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Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Come From Behind Again To Win A Game Seven For The Ages Over Toronto

The Boston Bruins were back in familiar territory, trailing at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period of a winner take all game seven playoff.

They needed a comeback, and while it wasn't as epic or odds-defying as the one they recorded five years ago, the 2018 edition of the Black and Gold took a page out of that 2013 playbook, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period for a 7-4 win in a game that was as wild and unpredictable as a well-plotted whodunit.

This was not a game for aficionados of stalwart defense or dazzling goal-tending. Boston backstop Tuukka Rask gave up four goals through three periods and his counterpart Frederik Andersen wasn't very much better. It would be a night on both sides for offense, speed, defensive breakdowns, and ultimately, the grit and resolve of Bruins rookie Jake DeBrusk, whose sensational individual effort goal midway through the third provided the go-ahead and eventual game winner to propel Boston to the semi-finals.

Back and forth they went in this one, the Leafs jumping out to leads of 1-0 and 2-1, only to see the Bruins tie things up each time, first on a tip in goal by DeBrusk, and then on a wrister from another rookie, Danton Heinen. Boston even took a lead after that, with Patrice Bergeron putting back a rebound of a shot by former UVM defenseman Kevan Miller, who shot purposefully wide from the point, striking the backboards and getting a perfect bounce out front to Bergeron for a 3-2 Bruins lead in the second period.

But the Leafs would not fall there. They tied the game at three and then went ahead on a spectacular short-handed goal by speed demon Kasperi Kapanen, who collected a puck at mid-ice, shrugged off Brad Marchand like a loose overcoat, and came in alone on Tuukka Rask, faking to his right, then left, then coming full stop in the crease before going back to his forehand to tuck the puck calmly into the net for a 4-3 Leafs lead. But the Bruins fought back.

Just over a minute into the final frame, Kevan Miller got his second assist of the night. With the teams skating four on four Miller found his fellow blue liner Torey Krug for a one-timer that Krug blasted low and hard past Andersen to tie the game at four, and then with the raucous TD Garden crowd in full-throated frenzy, it was time for the rookie DeBrusk to score the greatest goal of his young career, collecting a David Krejci pass just outside the Boston blue line before turning on the jets and speeding into the Toronto zone. He got Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner to turn inside and then went wide right before leaning in ahead of Gardiner, tucking the puck five hole between Andersen's pads then crashing into the boards behind the net for a 5-4 Boston lead.

David Pastrnak scored an insurance goal a few minutes later and Marchand added an empty netter to seal the deal and put an exclamation point on one of the most thrilling game sevens in recent memory.

Now, there will be little rest for the Bruins and it doesn't get any easier in round two, which starts Saturday against the team that finished first in the eastern conference this year, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins will need to get their passing game back, which inexplicably fell apart after games one and two of the Toronto series. Tuukka Rask will have to be the goalie who stole game four for Boston rather than the one who looked shaky and unsure of himself last night, and players like Marchand will need to be sharper as well, but although on paper this looks like it's Tampa's series to win, the seven games against Toronto should have the Bruins battle tested and ready to take the next step, and I'm calling Bruins in seven, even though that would mean winning that last game on the road.

As for the Maple Leafs, they are only going to get better. They may be a Canadian franchise but they remind me of a well-celebrated American described by Lin Manuel Miranda as "young, scrappy, and hungry", and while they are still yearning for their first Cup since 1967, they will be back, and the next time they're in position to move on, their rallying cry may very well be that they're not giving away their shot.

The news wasn't much better for Toronto baseball fans as the Boston Red Sox snapped their three game losing streak in Toronto, beating the Blue Jays 4-3, also a come from behind win. Mookie Betts hit his second home run of the game in the top of the seventh with a man on to give the Sox a lead that would hold up when Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 6th save of the year. Eduardo Rodriguez got the win to improve to 3-0 on the season.

The NY Yankees slow start to the season is now officially a thing of the past. The Yanks have won five in a row after beating the Minnesota Twins 7-4 in the Bronx last night, and there may be no player hotter in the majors right now than Didi Gregorius, who homered again last night, his fourth straight game going yard, and Tyler Austin went deep as well with a three run shot.

The NY Mets got cooled off by the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1. Michael Wacha won his fourth straight start for the Cards, who have now won nine of their last eleven.

In the NBA playoffs the Houston Rockets eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games, winning 122-104 in Houston last night behind Clint Capela's 26 points and 15 rebounds.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are now up three games to two thanks to on the Indiana Pacers thanks to, who else? LeBron James. King James hit a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Cavs a 98-95 win and a chance to close out the series in game six in Indianapolis.

The Toronto Raptors are also up three games to two in their series against the Washington Wizards. See, the news isn't all bad for Toronto sports fans today. DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points to lead the Raptors to a 108-98 win in Toronto last night.

And Russell Westbrook scored 45 points to stave off elimination for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Utah Jazz in OKC's 107-99 win. The Jazz still lead the series three games to two.


A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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