Just as he did in Game 3 in Toronto when he stopped 40 of 42 Bruins’ shots in a 4-2 win, Maple Leafs goalie Freddie Andersen was superhuman again in Game 5, stopping 42 of Boston’s 45 shots on net in a 4-3 win that cut the Bruins’ series lead to 3-2 and forced a Game 6 Monday (7 PM ET) back in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.
After his team jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Connor Brown and Andres Johnsson, stifled the Bruins every time they started to gain momentum and erased any visions of a Boston comeback. Toronto also got goals from Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk.
The Bruins, despite their 45 shots and six power plays could not solve Andersen and were only able to beat him three times on goals by David Backes (on the power play), Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari.
1.) The Swede Wins Round 3
The last three games of this Eastern Conference quarterfinals series have been a battle within the battle featuring the Swede Andersen against the Finn Tuukka Rask. Any hockey fan knows that Sweden and Finland are one fo the best rivalries in international hockey and both Rask and Andersen are trading punches with Andersen taking Games 3 and 5 and Rask taking Game 4 when he made 31 saves, many of them on odd-man rushes by the Leafs. Saturday was clearly not Rask’s night and he admitted as much, owning his mistakes after Game 5.
Like Rask in Game 4, Andersen was there for his teammates make timely save after timely save and squashing any visions of the Bruins coming back from 4-1 down like they did in Game 7 in their 2013 quarterfinals series with the Leafs. His biggest was probably right after the Bruins had made it 4-3 and he was able to slide across for a pad save on David Pastrnak.
What a save by Freddy. pic.twitter.com/o1fOR0PDQP
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) April 22, 2018
2.) Power Outage For Bruins
You can’t blame the refs for this loss if your the Bruins or a Bruins fan. The Bruins had six power plays – including a 94-second 5-on-3 – and were only able to muster one goal on the man advantage when Backes scored 9:45 into the second period. Other than that it was a collection of posts, missed shots and more gems from Andersen like this one on Brad Marchand:
Big save by Freddy and the reaction from the Box Boys pic.twitter.com/FUvYy6oPkB
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) April 22, 2018
3.) Bruins’ Top Line Struggling
The Bruins top trio of Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Pastrnak has now been held pointless in the last two out of three games in the series and ironically both came with Bergeron in the lineup. In the humble opinion of this hockey scribe, Bergeron is still laboring from his upper body injury and just not himself, but whatever the situation the Leafs have found a way to shut arguably the best line in the NHL down in two games now. Marchand had plenty of chances but only two shots as he whiffed on the others. Meanwhile, Pastrnak had a game-high ten shots but failed to beat Andersen and light the lamp. Besides Andersen, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly deserves loads of credit and may have been Toronto’s second best player for the way he has smothered the B’s best line.
4.) Bruins Second Line Needs To Pick Up The Slack
When the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line struggles as it has in Games 3 and 5, the Bruins second line of Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Rick Nash needs to step it up. Krejci and DeBrusk connected on a huge goal to seal the deal in Game 4, but like Game 3, this line could not convert their chances and simply didn’t seem to have that extra gear the Bruins so desperately needed in Game 5. Nash is really struggling right now as he continues to hit the post or miss the net all together. Whether that’s him pressing too much and gripping the stick tonight or him not positioning himself correctly, it needs to be corrected ASAP!
5.) Energy Line Was Bruins’ Best Line in Game 5
Ironically it was the energy line of Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari that had the best night for the Bruins in Game 5. Kuraly scored his second of the playoffs, Acciari had a goal and an assist and Schaller had a helper too. Their energy unfortunately wasn’t contagious enough in the opening period.
Sean Kuraly with the one-timer!
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 22, 2018
6.) With Bergeron Returning, Riley Nash Goes Back To Third Line
With Bergeron back in the lineup after missing Game 4, the Bruins’ forward lines were back to normal. Bergeron was in his usual spot on the top line centering Marchand and Pastrnak and Riley Nash wwas back with his running mates, David Backes and Danton Heinen flanking him. Here’s what the forward lines and defensive pairings looked like in Game 5: