BOSTON — The Toronto Maple Leafs held on for dear life in the third period of Saturday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden, but they protected a late 4-3 lead to beat the Boston Bruins and extend their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series to a Game 6.
The Leafs opened a 4-1 lead in the second period, but the B’s mounted a comeback to get to 4-3 with 14-plus minutes left in regulation. But unlike Game 7 against the Bruins in 2013, the Leafs secured the victory with solid goaltending from Frederik Andersen in the final period.
Here’s how Game 5 unfolded:
BACK AT CENTER
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (upper body injury) and Leafs center Nazem Kadri (suspension) both returned to their respective lineups.
LEAFS STRIKE FIRST
The Leafs got on the board first at 6:36 of the opening period when Connor Brown batted in a puck after Auston Matthews’ wraparound attempt. It was Brown’s first career playoff goal.
The Leafs went up 2-0 when Andreas Johnsson took a feed from Nazem Kadri and beat B’s goalie Tuukka Rask with a backhand shot at 10:26 of the first period.
Here’s an interesting tidbit on Johnsson.
The Bruins were the better team the last half of the first period, and nearly scored on a power play, but Andersen made a few clutch saves to keep Boston scoreless. The B’s led 15-6 in shots on goal during the first 20 minutes.
BRUINS GET ONE BACK
Boston got on the board with a power-play goal by David Backes at 9:45 of the second period. A lucky bounce off the end boards fell in front of the net and Backes pounced on it. The goal was the sixth for the B’s on the power play in this series.
The Leafs went back up by two goals just 51 seconds after Backes’ tally. A pretty passing sequence between James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Rielly and Tyler Bozak, with the latter scoring, resulted in Toronto going up 3-1.
The dreaded Leafs’ lead of 4-1 returned with van Riemsdyk scoring a power-play goal on a nice shot up high. That tally marked the end of Rask’s night, as B’s coach Bruce Cassidy opted to replace him with backup netminder Anton Khudobin.
LEAFS PK STEPS UP
In the last half of the second period, the Leafs had to kill 1:34 of a 5-on-3 Bruins power play and then 16 more seconds of a 5-on-4 B’s man advantage. Toronto’s penalty kill, which has been bad in this series — six goals allowed in five games — stepped up and kept the B’s out of the net.
BOTTOM-SIX STEPS UP
Sean Kuraly got the Bruins within two again when he capitalized on a nice cross-crease pass from Matt Grzelcyk. It was Kuraly’s second goal of the playoffs.
A LITTLE LUCK
Noel Acciari pulled the Bruins within one at 4-3 by capitalizing on a fortuitous bounce and jamming the puck past Andersen at 5:56 of the period.
The goal was Acciari’s first of the playoffs and assisted by Torey Krug and Tim Schaller.
The series resumes Monday in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. The start time is TBD.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports