The Toronto Maple Leafs, much like the New York Islanders, are in the honeymoon, just-happy-to-be-here phase of their playoff participation. No one gave them much of a shot to beat the higher-seeded Boston Bruins, and it looked early on like those predictions were going to be correct. The Leafs, however, have hung around and surprisingly took Game 5 on the road at TD Garden to force a Game 6 back in Toronto on Sunday night.
For Toronto, it was almost entirely the James Reimer show on Friday night. He made 43 saves on 44 shots and almost single-handedly stole them Game 6. He showed, once and for all, that he is the starting goaltender on this team. To think they/the media wanted to trade for a replacement literally weeks and months ago.
Boston was not only frustrated by Reimer, they also saw some key bounces go their opponents' way in Game 5. For whatever reason (bad ice, snakebitten, not getting good enough chances) they were just stumped on Friday night. The Bruins have to find their scoring touch again in Game 6, or go home for a Game 7 that literally nobody in Boston wants to deal with about 21 hours after Game 6. That would be... the less advisable path to take, to say the least.
Can the Leafs finally win a home game?
Funny how home ice works sometimes. The Leafs were 13-8-3 at Air Canada Centre this season — not great, but still decent enough. They've failed to beat the Bruins either time they've hosted a game in this series. Since the next two games are must-win, it's rather imperative that they start using home ice and the boisterous crowd to their advantage. Otherwise... well, you get the point.
Does James Reimer's remarkable run continue?
Of the four goaltenders remaining in the playoffs that are currently losing or tied in a series, James Reimer has the best save percentage at .928. His remarkable performance in Game 5 on Friday would already be the capper to a great, if injury-plagued, season in which Reimer captured the starting goaltending job in Toronto for good. A Game 6 win... well they'd probably be ready to start naming stuff after him up in Toronto.
Who steps up and gets a big goal for Boston?
Outside of David Krejci and Nathan Horton, the only other Bruin in this series with multiple goals is Johnny Boychuk. While they could just continue to ride Krejci and Horton, the Bruins really could use a big offensive game out of somebody else. A Jaromir Jagr, or a Milan Lucic, or a Patrice Bergeron, perhaps? Boston is loaded with offensive talent, but they really have to start putting it all together soon.
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
National TV: CBC, NBC Sports Network
Boston TV: NESN