What went wrong for the Bruins in their Game 6 loss to the Maple Leafs

There are at least two reasons why Boston failed to eliminate Toronto.

Boston Bruins Toronto Maple Leafs
Charlie McAvoy battles against Patrick Marleau in Game 6. –Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

COMMENTARY

The Bruins and Maple Leafs are headed to a Game 7.

With its second chance to close out the series, Boston once again couldn’t clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals — falling to Toronto, 3-1, at the Air Canada Centre Monday night. The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs, 33-30, but weren’t able to convert on several offensive opportunities.

“They finished one of their chances in front of the net, and we didn’t,” coach Bruce Cassidy told NESN after the game. “I thought we had quite a few chances in the second period that were either blocked or their goalie made great saves on them. At the end of the day, they finished a little better than us or they got the extra save — however you want to categorize it.”

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Here are two things that went wrong for the Bruins in Game 6:

Their first line has been stifled.

The trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak has been exceptional through Boston’s victories this series, scoring six goals and tallying 23 combined points in Games 1, 2, and 4.

But their rating has been drastically different when comparing wins (+20) and losses (-16) from the series. The top line has been noticeably quiet in defeat. Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak had zero scores and zero assists in Games, 3, 5, and 6, despite taking 39 shots on goal.

The lack of results doesn’t mean there hasn’t been opportunity. The Bruins are creating offense, but aren’t capitalizing on power plays or finishing at the net. Bergeron — who missed Game 4 due to an upper body injury — won 79 percent of his face-offs Monday night.

“Maybe there is a little bit of frustration, but you’ve got to go back to the drawing board and find the character we’ve shown all year,” he told reporters after the game. “Now it’s about one game.”

Frederik Andersen stepped up to the challenge.

Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen followed up his Game 6 performance with an even more impressive showing in the net, stopping 32 shots.

“I think their goalie has been really good the past two games,” Cassidy said. “It’s tough to get anything by him. You got to get in his face because the ones he’s seen, he’s doing a good job stopping. We’ll take note of that.”

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Andersen received several well-deserved “Fred-die! Fred-die!” chants from the crowd, as he made a number of wild sticks saves, and quite frankly, played out of his mind. Despite some good looks, the Bruins couldn’t seem to get anything by him.

After the game, Andersen credited “enjoying the moment” and “being in a do-or-die position” for fueling his approach.