A whirlwind of a Game 7 between the Maple Leafs and the Bruins was slowly but surely taken over by the home team, as Boston reversed a two-game losing streak and erased multiple deficits to beat Toronto 7-4 and win their first-round series.
The game’s first 10 minutes were heart-stoppingly good, as both teams traded a pair of goals for an almost-immediate 2-2 tie. 38-year-old Patrick Marleau scored both of those Maple Leaf goals, and it felt like he could be a hero, but after Boston quickly nullified both of his tallies, they rode Patrice Bergeron’s first goal of the series to a 3-2 lead at the end of the first.
This game was filled with moments that seemed significant at the time, only to be relegated to footnotes in the back-and-forth battle. One of them was Kasperi Kapanen’s shorthanded contortions in front of net in the second period—an incredible play which put the Leafs up 4-3 through the beginning of the third.
It was all Bruins from there, however. Even though Boston netminder Tuukka Rask was little help to his team tonight, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen—despite 29 saves—was even worse. Within a four-minute span near the start of the third, Andersen watched a Torey Krug slap shot fly by him from the blue line, then let Jake DeBrusk slip a puck through him at point-blank range to make it 5-4 Boston.
The Leafs could do nothing to answer, and it’s impossible to overstate how dominant the Bruins looked once they achieved their late lead. It took Toronto over eight minutes of third-period play to achieve a shot on goal—they only had 14 shots to Boston’s 25 in the final 40 minutes—and an easy goal for David Pastrnak on some bad defense put Boston safely ahead by two with eight minutes remaining. Brad Marchand tied the bow with a deserved empty-netter.
This is the Bruins’ second comeback Game 7 win against the Leafs since 2013.* Boston gets the Lightning in the second round, starting Saturday.
Correction (10:47 p.m.): The article originally stated that the Bruins were down 3-1 in the 2013 series against the Leafs. They were up 3-1, as they also were this year.