BOSTON — When the Boston Bruins hit the dressing room following the second period Wednesday night, things looked bleak.
The B’s had just finished one of their sloppiest periods of the season, surrendering two goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the second of which gave Toronto a one goal lead and sucked the air out of TD Garden in a crucial Game 7 of the teams’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
So, things didn’t look good — except inside the Bruins’ locker room.
“Didn’t matter how long it was going to take,” defenseman Torey Krug said after the game. “We were going to do the job. It’s kind of how we were all season long. Coming back in games, losing guys to injury. It was just kind of like the definition of our season, so it didn’t matter. We were going to break them, and we were going to out-will them, and we did.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
The B’s came out on fire in the third period. Krug tied the game with a four-on-four goal on a shot from the point at the 1:10 mark in the period. Four minutes later, Jake DeBrusk broke the tie with his second goal of the game, and Toronto began to wilt.
“It was only a one-goal game, so you win a period it’s either overtime or you win a game,” goaltender Tuukka Rask said. “We just decided we were going to win it. There was no ifs, ands or buts. We said we were going to win it and we went out there and played like we wanted to win. We were down, we scored a goal, we scored another and never looked back.”
When it was all said and done, the Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the period to grab a 7-4 win and clinch a date in the second round with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boston’s veterans commanded the locker room’s attention prior to the start of the third period. The Bruins left the disastrous second period on the ice, knowing when they returned for the final 20 minutes they could send the Leafs packing.
“We’ve done it all year,” Brad Marchand said. “It was only one goal. We didn’t have to cheat to win, we just had to continue to play our game. We were getting opportunities and we just figured it was a matter of time, and luckily, again, it went our way.”
Call it confidence, cockiness or resiliency; these Bruins have it all. That was never more apparent than during the final 20 minutes at TD Garden on Wednesday night.