The Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs laced up their skates on Monday night for what was set to be the final game of the season for one of these two teams.
This series had gone back and forth despite the recent surge by the Leafs during the last two games. Usually, players will never admit that momentum has any affect on a particular team. However, even the Bruins have to own up to the fact that Toronto headed into this game with all of the confidence in the world.
After game six, B's head coach Claude Julien was very snippy with the media as he refused to answer questions about his struggling players. Perhaps he was mad at himself, since the Bruins have a horrendous record in close-out games under his reign. Monday was a chance to end all of the criticisms and advance to the next round.
In this game in front of the Boston faithful, the Bruins fell behind as the Leafs piled up a 4-1 lead. Dennis Seidenberg was injured very early in the game, causing the B's to shorten their bench and utilize two young defensemen in Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton.
Things could not get any worse, right?
In the third period, the Bruins recorded three unanswered goals, two of them with the goaltender pulled. Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron had the tallies to send the game into overtime. Once the game went into the extra frame, Bergeron netted his second of the game to send the Leafs home.
Now up next for the Bruins will be the New York Rangers.
As for the series, Phil Kessel showed what type of player he could have been when he was in a Bruins sweater. He recorded four goals in the series where Tyler Seguin posted just one assist. Really? Also, Tuukka Rask was outstanding despite the lack of tight play and production in front of him.
Bottom line: the B's were the better team and they should not have been in this situation in the first place.