On a night that Toronto failed to end its clash in the first round, c Boston Bruins forced game 7. It seems like a bad omen for the blue and whites, but fortunately for the faithful of Maple Leafs, the enduring return of B came not against the Canadian club, but against Canes.
For the sixth consecutive game Bruins and Hurricanes Carolina gathered for the shelling, Boston’s victory on Thursday night marked the fifth time in six games that the winning passes led to five points.
Another constant in this series so far: the ongoing battle between Brad Marchand (cut Boston as a whole) and Tony DeAngelo.
In the first minute of the second period of Game 6, Marchand again defeated the defender of Canes, DeAngelo opened the lane with an incorrect timely change, and the Bruins used him with a decisive goal by Marchand. This was the first time in this series that “B” managed to score the first goal of the match. Carolina could not recover, the Bruins never gave up their lead and eventually ended the evening with a 5-2 victory.
And who else would it be for Boston?
Marchand’s goal in Match 6 was his 10th in a match in which the Bruins faced elimination, now franchise record for the club Original Six. Simply put, no other Bruin has been as strong when the short season is online. It was also the 49th playoff goal of his career, tying him with longtime teammate Patrice Bergeron for the second-longest in the team’s history, just a handful behind all-time leader Cam Neely.
This is a missed opportunity for the team of Rod Brind’Amour. But given how the pendulum of this series has swung so far, the Canes seem to have a decent enough chance to close it – in each of the first six games, the hosts won every time. Match 7 is on Saturday in Raleigh.
Entering this series, Wild may seem to have an advantage, the club finished with a better record in the regular season and hosted the best player in this match of the first round: Kiril Kaprizov, who finished the year with the fifth-most goals ( 47) and points (108) in the league.
But those blues came into the spring with the kind of team that could make more noise than most had bet on, bringing a combination of veterans who helped them raise silver a few years ago and a new identity based on high-octane disruption.
These are not the blues we knew. In 2019, when they reached the top of the Cup, St. Lewis entered the postseason with the second fewest goals of a league match. This time they came in third. This is maintained in the playoffs, as the Blues finished their first series with the fifth most goals per game among the 16 teams that are fighting so far.
It is to GM Doug Armstrong’s credit that he knew exactly what his team needed in the off-season.
In an effort to support the left side of his blue line, Armstrong came out and added veteran defender Nick Lady in a five-man deal in March. On Thursday night, the most important game of their season so far, the move came when the Lady lifted the puck into her own zone late in the first period, threw the ice calmly and shot one of the top left circles to break the dead end. giving to St. Luis took the lead 1-0.
For all time, the Blues are 22-8 when they score first in a clinch match in a series. They added to the total on Thursday night after turning Wild 5-1.
The big boys of the blues were also crucial in this series. With five goals each in the first round, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron became the first trio of teammates to score more than five goals in a series since 1991, when the Montreal Canadiens had three players to achieve the feat. .
But the road ahead is much harder now, with the well-restored Colorado Avelanche.
MCAVOY, LINDHOLM KEEP YOUR SCAR
It was a tumultuous series for the top pair in defense of the Bruins, Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm.
Between some up and down performances, a brutal check that took Lindholm out of the series early, and a clash with COVID-19 protocols that removed McAvoy for a spell, it was a whirlwind for head coach Bruce Cassidy’s blue line.
But on Thursday night, everything looked fine when the team needed him most.
Clean to return, Lindholm looked great for the Black and Golds, playing over 24 minutes and bringing some calm to the club’s powerful game, which came early to help increase B’s lead in the second period. Think of it as another crucial deadline that will increase in these playoffs.
“He was such a great player for us,” Charlie Coyle of Boston told Lindholm after the game. “How balanced he is with the puck, the way he can defend. Exit, enter their zone and go this way, do these games. He does some plays where you sit on the bench and you don’t even see him. He sees it while he has the stick on the stick and bodies in front of him. It makes it look easy. ”
McAvoy was flying too.
After returning to the lineup in the last game, just to see his club roll and get on the ropes, No. 73 was all over the ice in this one, throwing his weight (including a controversial hit of Sebastian Aho of Carolina) and makes a fantastic game of the eventual winner in the game:
GAME 7 FOR EVERYONE
After the 2021 season, two series of the first round reached the limit of seven games. This year’s playoffs have already surpassed that, with Tampa Bay, Boston and Edmonton imposing match 7 on Thursday night.
And we’re not even ready yet. With Flames-Stars, Panthers-Capitals and Penguins-Rangers currently 3-2, we could still see three more potential Game 7s coming our way before this first round is over.
If Dallas, Washington and New York manage to bring out the kind of theater that teams made on Thursday night, the 2022 playoffs could match the NHL record for “do or die” tilts: most games 7 ever seen in one playoff round, there were six, in 1992 – this was the last time five more Game 7s were seen in any round.
If even one of the next three teams wins Game 7, we are still looking at one of the most exciting rounds in more than a decade, as the 2011 playoffs were the last to include four clashes in Game 7.
Set off the fireworks.