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'Recharged' Bruins host Leafs in critical Game 5

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) and teammate David Pastrnak (88) celebrate defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs after Game 4 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Two Eastern Conference series ended this week in shocking four-game sweeps, but the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are battling it out in a series that has come down to a best two out of three.

The Atlantic Division rivals square off in a critical Game 5 on Friday night in Boston.

The Bruins rebounded Wednesday night by grabbing a 5-2 lead in the third period, then holding off a furious comeback attempt for a 6-4 win to level the series.

In the NHL's history of best-of-sevens with the series tied at 2-2, winners of Game 5 hold an all-time series record of 205-55 (.788).

Down 2-1 in the series and desperately needing to even it, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy turned to his stars to seize control of the game in the second period. Standout forwards Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron responded as they have all season.

After Toronto's Auston Matthews knotted the game at 2-2 just 1:07 into the second period, Marchand set up Pastrnak with a pair of pinpoint dishes -- the first on a 2-on-1, the other a backhander from the side boards across ice to the far circle -- for tallies 1:35 apart to give Boston a 4-2 edge.

"(Pastrnak's) a guy we rely on to score and create offense and actually play a good 200-foot game. He's certainly capable of that," said Cassidy. "It was good to see him score. Scorers, when they don't score, can get antsy.

"I'm not saying David was there, but we wanted to keep him from going there. Getting his two goals, they get recharged."

The Bruins' trio of forwards notched six points in the match, led by Marchand's goal and two assists while Pastrnak had the two markers and Bergeron a helper.

Tuukka Rask wasn't great in the win in Toronto, but the Finnish netminder was good enough to shut down the Maple Leafs in the final minutes as Boston regained home-ice advantage in the series between the Original Six clubs.

Rask's 38-save performance helped him record his 37th career playoff victory, moving him past Andy Moog and into second on the Bruins' all-time list.

Toronto suffered on the penalty kill as Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy netted goals on Boston's two power plays.

The Maple Leafs, who were 18th on the penalty kill during the regular season, are 6 of 11 (54.5 percent) in the series.

The two goals surrendered to Boston -- ranked 16th with the man advantage this season -- were particularly bothersome to Toronto coach Mike Babcock.

"They've got real good players, let's not kid ourselves," Babcock said. "But those two goals tonight, other than scoring them, we didn't look after it. We've got to fix it.

"The bottom line is you can't keep giving power-play goals up. Those are just freebies those two. Not that they didn't make plays or anything like that, but we weren't in the spots we were supposed to be in."

--Field Level Media

Updated April 19, 2019

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