Toronto Maple Leafs Hope To Exorcise Game 7 Ghost Against Bruins

Nazem Kadri

DeBrusk's second goal of the night, a dazzling, risky drive to the net early in the third period, snapped a 4-4 tie and sent the B's to a 7-4 decision over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series at TD Garden. He was on his knees when Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and then center David Krejci sandwiched him in a bear hug.

The B's advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 on Saturday (3 p.m.) at Amalie Arena in Tampa. "We were more consistent, and we were driven". That said, there is one final piece of history of which to be wary: while the team to score first has won almost 75 percent of all Game 7s, the first to score holds a 1-2 record when it comes to Boston and Toronto, and that record would be 0-3 were it not for the 2013 comeback. When the two teams came out for the final 20 minutes, the home team did its best to take pressure of if its netminder. So I was happy for him. "There's not much I can say, really". That's playoff hockey. They weren't freebies.

"It's nice to have those guys", said Boston forward David Pastrnak, who had four goals and five assists in the first two games of the series this year but only two assists since.

BC-HKN-Maple Leafs-Bruins, 1st Ld-Writethru, 446Bruins score 4 in 3rd to beat Maple Leafs 7-4 in Game 7AP Photo MACK114, MACK110, MACK107, MACK105, MACK103, MACK104, MACK106, MACK111, MACK116, MACK112Eds: Bruins 7, Maple Leafs 4.

But the loss of centre Nazem Kadri to a three-game suspension in the opener against Boston, Andersen's suspect play for long stretches, and the inability of Nylander and Auston Matthews to ever really get going cost Toronto. Danton Heinen, Bergeron and Marchand scored the other Bruins goals.

But DeBrusk established that he could be a player for the Bruins to lean on. But there is little doubt this game hinges on just how well Andersen can perform. Between the two, they only had two points in the first two games - both coming from Marner.

Over the course of his two pro seasons, he's learned how best to use his speed and his 6-foot, 188-pound frame to score and be a menace in the attacking zone when he's not scoring.

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A fired-up Krug skated past the Bruins bench, but Krug's "Let's Go!" exhortation was not the first message delivered among Bruins teammates on this night. So that's always the first thing. That's playoff hockey, it's a little more hard to get there.

The Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs in an exhilarating fashion, carrying over an impressive regular season of puck-hogging play.

You would never have known Jake DeBrusk was in unfamiliar territory.

But it was a message echoed by the Boston Bruins for days ahead of their Game 7 matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

DeBrusk responded like a veteran, and the Bruins are advancing to the second round of the playoffs largely because of that. DeBrusk has made fast friends on. The Raptors got control of Jurassic Park that night, as MLSE had decided the team playing at home would get exclusive use of the square in the event of a conflict.

"I thought the first half of the series, it probably wasn't good enough", Matthews said of his performance. "We just could not hold the leads we had".

"Lots of things. I think we had our leaders talk in the room here, I think they talked about past experiences and how we don't want to break up this group we have a special group in here", DeBrusk said. There's no time to not feel confident now and I just want to do anything I can to help the team. Toronto had its moments, and fought gamely, but it would have been an upset had they pulled it off. Boston broke the tie at the 5:25 mark when Jake DeBrusk took off and Gardiner turned at the wrong time, and only hit DeBrusk after he had already released the puck. But that didn't matter because instead he was leading them into the second round.

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