BOSTON — The Boston Bruins scored four goals in the third period of a 7-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round at TD Garden on Wednesday.
The Bruins will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. Game 1 is at Tampa on Saturday.
It’s the first time Boston advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2014.
The Bruins, who lost Games 5 and 6, trailed by one goal three times, including 4-3 entering the third period.
“That was one of the most incredible games I’ve ever been a part of,” said forward Brad Marchand, who scored into an empty net to make it 7-4 with 51 seconds remaining. “It was so back and forth, the intensity from the crowd and the emotion was a lot of fun to be a part of. But even after they got the lead a couple times … we knew that we have the resiliency in the room to continue to come back.”
After Torey Krug tied it 4-4 at 1:10, Jake DeBrusk scored his second goal of the game, at 4-on-4, to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead at 5:25. DeBrusk kept the puck on his hip and then beat goalie Frederik Andersenwith a wrist shot just before defenseman Jake Gardiner hit him.
“I don’t get out there 4-on-4 that much, so I just wanted to take it to the net and I kind of caught I think their defenseman off guard right away with just my speed,” DeBrusk said. “And then I tried to make a move and actually tried to raise it, and I didn’t even see it go in, I just heard the crowd go pretty nuts. It was a very special feeling, especially making it 5-4 at that point.”
Patrick Marleau scored two goals, and Andersen made 29 saves for the Maple Leafs, who were eliminated in the first round for the second straight year and have not advanced in the playoffs since 2004.
“It [stinks],” Toronto center Nazem Kadri said. “But you have to take the positives out of it. We would have loved to have advanced, but I think for the future we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with and we will be back in this situation.”
Marleau scored his first goal during a power play 2:05 into the game to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead. He tipped Jake Gardiner’s shot past Rask from the slot.
DeBrusk scored on the power play to tie it 1-1 at 4:47 when he redirected Pastrnak’s pass, but Marleau beat Rask with a one-timer from the bottom of the right face-off circle to give the Maple Leafs a 2- 1 lead at 6:12.
Danton Heinen scored with a wrist shot from the high slot at 9:10 to get the Bruins back even 2-2, and Bergeron scored to give Boston a 3-2 lead with 37 seconds left in the first after Kevan Miller‘s shot from the right point caromed off the end boards to him to the left of the net.
Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott scored at 2:07 of the second period on a wrist shot from the left circle that hit Miller’s stick to tie it 3-3.
Kasperi Kapanen shed Marchand’s backcheck at the Bruins blue line and then beat Rask shorthanded at 6:05 for a 4-3 Toronto lead.
“At the start of the series, if you’d have told me we were playing Boston and it’d be like this and we’d be right here going into the third period, I would’ve taken that all day long,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said.
Goal of the game
DeBrusk’s goal at 5:25 of the third period
Save of the game
Rask stopping Auston Matthews at 18:12 of the third period
Highlight of the game
Krug’s goal at 1:10 of the third period
They said it
“There’s no real explanation. I felt fine. It just seemed like everything I was doing ended up in the back of the net.” — Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, who was minus-5
“Yeah, it’s huge. It’s a momentum shift, for sure. You know we didn’t care how long it took, but eventually we were going to get it. It was a big play and we kept it going, foot on the gas pedal.” — Bruins defenseman Torey Krug on his game-tying goal
Need to know
Boston is 14-12 in Game 7 in its history. Toronto is 12-11. … The Maple Leafs are 1-15 in series they trailed 3-1. Their only win was the 1942 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings; they trailed that series 3-0. … It was the first time all season Toronto allowed four goals in the third period. … DeBrusk had seven points (five goals, two assists) in his first NHL playoff series. … Krug leads NHL defensemen with nine points (two goals, seven assists).
Maple Leafs: Season over
Bruins: Game 1 of Eastern Conference Second Round at Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS)
Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
This article brought to you by by NHL.com/ Matt Kalman correspondent. View original article HERE.