The Bruins are still in a good position, all in all.
To the dubious extent that momentum is a thing that exists, the Maple Leafs have it now. They have won two potential closeout games to force a game 7 in the quarter-finals of the Eastern Conference. The last one was a 3-1 win in an emotional Air Canada Center on Monday. They play at 19.30 clock the crucial game. ET on Wednesday (NBCSN, CBC).
But the Bruins go home where they are great. They have won 28 home games this year. The Leafs go to the streets where they have gained 20, a shade less than 50 percent. Teams that do not play a series in Game 6 will win Game 7 in about 60 percent of the time because the home field advantage in these areas is really real.
But the Bruins must feel exhausted after the last two games.
They threw the kitchen sink twice in a row against the Leafs, both times with the chance to eliminate the team that ended just behind in the closing stages of the Atlantic Division.
In Game 5, the Bruins made all these things, according to the counts at Natural Stat Trick:
- Took 90 shots attempts to net the Leafs 39
- 45 of these shots on net, compared to the Leafs & # 39; 21
- Got 25 scoring chances to the Leafs # 16
- Received 14 "High-danger" chances to the Leafs & # 39; 8
- Got six power games to the Leafs & # 39;
They minimized Auston Matthews, the Leafs franchise's young face. They exposed Zdeno Chara to Matthews as much as they could, and the prodigy spent most of the game chasing the Bruins while they had the puck. The Bruins lost anyway, 4-3.
And in Game 6, the Bruins made these things:
- 72 shots attempts to 43 the leaves
- Take 33 of those on net, compared to the Leafs & # 39; 30  Received 28 Goals to the 20 Leaves of the Leafs
The Leafs countered well and had three more chances with high dangers (10-7) than Boston. The Bruins' scorer advantage was so small in Game 6 that it was no big deal, and the Leafs still had a powerplay.
But again Boston had the puck most of the night and lost anyway. The Bruins could not solve Frederik Andersen more than once and the Leafs scored some nice goals. Mitoch Marner's reverse opponent in the second period was the winner.
The Bruins had a 24-12 shooting hit in the third attempt. They were as relentless as at any time in these two games. They still could not stuff anything into the net.
In game 7, the Bruins are expected to dominate the ball again. But that has not mattered lately and there is no guarantee that it will be on Wednesday.
The Bruins are especially hard to treat when in Boston. They have the best defensive center in the world in Patrice Bergeron, and receiving the last line change gives Bruce Cassidy the chance to choose Bergeron's loot. He was great at home in this series, with five assists in three games. Even more critical, when he was on the ice, the Bruins have controlled 76 percent of the shot attempts and 80 percent of the chances to score. He will play a lot against Matthews and William Nylander and he should keep them well.
Nevertheless, all the usual disclaimers about the volatility of a game apply. 7. The fact that Boston has played so well in the last two games is encouraging, but that it has not yet been rewarded is worrying. It would eventually happen if these teams played 10 more games, but they are not. They play one more and the Leafs will go into the one game with the confidence that even two of the Bruins' best efforts were not enough to sink them.