BOSTON -- This one's going back to Toronto.
Even though the Bruins had plenty of late scoring chances on Friday night at the TD Garden, the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 2-1 in Game 5, forcing a Game 6 on Sunday in Toronto with Boston leading the series 3-2.
Clarke MacArthur tested the Bruins' will to win in the opening minutes of the third period when he beat Nathan Horton to an imperfect pass from Johnny Boychuk up the right boards in the neutral zone. Boychuk sent the pass off the boards to Horton, but it bounced too far ahead of him.
MacArthur seemed to want the loose puck more than Horton, and he won the race, skated it down the left wing, all the way around Boychuk, and cut across the top of the crease, sliding the puck into the net for the 2-0 lead, just 1:58 into the third.
Zdeno Chara gave the Garden some life, as he sniped top-left from the high slot, finishing a ferocious shift from Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, and Chara. Seidenberg pinched up the right wall and got the puck to Krejci in the right corner, who sent a perfect pass out to Chara in the high slot, who buried it, cutting Toronto's lead to 2-1.
But it wasn't enough.
The B's had several major scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the game with the goalie pulled, but James Reimer robbed Jaromir Jagr, and Tyler Seguin hit the post with a laser from the left point with four seconds left.
The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead into that third period, thanks to a Tyler Bozak shorthanded goal with 8:33 left in the second and 36 seconds left on a Bruins 5-on-4 power play.
Bozak created an Andrew Ference turnover at the right point, as Ference received a loose puck up the boards and tried to make a play across the blue line. But Bozak kept a good stick and forced Ference to cough it up into the neutral zone.
From there, Bozak beat Ference to the puck and came in all alone, sliding it through the pads of Tuukka Rask for the first goal of the game.
GOLD STAR: James Reimer finished with 43 saves, and had his best game of the series while making sure that the series returned to the Air Canada Centre for at least one more game. The Maple Leafs netminder still allowed some rebounds and didn’t inspire confidence early in the game, but his stop on Patrice Bergeron hanging on the doorstep in the second period was as good as they come. He also managed to get the shaft of his stick on a Jaromir Jagr shot in the final minute that looked destined to be the game-tying goal that would sent things into overtime. In a series where Tuukka Rask has outplayed Reimer, it was the opposite of that in Game 5.
BLACK EYE: Zero shots and little presence from Brad Marchand in 16:06 of ice time in a game where the Patrice Bergeron line finally needed to step up and start filling in with some production. Marchand had a brief exchange with Joffrey Lupul, absorbed a couple of hard hits and then seemed to stay away from the fray for the rest of a game with little emotional pushback from the Black and Gold. He certainly wasn’t the only player that wasn’t ready for heavy lifting in Game 5 against the Maple Leafs, but Marchand has now gone through the first five playoff games without scoring. He was also on the ice for Tyler Bozak’s shorthanded goal that originally put Boston on their heels.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins simply didn’t look ready to play as they rolled out for the first period, and were out-shot by a 19-8 margin by a Toronto team armed and ready for on-ice warfare. Quite simply the Bruins were never ready to match their desperation. The Bruins didn’t seem at all interested in matching Toronto’s compete level until it was nearly too late in the third period, and by that point they simply didn’t get the bounce. The B’s probably should have been down by two or three goals in the first period, but Tuukka Rask saved their bacon until Tyler Bozak’s shorthanded score.
HONORABLE MENTOION: Eight shots on net and a goal for Zdeno Chara in 28:06 of ice time in a game where he was engaged emotionally, and scored Boston’s only goal in the third period off a nice look from David Krejci. Chara also fought off a number of Leafs attackers when they attempted to gang tackle him in front of the net in the second period. It was a nice rebound performance for Chara, who didn’t have a very good effort against the Toronto in Game 4’s overtime win.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3-7 – the Bruins’ record in non-Game 7 elimination games under Claude Julien where they have a chance to close out an opponent.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It seems like we don't ever like things the easy way. We always need things tight, and then we have to work for it.” –Dennis Seidenberg about the missed opportunities to close out Toronto in Game 5.
With contributions from Joe Haggerty.