When facing elimination, your next game has to be your best game. That certainly was the case for the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
The B’s were staring down elimination against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series, and they answered the bell.
The Bruins got key performances from its best players, something that has been missing for stretches of the series, and battled out a 4-2 Game 6 win at Scotiabank Arena.
All in all, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said it was Boston’s best effort thus far.
“To me it’s the best game we’ve played. I thought in Game 2 we were very good, I think it was an ornery response from a … just not a typical Bruins Game 1 playoff,” Cassidy said, referring to Boston’s 4-1 win in Game 2, on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Today was more the way we wanted it. We wanted to keep pucks alive with our (defense). I thought we were attacking the net better, just more overall of our identity.”
“We typically do have the shot advantage, we’re able to do that and force teams to breakaway and change and we regroup and attack,” he added. “Obviously, we’re desperate. This is the kind of thing we talked about yesterday, trying to hit our ceiling. As a coach you’re always looking for that. We got as close to it as I’ve seen in a long time.”
It certainly was the kind of desperation the Bruins had to play with, outshooting Toronto 41-24. Cassidy will be expecting a similar performance from his team in Game 7 on Tuesday.
Here are some more notes from Sunday’s Bruins-Maple Leafs game:
— It was a particularly solid afternoon for Boston’s defensemen, with Charlie McAvoy (24:06), Brandon Carlo (23:41) and Zdeno Chara (22:35) logging crucial minutes.
Chara was key, particularly in shutting down John Tavares.
On the opposite end of the ice, Torey Krug got on the board with his first goal of the postseason, and led the team with nine shots, six of them coming at even strength.
— Special teams came up massive for the Bruins.
Boston converted on both of their power play chances of the game, with each coming in the opening 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Boston killed off all three of its penalties.
The Bruins’ power play now has converted on 43.8 percent of its chances, while the penalty got a much-needed boost, bumping up to 78.6 percent.
— Tuukka Rask by far was the less active of the two goaltenders on Sunday compared to Frederik Andersen’s 37 saves, but delivered when needed for the Bruins.
Rask put up 22 saves, and weathered the third-period frenzy after the Leafs made it a one-goal game on an Auston Matthews laser.
— The Leafs and Bruins have headed to seven games in each of the their last three postseason series against one another.
Boston rallied off a 6-4 win in last year’s first-round matchup, and famously came back from down 4-1 in 2013 to win Game 7. Both of those games took place at TD Garden, which will host Game 7 on Tuesday. Of course, Toronto already has taken two games in Boston in this series.
So, the Bruins are not banking on the Garden ghosts helping them out.
“They are going to come hard, they’ve played hard in our building so far in this series,” Brad Marchand told reporters on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Nothing matters about the past. We’re not going to look at anything that’s happened in the past. We’re going to play hard, they’re going to play hard. One team is going to win. One team is going to lose.
— Boston is 5-2 over it’s last three Game 7’s dating back to 2010.
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images