(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime of game seven, and David Pastrnak was the hero clinging to the first-round series. After having a 3-1 series lead, the Maple Leafs clawed their way back and evened things 3-3 after winning two straight. Game seven was one heck of a hockey game and a nail-biter from start to finish. Patrice Bergeron got the crowd going ahead of puck drop when he was announced as the team’s banner captain, and the TD Garden crowd erupted.

Jeremy Swayman stood on his head again and kept his team in the game all night, just as he had throughout the entire series. Head coach Jim Montgomery talked about his goaltender’s performance after the victory. “He was our best player in the series. It’s not close. I think his confidence and his swagger perviated through the group.”

First Period

The Bruins had the first two quality scoring chances of the game. First, James van Riemsdyk muscled his way to the net from the outside and fed Justin Brazeau in front, who Ilya Samsonov denied. Shortly after that, Jake DeBrusk had a golden opportunity down low, but Samsonov again stoned him. Boston continued to pour the pressure on peppering the Leafs but could not finish. Toronto tested Jeremy Swayman a couple of times, but he was up to the task.

The Bruins relied heavily on their low-to-high game to create offense in the attacking zone. Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm both have multiple shot attempts from the point. The third line, led by van Riemsdyk, was solid on the fore-check. Boston had the edge in shots on goal 11-8, and both goalies stopped everything.

Second Period

Right out of the gate, the Bruins had a solid look off the rush, but it never fully came together. Boston received the game’s first power play after a Timothy Liljergren tripping penalty. It was a sloppy man advantage, which featured Swayman almost giving the puck away behind his net, but he got lucky, and nothing came of it. After Charlie Coyle was called for cross-checking, Toronto had their first power play opportunity.

The Black and Gold killed it off and tried to shift some momentum. They got their second power play opportunity and were all over the place again. They passed up several chances to shoot the puck, and it seemed as if they were just out of sync. It was another scoreless period, and the Leafs had the shots-on-goal advantage 13-7 and controlled most of the play. Swayman again kept his team in the game throughout the middle frame.  

Third Period and Overtime

Toronto picked up where they left off from the second period and dictated the play early on. Swayman made an important left-to-right stop that ended some sustained Leafs zone time. The Bruins then got a great chance from Brazeau, who came chugging down the wing and fired a shot that Samsonov got a piece of, and it deflected out of play. After a Brandon Carlo turnover in the defensive zone, Toronto was able to capitalize and get on the board first. 

William Nylander set up on a feed by Auston Matthews, beat Swayman for a 1-0 lead. The Bruins, however, responded quickly and tied the game 1-1 after Lindholm put the puck on the net from the face-off circle, and it got by Samsonov. The defenseman spoke about what the win meant following the game. “As an athlete, you work so hard. To get that win for our fans, we have the best fans in the world, so it’s such a good feeling.” After a bunch of even back-and-forth play, there were no more goals in regulation, sending it to overtime.  

The extra period didn’t last long. At 1:54 of the overtime period, David Pastrnak won the game after winning a race to a puck that bounced off the end boards on a clever pass by Lindholm from the neutral zone. He finished a beautiful move, beating Samsonov for a 2-1 game-winning and series-clinching goal. The sniper touched on his series winner at the podium following the win. “Huge moment, obviously. There is a lot of excitement and a little relief as well. It was a tight-checking game, so it was nice to get it.” The Bruins will meet the Florida Panthers in the second round and have a chance for redemption from last season. Game one will be on Monday night in Flordia with an 8:00 puck drop.