The Bruins didn’t get the memo about Game 5 starting 7 p.m. Friday night.
By the time they started playing with any intensity, let alone playoff intensity, it was too late.
On the strength of two unassisted goals and strong goaltending from James Reimer, Toronto beat the Bruins, 2-1, to force Game 6 Sunday night back at Air Canada Centre.
The Bruins are now 3-7 in non-Game 7 close-out situations under Claude Julien. But this game was all about a team that made costly mistakes and failed to pick up the slack when David Krejci’s line finally cooled off offensively.
In addition to Reimer’s 43 saves, the Maple Leafs also made more adjustments, including reconstructing their checking line with Mikhail Grabovski now centering Nikolai Kulemin and Jay McClement, as Jonas Seigel of TSN wrote after the game. The Leafs also finally started matching up the defense pair of Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson against Krejci’s line. That slowed down the hottest line in the land and forced Patrice Bergeron’s line and/or Chris Kelly’s line to pick up the slack. They didn’t. And so Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin and Kelly are now goal-less in the first five games. Bergeron has just one power-play goal and Seguin has no points whatsoever.
The Bruins are not going to win this series with one forward line. And with Game 6 and 7 scheduled to be played back-to-back Sunday and Monday anything can happen. If the Bruins put forth the effort from Game 1 or Game 3 in Game 6, they’ll avoid a do-or-die game Monday. They’ll also need some supporting scoring. Whether that will come remains to be seen.