Boston Bruins

Fourth liners propel Bruins past Maple Leafs in Game 7

This season, the Toronto Maple Leafs were projected to be loaded after the signing of former New York Islanders star center John Tavares and acquiring defenceman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline, to ignite a potential deep Stanley Cup playoff run.

However, the Boston Bruins had other plans for their postseason.

The Bruins used an early two goal lead to pull out to a 5-1 victory, eliminating the Leafs from future playoff contention.

A wrist shot by fourth-line left winger Joakim Nordstrom ignited the scoring at 14:29 in the first period. Left winger Marcus Johansson would get on the board for his first goal of the playoffs after a faceoff win to make it 2-0 Boston.

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In the second period, Boston continues to attack the net of Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen, but Tavares scored past the right side of Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, off a turnover and Tyler Ennis assist to get the Leafs on the board, 2-1.

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Boston’s fourth line eventually helped extend the Bruin lead nearly three minutes into the third period as forward Sean Kuraly beat the Toronto defense in the defensive zone to make it 3-1 Boston.

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Toronto attempted a late comeback, but two empty net goals by Charlie Coyle and Patrice Bergeron sealed Boston’s 5-1 win and the Maple Leafs’ sixth straight Game 7 loss. The Bruins previously beaten Toronto in another Game 7 dated back in 2013.

Andersen recorded 27 saves off from 30 shots for Toronto and Rask stopped 32 of 33 shots on goal for Boston.

Toronto’s loss leaves Canada with zero teams remaining in the NHL playoffs. The Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

The Bruins will face off against wild-card Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a historic and shocking sweep of President’s Trophy winning and the heavily favored, Tampa Bay Lightning, in four games. Game 1 for the series is set for Thursday in Boston.

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