BOSTON - Perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come. On a night full of frustration and lament, it is the poster child of missed opportunities.
With 7:41 remaining in the second period and the game still scoreless, David Krejci broke in on a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand and ripped a wrister over the left shoulder of Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen.
Unfortunately for the Black & Gold, the post was there to keep Boston off the board.
Krejci eventually found the back of the net with 43 seconds to play, but by then it was far too late. Toronto had already done its damage, putting the Bruins' season on the brink with a 2-1 triumph in Game 5 on Friday night at TD Garden.
"We have to rely on each other and put ourselves in a bubble and do the job. That's the bottom line. Everything is on the line now," said Patrice Bergeron, whose team faces a 3-2 deficit with the series shifting back to Toronto for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.
"Obviously a missed opportunity tonight, but there's not much we can do right now about tonight's game. Now it's about moving forward and be ready to head on the plane tomorrow, and going to Toronto, and be ready for a big game."
Video: Bergeron discusses Game 5 loss
After a defensive duel kept things scoreless for the game's first 51 minutes, Toronto struck first - and second - and didn't look back, notching two goals in a span of 2:12 to open up a 2-0 advantage midway through the third period.
"They made two hell of a plays to score. Great seam passes. We broke down a little bit, shame on us on those," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "At the end of the day, I don't mind the style of the game, being a low-scoring game, because generally that works in our direction, but Toronto's proven in this series that they're getting more comfortable with it. And clearly, they were tonight."
Toronto's first goal did not come without controversy. After Auston Matthews took a Jake Muzzin feed and ripped a one-timer by Tuukka Rask to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead, the Bruins challenged for goaltender interference.
As Muzzin's pass made its way across the slot, it appeared that Zach Hyman made contact with Rask at the top of the crease. But after review, the officials determined that there was no interference on the play.
"I don't know. I just felt the contact, so I went after the ref there, let him know that there was contact," said Rask, who made 25 saves. "They looked at it, so it's a goal. I mean, I just saw him, he had the puck. As soon as he passed it he kind of bumped into my head and then that was it…I mean I trust that they get them right."
Video: Cassidy discusses the 2-1 loss to Toronto
Cassidy wasn't so sure.
"Clearly interferes with Tuukka," said Cassidy. "It goes to Toronto, and they have to make a decision. I just hope they don't predict whether they thought the goalie could make the save, get across in time to determine whether it's interference. It's either interference or it's not.
"From my viewpoint, it certainly looked like goaltender interference. The call didn't go our way. It's 1-0 with eight minutes to go. We have time to get ourselves back in the game and regroup, and unfortunately, we were not able to do that."
The Bruins went to the power play three times in the game's opening 28-plus minutes, giving them three golden opportunities to establish a lead. Boston created decent zone time and looks during the first two advantages, but was unable to capitalize.
"We had some really good looks early on and we have to find ways to put those in," said Bergeron. "And that's something we've been doing all series and we have to keep that going."
The third power play - a Toronto delay of game penalty - at 8:24 of the second was not as smooth, with Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen getting a shorthanded breakaway chance that was ultimately turned aside by Rask.
"[Tuukka] was huge. He played a great game," said Charlie Coyle. "That's the type of goaltending we need from him and we need to help him out. We can't expect him to do it all."
Video: BOS Recap: Krejci scores in Game 5 loss
Sean Kuraly, out since March 21 with a fractured right hand, returned to the lineup, landing two shots on goal in 14:22 of ice time. He won two of four faceoffs.
"I felt all right," said Kuraly. "Obviously, you want to contribute more when you lose and be better when you lose. That'll be the plan for next game. Definitely there was some time off there, and I'd like to be better."
Video: Rask, Coyle, Kuraly and Marchand talk loss