have made a huge difference.
- There will be, of course, but there should be no complaints about Rask’s play tonight. He kept the Bruins in it through the first two periods, and was exposed by his defense on the only two goals. It’s frustrating to waste a good performance like that.
- It’s mere speculation at this point, but it’s hard not to wonder if Patrice Bergeron is 100%. He skated only 19:03, nearly four full minutes less than David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, and 55 seconds less than DeBrusk. For a guy who’s usually among your ice-time leaders, it’s a weird look.
- You could make the argument that Bruins’ power play lost them this game. The B’s were 0 for 3 with the man advantage, and didn’t really seem to come very close to scoring. In fact, they gave up a shorthanded breakaway (again). The power play looked more discombobulated than it has all season, and that confusion came at the worst possible time.
- Bruce Cassidy appeared to sense that many of his guys didn’t have it tonight, as he was line-blending to the point that it was almost comical. It seemed like nearly every Bruin forward ended up playing with Krejci at some point. Chris Wagner ended up with Bergeron. Wild stuff.
- Sean Kuraly was OK in his return, but didn’t have the impact many had hoped for. He was decent and provided some energy, but was around 33% CF% 5v5. Not great.
- David Backes didn’t have a great night, and may be in line for a scratch on Sunday. The veteran skated just 4:36 total: 5 shifts in the first period, 2 in the second and none in the third.
- It sounds like terrible analysis, but it really is pretty simple: the Bruins best players have been outplayed by the Leafs’ best players, and outplayed consistently. If the season is going to extend past Easter, that needs to change.
Hey, at least this game was on a Friday, right? Enjoy your Saturday! Back at it at 3 PM on Sunday.