This year marks the third time since 2013 that the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs have met in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and like those two previous clashes, this year's series will be decided by a winner take all game seven in Boston.
The Bruins were facing elimination in Toronto yesterday, but gutted out a 4-2 victory after falling behind 1-0, and give the Bruins credit for not buckling under the pressure of that deficit or the full-throated frenzy of the sold out crowd in hockey-mad Ontario.
The Bruins got even when Brad Marchand snuck a wrister through the pads of Frederik Andersen off a face-off and then took the lead for good on the power play when Torey Krug collected a rebound and one-timed it into the net. But the eventual game winner came off the stick of Jake DeBrusk, his first goal of the series, and a beauty as he dove forward like a kid on a slip'n'slide to deflect a pass from David Krejci into the net to make it 3-1.
The Leafs scored early in the third on Auston Matthews' fourth goal in the last five games, but Tuukka Rask held on the rest of the way, and Marchand scored into an empty net with just under two minutes to go to seal the win and send the series back to Boston Tuesday for game seven, which the Bruins hope will follow recent history.
Boston won in a rout last year, and in 2013 they trailed 4-1 with less than ten minutes left in regulation before rallying to tie and complete a comeback win for the ages when Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime.
They're heading for a game seven out west as well after the San Jose Sharks staved off elimination last night, beating the Las Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in double overtime, and the game winner came while the Sharks were short-handed. Tomas Hertl broke into the Vegas zone and lasered a wrist shot home for the game winner, and game seven will be back at the Shark Tank in San Jose Tuesday night.
In the NBA playoffs Indiana native Gordon Hayward returned to his home state and broke the hearts of Pacers fans by pouring in 20 points to help lead the Boston Celtics to a 110-106 win that sweeps Indiana out of the first round of the playoffs in four games. Hayward and Marcus Morris were especially good late in the final quarter when they hit four three pointers between them to salt the game away.
In Major League Baseball, the Easter Bunny brought the Boston Red Sox something better than chocolate eggs: Their first series sweep of the season, and over the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox got their winning runs in the top of the 11th on a sac fly by Chrsitian Vazquez, set up by a Rafael Devers single, a walk by Michael Chavis, the rookie who helped win game two when he doubled in the ninth inning for his first ever major league hit, and then, something I thought I might never see again in baseball, a perfect sacrifice bunt laid down by Jackie Bradley, Jr. that put the runners on second and third and allowed Devers to score on the deep fly by Vazquez.
Ryan Brasier picked up the save, and the Red Sox picked up three games in the standings, now five games behind Tampa instead of eight as they return to Fenway Park for a big ten game homestand, starting tonight against the Detroit Tigers.
The NY Yankees didn't let a late inning bullpen implosion ruin their party against the Kansas City Royals at the Stadium. Austin Romine's third RBI single of the game was a walk-off winner in the bottom of the 10th as the Yanks beat the Royals 7-6. But they had to come back to do it, blowing a 5-0 lead when the Royals scored six times in the 8th.
NY Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was better at the plate than he was on the mound yesterday, hitting a home run for New York, but he also allowed six runs on eight hits over five innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Mets 6-4.
And the Toronto Blue Jays finished off a three game sweep of the Oakland A's, winning 5-4 in California.