It’s now up to the Leafs to end this series Sunday afternoon and not have to go back to Boston to try and depend on one game to win.
The last remaining Canadian team, the Leafs will hopefully last longer than just a couple days past the Jets and Flames’ elimination.
It’s been 15 years since the Leafs have been able to get out of the first round, but they just might be able to do the thing and make history in several hours.
If the Leafs were to win the series in six or seven games, they will face the surprising Columbus Blue Jackets in what might be a highly-entertaining series. As we already know — after defeating the historic Lightning team — this Columbus team is full of surprises and anything can happen.
Leafs lines at morning skate
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 19, 2019
The Leafs will be going with the same lineup as Friday night. Both Zach Hyman and Patrick Marleau were possibly out for this afternoon’s match but both will be playing.
The third line of Marleau-Nylander-Brown were increasingly impressive throughout Game 5. Without a lot of expectation with Kadri still out, the Leafs’ offensive depth reared its beautiful head and the Bruins were unable to handle the onslaught of pressure in the previous game.
Throwing them around like a toddler with a rag doll, the Johnsson-Matthews-Kapanen line were dominant in controlling both ends of the ice. In just under 15 minutes TOI, Matthews was able to have 18 on-ice shot attempts for, while only giving up 9.
The defensive pairings are unbelievably consistent throughout this series. Zaitsev and Hainsey have not been highly noticeable for their negative plays and Gardiner-Dermott have looks insanely mobile. On Friday night, the Leafs seemed to not give up the philosophy of breaking the puck up the ice as fast as they can. With these pairings, they will hopefully be able to do the same this afternoon.
First line rushes at practice:
— Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey) April 20, 2019
Re-uniting the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line, Cassidy will look to improve on their individual performances in Game 5. While Marchand and Pastrnak were still able to win the shot attempt matchup, Bergeron was +8/-13 while on the ice.
With David Backes back out of the lineup, the Bruins will try and keep up with the Leafs — but they tried to do that in the first game of the series and failed miserably. The returning forwards are Kuhlman and Nordstrom.
The defensive pairings will most likely stay the same: Chara-McAvoy, Krug-Carlo, Moore-Grzelcyk.
Matt Grzelcyk is a solid, young, depth defenceman but he absolutely got turnstiled by Tyler Ennis in Game 5, so he’s obviously terrible.
It’s going to be Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen, obviously.
Rask has actually had a decent series, carrying a .922 sv% and has been a positive contributor to this team. Andersen has been slightly better at .925 sv% and had a stellar Game 5.
Both goaltenders can win the game for their teams, but can also lose a couple of pucks to sheer luck. The Leafs and Bruins are both heavily reliant on their net minders, so it will be an interesting match to see who breaks first and how they can recover.
While we have seen goalies lose games for their teams, *cough* Martin Jones *cough*, both Andersen and Rask have been either winning for their teams or still keeping them in it enough for them to win.
It will be a game full of nervous moments, but at least there is another game ahead to try and finish it.
This can possibly be a historic day that we should all bask in, before everyone else starts to bandwagon Columbus for no reason.