The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, playing a Game 7 at TD Garden to settle a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. We’ve been here before. A couple times.
Before the puck drops on (hopefully solid) Garden ice Tuesday night, you surely can expect to see no shortage of flashbacks to Boston’s historic Game 7 comeback in 2013 and last year’s late-game surge to capture the winner-take-all contest. But the Bruins won’t be counting on history alone to get them through to the second round this year.
Boston is taking nothing for granted, and the B’s know they’ll need a similar effort to their desperate showing in Sunday’s Game 6 — their best of the series by far — if they want to survive, advance and take on the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.
“Nothing matters about the past,” B’s forward Brad Marchand told reporters after Sunday’s win in Toronto. “We’re not going to look at anything that’s happened in the past and expect to play a certain way in the next game and we’re going to play hard. They’re going to play hard. One team’s going to win, one team’s going to lose.”
Despite the historical successes against the Leafs, the Bruins have been far from a sure thing at home in the playoffs with their season on the line. Boston has been eliminated at home in four of its five playoff appearances since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011: a Game 7 loss to Washington in 2012, Game 6 loss to Chicago in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 7 loss to Montreal in 2014 and a Game 6 loss to Ottawa in 2017. If anything from the past is on the minds of the Black and Gold, it should be the lessons learned from those disappointments above anything else — and they’ve seen in this series already that relying too much on home-ice advantage is fallible.
“To be honest, I think it’s probably the only (advantage) is home-ice,” B’s forward Jake DeBrusk said Sunday, “but they’ve already won twice there, so it’s one of those things where you try to forget the past whether it’s this series or last year’s series and understand they’re going to come out with everything they got, and so are we.”
The Bruins certainly could use performances rivaling last year’s Game 7 from both Marchand and DeBrusk, though. The duo combined for three goals and an assist in the B’s 7-4 win over Toronto.
NESN.com’s Michaela Vernava provides Brad Marchand’s thought on the B’s Game 7 success vs. the Leafs in the Xfinity Report video above.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images