GOLD STAR: Frederik Andersen has been the top player in both of Toronto’s playoff wins in this series, so I am beginning to sense a pattern here. If Andersen plays All-World hockey and the Bruins aren’t quite on their game, they are in trouble. If Andersen is off at all or the Bruins are 100 percent on point, the Leafs don’t have much of a chance. This time Andersen stopped 42 shots while Toronto hung on for dear life in the third period and he stopped 19-of-20 shots for a Leafs team that looked like they were leaking oil. But Andersen made a number of stellar stops while standing tall in the crease and Toronto did just enough good things offensively to create enough space to carry them home. If Andersen somehow really gets into a groove in the final couple of games, that might be the only way that Toronto has a chance of still pulling this off against the Bruins.
BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask basked himself in his postgame comments, so I suppose it’s finally okay to criticize him now, right? Rask actually wasn’t terrible in this game with some really bad play in front of him during the first period that led to the first couple of goals, but the third goal allowed to Tyler Bozak is one that he needs to stop just a minute after the Bruins finally got on the board and grabbed some momentum. He was finally pulled after James van Riemsdyk roofed one on him in tight on the power play, and he ended up allowing four goals on 13 shots before getting yanked in the second period. Clearly he wasn’t as good as Andersen and it’s just as clear he wasn’t as good as he was in Game 4 on Thursday night, but Rask ends up becoming the fall guy for a Bruins team that didn’t do enough early in the game to deserve closing it out on home ice. So now they go to Toronto to try and end it in Game 6 on Monday night.
TURNING POINT: The killer goal allowed by the Bruins was the third goal to Tyler Bozak on a long, stretch pass as the Bruins were changing behind the play, and Bozak got a chance in the slot one-on-one against Tuukka Rask. Bozak beat the Bruins goalie with his attempt, the Leads scored less than a minute after David Backes had energized the crowd with Boston’s first goal of the night, and the Bruins continued to chase the game. That’s one of those moments where your big time goalie needs to make a big time save like he did 48 hours ago in Toronto, but it wasn’t meant to be this time around with a chance to close out the Leafs on home ice. Plenty happened before and after that play, but that was the crucial one after a pretty bad first period for the Black and Gold.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give it up for the Bruins fourth line that supplied two of the three goals that they scored, and pushed the team one freak play of tying up the game in the third period. Sean Kuraly scored the first of the two goals on a great shot under the bar after a perfect backhanded dish from Matt Grzelcyk, and then Noel Acciari scored in the third period on a loose puck at the side of the net to push the B’s as close as they would get. In all the fourth line had six shots on net, seven hits and most importantly didn’t get scored on when they were out on the ice. They have enjoyed plenty of games where they’ve done excellent, underrated things for the Bruins this season, so here’s a chance for them to get some of the credit during the playoffs. They bring it every night, but tonight they get the honorable mention.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of career playoff appearances for Anton Khudobin after making his postseason debut in Saturday night’s Game 5 loss. Khudobin ended up stopping all eight shots he faced while the B’s came up just short in the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I probably could have stopped more pucks with my eyes closed. That’s about it. It’s on me.” –Tuukka Rask, on his subpar Game 5 performance where he said he had no problem getting pulled midway through the second period.