Boston knocks off Toronto in Game 7 and advances to East semifinals

BOSTON — Another Game 7 matchup between Boston and Toronto, another victory for the Bruins.

Joakim Nordstrom and Sean Kuraly each had a goal and assist, Tuukka Rask stopped 32 shots and the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7 on Tuesday night to wrap up their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Marcus Johansson added his first goal of the postseason for Boston and Charlie Coyle scored on an empty-netter late in the third. Patrice Bergeron also had a late goal.

It is the Bruins’ second straight Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs and third in three playoff matchups between the teams. Boston previously knocked Toronto out of the postseason with Game 7 victories in 2018 and 2013. The Maple Leafs have lost six straight road Game 7s.

The teams had alternated wins in this series until the Bruins won the last two games.

“I just think the last two games the character of this group shone,” Johansson said. “We earned our way to Game 7 in Toronto and to a win tonight. That’s a good feeling.”

Boston advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Blue Jackets, starting with Game 1 at home Thursday night.

Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said his team benefited from contributions up and down its roster but said Rask might have come up the biggest.

“Generally speaking, you need your goaltender to hold you in there,” Cassidy said. “He was outstanding.”

John Tavares had Toronto’s goal on an assist by Tyler Ennis. Frederik Andersen finished with 27 saves.

The Maple Leafs’ loss means there are no Canadian teams remaining in the playoffs. Calgary and Winnipeg previously lost their first-round series.

“It’s disappointing. I thought our series this year compared to last year, we were a way better hockey club. In the end, we weren’t rewarded,” Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said.

The Bruins led 2-1 after two periods and needed just 2:40 of the third to add to its advantage.

Tavares said Toronto left the ice with a lot to lament.

“There were opportunities where we had the lead in the series and we weren’t able to really put them in a tough spot,” he said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Kyle Hightower is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Boston-knocks-off-Toronto-in-Game-7-and-advances-13790451.php.

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