Preview: Bruins at Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews is doing his best to change the narrative following last season's ill-fated playoff appearance, as the star forward continued his torrid play to help the Toronto Maple Leafs seize a 3-2 edge in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Matthews looks to help the Maple Leafs win their first playoff round since 2004 when they host the Boston Bruins in Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.
"I thought he played great. I was impressed with him and proud for him. He should feel good about himself," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said on the heels of Matthews scoring in the third period of Friday's 2-1 victory in Game 5. Matthews has four goals and an assist in his last three games, a significantly better tally than the one of each he recorded in the entirety of last season's seven-game series loss to the Bruins. Matthews' game-opening goal 11:33 into the third period on Friday was allowed to stand despite Boston's challenge of goaltender interference, although the Bruins appear intent on focusing on the next game in a series that has seen the teams alternate wins and losses. "What's right in front of us right now is just winning one game and focusing on what we need to do (Sunday) during the day to get ready to take advantage of it," defenseman Torey Krug said Saturday.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS
ABOUT THE BRUINS: David Krejci scored his team's lone goal in Game 5 to boost his point streak to three games (two goals, one assist), but the veteran center knows his team needs to generate more offense. "We've just got to be better. You know, we're going to have our back against the wall, so we have to learn from (Game 5) and be better, and honestly play desperate hockey and get a W no matter what it takes," the 32-year-old Krejci said. David Pastrnak set up Krejci's third-period goal to give him four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four games while Krug also notched an assist for his third point of the series, although he has yet to dent the scoresheet in Toronto.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS: Kasperi Kapanen set up Matthews' goal and regained his composure after misfiring on a breakaway attempt to score later in the third period for his second career multi-point performance in the playoffs. "That's a little frustrating but I was just trying to tell myself to stick with it and good things will happen," the 22-year-old Finn said of his failed breakaway bid. Andreas Johnsson, who set up Kapanen's tally, has four points (one goal, three assists) in his last three contests overall and six in 11 career playoff games.
1. Boston C Patrice Bergeron has just one point in 5-on-5 play in the series.
2. Toronto D Morgan Rielly has collected all four of his team-leading assists in his last three games.
3. The Bruins own a 3-20 mark in series in which they trailed by a 3-2 margin, although they did rally from such a deficit to defeat Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Maple Leafs 1