Gardiner laments minus-5 Game 7 performance

Friday, 27 Apr, 2018

It was not the ending the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for as they pushed the Boston Bruins as much as they could in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

This time around though the playoffs had hopes of making a deeper postseason run, and almost got out of the first round before another disastrous third period at TD Garden. It was a shock to the system for Leafs fans, to the extent that when Toronto took a 4-1 lead in Game 5 and only surrendered two unanswered goals after that, it was heralded as them putting the past behind them. Brad Marchand flipped one into the empty net with 51 seconds left to set off a celebration in the stands.

"We've got some more work to do", said goalie Frederik Andersen, who stopped 32 of 33 shots in Game 6 on Monday to help Toronto win 3-1 and prolong its season.

Imagine for a second if the Leafs were able to hold on to their 4-3 lead and beat the Bruins. That best-of-seven series starts Saturday afternoon.

Last year, and going to this year, Matthews was the guy, and toward the end, Babcock lost Matthews.

William Nylander had two helpers and Jake Gardener, Mitch Mariner, Roman Polok all had an assist in the game.

The regular season also featured Anders Bjork and Ryan Donato making their marks on the Bruins, who dressed as many as six rookies for some regular-season games. "First he told me to have fun and enjoy this and embrace the challenge. They played well defensively and they forechecked hard, so we needed them". Boston will also have an edge by playing in front of their hometown crowd, especially given that the Bruins had a commanding 28-8-5 regular season record in Boston. "The most important game of the season, I didn't show up".

Beating a team that was just a bit better was always going to be hard for the Leafs, especially if their two most valuable players from the richest regular season in franchise history played just, well, OK.

While the Leafs were disappointed to crash out in the first round after setting franchise highs for points (105) and wins (49), they took a step forward after squeaking into the playoffs last season ahead of schedule in their rebuild. "We play a game that we love and it is a great opportunity and a great challenge and embrace it and have fun".

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Bruins didn't need overtime this time, and they didn't even need all four third-period goals to send the Toronto Maple Leafs home for the summer again.

Another scary moment happened in this game, as Adam McQuaid hustled back to stop a unsafe Toronto chance and crashed hard into the boards.

Game 2: Bruins at Lightning, Monday, April 30 at 7 p.m.

Boston's season might have been on the line, but Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned that pulling Rask wasn't really considered following a dismal second period. Then the second one was kind of one-timer read and then he ends up going back and I didn't see the release. It will all be gravy because we now know just how bright the Bruins' future is for this playoff series and beyond. We were in good position, up by one in the third, and a couple of mistakes cost us. After being scratched in Game 6, Heinen returned in a big way, converting on Rick Nash's pass back into the slot from behind the net.

The Maple Leafs' recipe for success was an easy one. I let a lot of people down. Toronto controlled play and when the Bruins did get the puck into the zone, Freddie Andersen had it covered. "Obviously, you're trying to win the Cup".