May 26th, 2024

Knies scores in OT, Leafs top Bruins 2-1 to stay alive

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on April 30, 2024.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll (60) makes a stick save against Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) during the second period of Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON – Matthew Knies scored at 2:26 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs topped the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Tuesday to avoid elimination in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

The rookie winger scored after captain John Tavares took the puck hard to the net in the extra period to give the Leafs life.

Jake McCabe had the other goal for Toronto. Joseph Woll, who got the start ahead of llya Samsonov, made 28 saves.

Game 6 goes Thursday in Toronto. Game 7, if necessary, would be back at TD Garden on Saturday.

Trent Frederic replied for Boston, which still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, but will have the memories of last spring’s blown 3-1 advantage against the Florida Panthers in the opening round still fresh in their minds.

Jeremy Swayman stopped 31 shots.

The Leafs were minus star centre Auston Matthews after an illness forced him from the second intermission of Toronto’s 3-1 loss on home ice in Game 4. The 26-year-old sniper, who led the NHL with 69 goals in the regular season, made a cameo at Tuesday’s optional morning skate, but was unable to suit up alongside his teammates with the group facing elimination.

Woll made his playoff debut last season in Toronto’s second-round defeat to Florida with Samsonov out injured. He played a clean third period Saturday that pushed the Leafs to the brink after his crease partner was pulled.

Toronto, which rallied from 3-1 deficits against Boston in 2013 and 2018 before losing in seven games, opened the scoring at 5:33 of the first period inside a nervous TD Garden.

Max Domi won a faceoff after an icing and Mitch Marner fed a puck back to McCabe for him to sift home his first of the series through a screen.

Woll had little to do at the other end with the shots standing at 7-1 until a tough bounce got the Bruins back even. Leafs defenceman Simon Benoit’s clearing attempt behind the net hit Boston forward Pat Maroon and bounced in front to Frederic for him to bury his third at 13:54.

The visitors’ perplexing power play – 1-for-14 in the series entering Tuesday – got a chance a minute later, but was unable to create much of anything in a period Toronto still dominated 12-2 on the shot clock.

The Leafs’ under-fire penalty kill did its job early in the second before William Nylander, who missed the first three games with an undisclosed injury, rang a shot off the crossbar coming out of the box.

Woll made a nice pad stop on Morgan Geekie and Domi had a shot blocked that just trickled wide of Swayman’s goal.

Toronto came close late in the period, but Boston held the fort before a scrum that included Bruins captain Brad Marchand going after Marner – and led to a Leafs power play that had 1:38 left to start the third.

But Toronto couldn’t do anything with the fresh sheet of ice in falling to 1-for-17 with the man advantage.

Marchand then had a terrific chance after sitting a long time in the box, but could only scoop his effort wide. The Bruins forward and Pontus Holmberg were handed offsetting minors and Boston’s Charlie Coyle rattled Woll’s right post on a shot with the teams playing 4-on-4.

The Toronto goaltender then robbed Frederic in tight with 7:27 to play before Swayman stopped Tyler Bertuzzi on a 2-on-1 with Domi.

SWITCHING IT UP

The Bruins made two lineup changes, with defenceman Matt Grzelcyk replacing Kevin Shattenkirk and former Leafs prospect Justin Brazeau taking the spot of John Beecher.

Toronto blueliner Timothy Liljegren returned to the fold in place of T.J. Brodie, while Connor Dewar drew back in with Matthews out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

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