BOSTON, MA – The Bruins put forth a furious rally in the third period of Friday night’s Game 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden. Trailing, 2-0, heading into final frame, the Bruins swarmed the Leafs' end, outshooting Toronto 19-4 in the process, and cutting the lead in half with a Zdeno Chara wrister at 11:12.
It was too little too late, however, as the B’s fell 2-1, sending the series back to Toronto for Game 6 on Sunday night when, once again, the Black & Gold will attempt to eliminate the Leafs.
“The killer instinct, for me, would be to play three periods like we did in the third period. We’re very capable of doing that,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien following the game, when asked how the Bruins can develop a killer instinct between now and Sunday. “This morning’s skate we had good legs, we had lots of energy, so there’s no reason for our team not to have that to start the game, which we didn’t.
“Again, this is something that we have to take the blame for, it’s of our own doing. They were a desperate team, it showed at the beginning of the game and we were down 2-0 and, all of a sudden, we became the desperate team. Hopefully it doesn’t take the score to make a team desperate and that’s what we have to understand.”
The Bruins will be looking to bring the momentum they built in the third period into Game 6. They had the Leafs on their heels for much of the final 20 minutes as they tried to complete a comeback and take the series.
The line of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, and Jaromir Jagr had a spirited shift midway through the period that got the Bruins going. They fired shot after shot at Leafs goalie James Reimer, but in what ended up being the theme of the night, had four attempts blocked – three by Leafs defenseman Ryan O’Byrne. For the game, Toronto blocked 27 shots.
“It’s important in playoffs,” said Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle of blocking shots. “Everybody teaches the same thing – if you’re going through the shooting lane you better be prepared to sacrifice. And I’ve used that term ‘20%,’ that you’ve got to be 20% more committed in a lot of areas when it comes to playoff time, and shot blocking is a huge area.
“The blocking of the shots takes courage, and there’s nobody in this building or in this room that would like to put a pair of skates on and some equipment and go stand in front of [Zdeno] Chara shooting the puck. It takes courage to get in those shooting lanes, but you have to be able to have the people that are prepared to do it night in and night out and that’s what the playoffs are and that separates people.”
The shots that did get through – 44 to be exact – found Reimer, or rather, he found the shots. Reimer had his best game of the series, gobbling up everything that came his way.
“He was great tonight,” said Toronto defenseman Cody Franson of Reimer. “You can’t ask for any more from a goaltender than what he gave us tonight. He was unbelievable, he made a lot of big saves at key times for us and we are coming out of here with a win because of him.”
The Leafs are happy that they are headed home for another win-or-go-home situation. But Carlyle (making Jack Edwards proud) thinks his team may have poked the bear a bit, and is expecting the Bruins to come out hungry on Sunday.
“I think that we have to really make sure that our preparation is proper,” said the Leafs coach on what his team must do to win Game 6. “We’ve already spoken to them about that after the game and made sure that we do the right things between now and the faceoff on Sunday night.
“It’s of vast importance that we take care of every little thing that we can physically, and mentally might be just as difficult, because we were in a situation where we had to win a game on the road and now we’re going back home.
“I’m sure that we’ve poked the Bruins. And they’re going to be a very desperate hockey club come Sunday night, and we’ve got to be equally as desperate.”
What’s the Bruins' mindset after the loss?
“It’s the playoffs. You can’t be sitting on your wins or your losses,” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara. “You’ve got to move on.”