Game 7 of the first round matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins was stressful for both fanbases throughout the night — it was a back-and-forth, fast-paced, goal-happy affair that had everyone on the edge of their seats all night. It was also the type of game that fans with no rooting interest could watch with glee, a classic NHL playoffs battle.
The Bruins took the final game of the series 7-4 with an empty net goal sealing the deal with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. They’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round, and avoided what would have been a shocking first-round loss for a team that has looked like it has at least a shot at hoisting the Stanley Cup in a few weeks time.
The first period set the tone for the rest of the game with five goals scored between the two teams in the first frame alone. Four of those came before the 10-minute mark of the period.
Leafs veteran Patrick Marleau scored two goals, with Boston’s goals coming from Patrice Bergeron, Danton Heinen, and the 21-year old rookie Jake DeBrusk. David Krejci came through for the black and gold with two assists and the Bruins headed into the second period up 3-2.
Patrick Marleau scores his second goal of Game 7 just six and a half minutes in, 2-1 Leafs pic.twitter.com/Ht5EJQcsoM— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 25, 2018
But the Leafs, to their credit, and in a manner that they have shown throughout the series, refused to give up. They took the lead back at the end of the second thanks to a goal each from Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen and goalkeeper Freddie Anderson blanking the Bruins in the period.
Heading into the third with the lead ricocheting back and forth like that, it felt like anything could happen. The Bruins didn’t let the Leafs score another goal though, with Torey Krug tying it up only a minute into the period. That was followed by another DeBrusk goal for the lead, a David Pastrnak goal for the insurance, and the Brad Marchand empty netter to truly seal things.
It was another tough playoff loss for Toronto, who hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004. Forcing a talented Bruins team to a Game 7 and putting some fear into them throughout this series was admirable and proved that the Leafs are capable of doing more, but that wasn’t to be this season.
Bruins-Lightning will kick off in a few days, but the current day and time of Game 1 in that series has yet to be released.