May 25, 2024

Boston Bruins rally, defeat Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7


BOSTON — David Pastrnak scored on a feed from Hampus Lindholm 1:54 into overtime and the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 on Saturday night to clinch their NHL first-round series and advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Jeremy Swayman finished with 30 saves and Lindholm had the tying goal in regulation to help the Bruins avoid losing their second straight first-round series after holding a 3-1 lead. They have now defeated the rival Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs three times in the past seven years.

After a loss in Game 6, Boston coach Jim Montgomery told reporters the club needed more from Pastrnak, and the right wing delivered. He ended up with four shots on net across 30 shifts and 21:21 of ice time.

“I thought he was dynamic tonight,” Montgomery said. “I thought he had his most possession time, he was creating shots, he was taking what was available.”

Boston will meet the Florida Panthers, who upset the Bruins in seven games in the first round last year and spoiled a season in which they posted records for the most wins and points in a season in NHL history. Game 1 is set for Monday night in Florida. The Panthers have been resting since Tuesday, when they eliminated Tampa Bay in five games.

William Nylander scored and Auston Matthews had an assist in his return from a two-game absence for the Maple Leafs, who are now 0-6 in Game 7s since the 2013 conference quarterfinals. They are 0-4 on the road in those games — all in Boston. Matthews missed Games 5 and 6 with an undisclosed ailment.

Matthews opened the game on Toronto’s third line before rejoining the first line in time for the Maple Leafs’ lone goal. He finished with 24 shifts and 17:35 time on the ice.

Ilya Samsonov started in goal for the Leafs for the first time since Game 4 and finished with 29 saves.

“Obviously, not moving on, not getting the result we want is extremely difficult,” Toronto captain John Tavares said. “With the type of team that we have, and the type of character that’s in here, and just the belief in this locker room, I’m very proud. We stuck with it and gave ourselves a chance.”

Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe concurred.

“Loved how our team fought to put us in the position to compete and play in this game, have a chance to be one shot away,” he said. “Obviously, you reflect on the series, we don’t love the hole we dug ourselves, and it’s a big reason why we’re here. Love the fight of our team.”

Pastrnak ended with three goals in the series, and he will now face a second-round opponent against whom he scored five times last postseason.

“Huge moment, obviously,” Pastrnak said of Saturday’s winner. “You could say a little relief, as well.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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