NHL

Just one goalie stands between Tuukka Rask and this Bruins playoff record

Just one goalie stands between Tuukka Rask and this Bruins playoff record

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask withstood a furious Toronto Maple Leafs comeback attempt Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena as the Boston Bruins held on for a 6-4 win in Game 4 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

Rask made 38 saves on 42 shots overall to help the Bruins even the series at two wins apiece entering Friday night's pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden.

The victory was the 37th in Rask's postseason career, moving him ahead of Andy Moog for second place among goalies in Bruins history.

Gerry Cheevers holds the Bruins record with 53 playoff victories. Rask could get as high as 51 wins if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup and he starts each game. 

Here's the top five as of Thursday:

Gerry Cheevers - 53
Tuukka Rask - 37
Andy Moog - 36
Frank Brimsek - 32
Tim Thomas - 29

Rask has posted a solid .921 save percentage through four games versus the Leafs. Toronto tallied 47 scoring chances and 14 high-danger scoring chances in Game 4, per Natural Stat Trick, but Rask stood tall in net to help Boston avoid a 3-1 series deficit. 

Sean Kuraly could return for Bruins in Game 5>>>

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Sean Kuraly will be game-time decision for Bruins-Leafs Game 5

Sean Kuraly will be game-time decision for Bruins-Leafs Game 5

The Boston Bruins could get some much-needed reinforcements for their bottom-six forward group in Game 5 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Veteran winger Sean Kuraly, who has not played since March after undergoing surgery for a broken hand, will be a game-time decision for Friday's pivotal matchup at TD Garden.

As noted above, the fourth line hasn't played well for Boston in this series, whether you're looking at scoring production, puck possession or most anything else.

Kuraly tallied 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 71 regular-season games for the B's. In addition to his offense, he also provides a smart, responsible two-way presence on the ice that B's head coach Bruce Cassidy can trust. Kuraly notched four points (two goals, two assists) in Boston's 12 playoff games last year. 

The Bruins and Leafs are tied at two wins apiece entering Game 5. Boston earned a 6-4 Game 4 win Wednesday night in Toronto to avoid a 3-1 hole.

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How much of an advantage is winning Game 5 for Bruins? Here's what NHL history says

How much of an advantage is winning Game 5 for Bruins? Here's what NHL history says

The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will play Game 5 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series Friday night at TD Garden, and while taking a 3-2 lead is no guarantee of advancing to the next round, history does paint a good picture for the victor.

Just how pivotal is a Game 5 triumph? Well, more than 75 percent of Game 5 winners ultimately emerge victorious in the series.

Here's a look at the six times this decade the Bruins have entered a Game 5 of a playoff series tied at two wins apiece.

2014 Eastern Conference semifinals: Won Game 5 vs. Montreal Canadiens, lost series in Game 7
2013 Stanley Cup Final: Lost Game 5 at Chicago Blackhawks, lost series in Game 6
2012 First Round: Lost Game 5 vs. Washingtoon Capitals, lost series in Game 7
2011 Stanley Cup Final: Lost Game 5 at Vancouver Canucks, won series in Game 7
2011 Eastern Conference finals: Won Game 5 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, won series in Game 7
2011 First Round: Won Game 5 vs. Montreal Canadiens, won series in Game 7

To recap, it's been a while since the Bruins were tied 2-2 in a playoff matchup, and their last series win in this scenario came in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins have several members from that 2011 championship team on this season's roster, including captain Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. The Leafs don't have anywhere near the  same playoff experience as the B's -- defenseman Jake Muzzin is the only Toronto player with a Stanley Cup ring.

Working in the Bruins' favor in this series against the Leafs is Game 5 and Game 7 (if necessary) will be played in Boston, where the B's have fared well in both the regular season and playoffs. In fact, Boston's last two Game 7 wins came against the Leafs at the Garden in the 2013 and 2018 first round. 

Sean Kuraly could return for Bruins in Game 5>>>

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