As would be expected from a team on the brink of elimination, the Toronto Maple Leafs began Game 5 with an aggressive approach, skating fast and out-shooting the Bruins, 19-8 in the first period.
The Bruins held them off until midway through the second period before a crucial mistake by Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference led to a shorthanded goal by Tyler Bozak. Only after Toronto padded its lead early in the third period did the Bruins turn the intensity up several notches, and by the time the game ended, the Bruins had a 44-33 advantage in shots.
It did not, however, translate into a victory. The Bruins, despite a furious bid in the third period, could not equalize and lost, 2-1.
“If there’s one positive to take out of this game, it’s the way we pressured in the third period and the way we battled, kept the pucks in, and got the pucks to the net,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “We have to take that out of the game and pick up right from there and go into the next one.”
Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto. Seidenberg wouldn’t chalk the loss up to bad luck.
“You have to work for your luck, and we started working too late. But if we keep going that way, then we should be fine,” Seidenberg said.
Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer made 43 saves, including 18 in the third period as the Bruins peppered him constantly. Only Zdeno Chara’s wrist shot with less than nine minutes to play beat Reimer.
“It’s the way we’ve got to play to have results,” center Patrice Bergeron said. “We’re expecting to get a desperate team over there, and that’s the only way we need to play in order to have success.”
The Bruins were on their heels in the first period, but the goaltending of Tuukka Rask kept the game tied, 0-0, through one period. Bozak’s shorthanded breakway made it 1-0, and Clarke MacArthur had a breakaway 1:58 into the third to make it 2-0.
“We can’t just be frustrated, we have to go out there and do it for our team,” Bergeron said. “We didn’t come out the way we should have come out in order to win the game. … We were kind of scrambling after that. We’ve got to play the way we did in the third and look forward to Game 6. It’ll be a tough one so we need to make sure we’re ready for a big game.”
Was it difficult for the Bruins to match the intensity a desperate Toronto team exhibited in the early going?
“If you have the killer instinct, it shouldn’t be, but we just didn’t have that tonight, and that’s why we performed the way that we did in the first half of the game,” Seidenberg said.
The Bruins know they squandered a chance to get some rest before the next round of the playoffs.
“Our plan was to close out tonight. We don’t like things easy, it seems like. We just seem like we want to always make it tight, or hard on ourselves, but we just have to find a way next game, and just play,” Seidenberg said.