The NHL redesigned the playoff format in hope of guaranteeing more divisional rivalry matchups, as soon as the first round.
While it has been received with some poor criticism at times, as long as it produces a first-round series like it did between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, the league isn’t going to be in a rush to change it.
Game 7’s, at times, can be something to behold, as legends are made, and all-time classic games are played. Every now and again they don’t live up to the hype of the series that got them to the win-or-go-home game, but when they do, it’s something that people talk about for years.
Wednesday night might be one of those, for so many reasons, as the Bruins defeated their original six rivals the Maple Leafs by the score of 7-4 to advance to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
With the season on the line, it probably wouldn’t have been a surprise to see a little bit of a conservative start to the game, with teams trying their best to not give up the first goal.
That wasn’t the case here, as, by the time they hit the 10-minute mark of the first period, both teams had scored twice, alternating markers with Patrick Marleau scoring both times for the Leafs.
Thinking back to the series now, it has been hard to point out the fact that Jake DeBrusk is just a 20-year-old rookie that is seeing his first bit of Stanley Cup Playoffs action. DeBrusk scored the first goal of the night for the Bruins and later scored the eventual game-winner on one of the most energizing finishes you will see.
With the first period ending, and the game still tied, Patrice Bergeron beat Frederik Andersen to give the Bruins the lead going into intermission.
Auston Matthews was pretty much neutralized in the series, scoring just once and was a -5, so that means other players were going to have to step up if the Maple Leafs had any chance of advancing in the playoffs for the first time since Matthews was seven years old.
After a Travis Dermott goal tied the game, Kasperi Kapanen had an amazing individual effort to outduel Brad Marchand for the puck and then out deked Tuukka Rask, giving the Maple Leafs the lead.
Marchand had been on the ice for a long time and was dead tired, but it was still one of the best-shorthanded efforts you will see, especially in a game like this.
Going into the second intermission, the Leafs found themselves just 20 minutes from advancing. They knew they would have to endure an onslaught from the Bruins, but still couldn’t afford to sit back and try to hang onto the lead.
With a chance to ice the game, the Maple Leafs were outshot 8-0 to open up the third period, with Torey Krug tying the game with a one-timer off the faceoff.
DeBrusk scored the go-ahead goal, with David Pastrnak and Marchand (empty-netter) sealing the game.
With the win, the Bruins will now have to face the Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set to be played on Saturday, with a start time of 3 PM ET. The game will be a nationally televised game on NBC.
How does this rank with other Game 7’s in previous history? Who are some of the players that really stood out in the deciding game? Or didn’t show up that could have made a difference? Let us know in the comment section below.