BOSTON — The Boston Bruins are moving on thanks in large part to their bottom six players.
Joakim Nordstrom, Marcus Johansson and Sean Kuraly all scored in Boston’s 5-1 Game 7 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, clinching the Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round matchup. Charlie Coyle also picked up an empty-net tally, while Kuraly, Nordstrom and Noel Acciari added assists in the victory.
Secondary scoring was something the B’s struggled with much of the regular season while Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand put up consistent numbers game in and game out. Head coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned several times over the course of the 82 games that he needed other guys to step up — and he got just that in Game 7.
“Terrific,” Cassidy said when asked Tuesday his thoughts on the bottom six. “That’s why they’re in the lineup. I think we’ve got a lot of good (lineup) choices. Very difficult to tell a couple guys that weren’t playing they weren’t gonna. … We felt we needed a certain type of lineup to beat Toronto. We finally found it late in the series. … A guy like Nordstrom’s a huge part of that, (Karson) Kuhlman, Kuraly, obviously.”
Cassidy also noted one thing that helped Boston beat Toronto and continue its season.
“The odd thing about this series for us was we actually got healthier as the series went on,” he said. “Usually in the playoffs it’s the opposite. … I think that helped us a lot.”
The fairly healthy Bruins now quickly shift their focus to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who invade Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 7:
— Tuesday marked Zdeno Chara’s 13th career Game 7, which ties an NHL record. The 42-year-old joins Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens atop the list.
— Boston did not have a power play for the entirety of the game. The Maple Leafs had one, which the Bruins killed.
— There was plenty of support from other Boston teams Tuesday night.
Julian Edelman served as the honorary banner captain, and was shown with David Andrews and Patrick Chung. The Celtics also were present, with Brad Stevens, among others, cheering on the Bruins.
Cassidy was a big fan of all of the support.
“Julian Edelman chugging a beer was awesome!” Cassidy said.
— Tuukka Rask was stellar in net, and Cassidy referred to him as the team’s “best player” of the night.
The netminder turned away 32 shots and made some huge saves to hold the Leafs to just one goal.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images