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Leafs, Bruins to play Game 7

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their first playoff game at home Sunday night defeating the Boston Bruins in an exciting match up.

The Leafs entered this game as the second must-win game in a row, down 3-2 to Boston. But to their credit, the Leafs were able to focus and win the game, despite the absence of Tyler Bozak.

Bozak had taken the most face-off draws of any Maple Leaf player so far, with Mikhail Grabovski in second. The Maple Leafs flew in Joe Colborne to replace him. Colborne, originally a Bruins draft pick, come over as part of the trade which saw Tomas Kaberle traded to Boston.

The first period had a low number of shots compared to previous games and finished scoreless, with the shots 8-7 for Boston.

The second period followed the same trend as the first, with Boston leading in the shot count 10-9. The Cody Franson and Jake Gardiner pairing played well at both ends of the ice, and the period ended with no score.

As the third period began, a worrying trend began to emerge. The Bruins were taking total control of the face-off dot, ending the game with every one of their face-off players having a 50% winning rate or higher, with Chris Kelly winning 79% and Patrice Bergeron winning 74%.

Unlike the first two periods, the third period saw the first goal of the game. Dion Phaneuf joined the rush and found himself in front of Tuuka Rask, screening the goalie. Nazem Kadri put a puck on net that was tipped by Phaneuf past Rask to put the Leafs on the board 1-0.

Leafs, Bruins to play Game 7
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring on Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, left, during the third period in Game 6 in Toronto Sunday.
(Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Despite losing most of the face-offs, following a Boston icing, Kadri was able to win the draw back to Franson. Franson put the puck on net, where James van Riemsdyk was able to track it down and pass it to Phil Kessel. Kessel backhanded the puck over Rask into the net, securing the Leafs a 2-0 lead.

The Maple Leafs led their two-goal lead until late into the third period. Boston pulled their goalie for an extra attacker when Grabovski tried for the empty net, icing the puck. The Bruins were able to put one behind James Reimer at 19:34. Milan Lucic was able to snap the puck into the net after receiving a nice cross-crease pass from Jaromir Jagr and Zdeno Chara.

The Bruins outshot Toronto 30-26, but were unable to get the puck pack Reimer as easily as they would have liked. The Leafs’ goaltender has given them a chance at every game with his excellent saves, and this game was no different with Reimer required to make several big saves to keep the playoff hopes alive.

“We’re going to have to play extremely well here,” said Phaneuf. “They’re going to come hard. We know that.”

“We’re not going to expect anything other than Boston’s best,” said Coach Randy Carlyle.

There were not many that picked the Leafs to even last seven games, let alone win the series, but the Maple Leafs have worked hard to prove their detractors wrong.

Kessel has stepped up and found a way to battle against Boston, scoring three goals so far to Tyler Seguin’s zero. If the Leafs can come out and play in Boston as they have in their last two games, the Leafs will face off against the winner of the New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals series.

Tonight’s game will be end in disappointment for one team, who it shall be remains to be discovered.

Prediction: Leafs in 7.

Game Seven will be played Monday, May 13th at 7 p.m. The series is tied 3-3.


Nick Fearns

Nick Fearns

Lover of hockey and all things Leafs related. I am currently a journalism student at Niagara College in Ontario. I have developed a passion for reporting, and hockey is one of my favorite things to write about.
Nick Fearns

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