Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Bruins, Maple Leafs Renew Game 7 Drama Saturday Night

NEW YORK  – Two of the NHL’s storied franchises whose century-long rivalry has never been hotter will meet in a Game 7 showdown Saturday night when the Boston Bruins play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden to decide their Eastern Conference First Round series. The winner advances to the Second Round and will face the Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers in a best-of-seven series that opens Monday, May 6 in Florida.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast exclusively by ABC and ESPN+ (U.S.), and SportsnetCBC and TVAS (Canada) at 8 p.m., ET.

The Bruins and Maple Leafs will face off in a Game 7 for the fourth time in the past 11 years and sixth time overall (also 2019 R12018 R12013 CQF1959 SF & 1941 SF). Only two other sets of rivals have battled in a Game 7 as often: the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have contested nine Game 7s, while the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have clashed six times.

Boston is 4-1 in the five meetings to date, claiming each of the past three with their lone defeat coming in the 1959 series finale when Toronto’s Gerry Ehman scored the go-ahead goal with 2:33 remaining in regulation.

The Bruins and Maple Leafs are the first franchises in NHL history to require a Game 7 in at least four consecutive head-to-head playoff series. The only others to go the distance in at least three straight meetings are the Canucks-Flames (1989 DSF, 1994 CQF, 2004 CQF) and Capitals-Rangers (2012 CSF, 2013 CQF, 2015 R2).

The longtime Original Six foes already have played more Game 7s than any other franchises, with this set to be their 31st and 27th such contest all-time, respectively. Both clubs rank among the top four all-time in Game 7 wins: Montreal (15-9 in 24 GP), Boston (15-15 in 30 GP), Detroit (14-11 in 25 GP) and Toronto (12-14 in 26 GP).

One of these clubs will end a stretch of consecutive Game 7 defeats: Boston is 0-3 since the 2019 Stanley Cup Final (0-2 at home), while Toronto is 0-5 since the 2013 Conference Quarterfinals (0-3 on road, all at Boston).

Bruins captain Brad Marchand will appear in his 12th career Game 7 which will be tied for the most among active players and trail only four players on the League’s all-time list: former teammates Patrice Bergeron (14 GP) and Zdeno Chara (14 GP) share the all-time record, while defenseman Scott Stevens (13 GP) and goaltender Patrick Roy (13 GP) are the only other players to contest more than a dozen.

On the Toronto side, trade deadline acquisition Joel Edmundson (5-0) can become the 17th player in NHL history to win each of his first six or more career Game 7s – a list that includes one active player (Ryan McDonagh won his first six from 2012 to 2015).

This marks the fourth consecutive year – and for the 20th of the past 22 postseasons since 2002 – that the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has featured at least one Game 7.

Game 7 Trends

* The team that scores first is 147-47 (.758) in the 194 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-0 in 2023).

* Home teams own a 113-81 (.582) edge in the 194 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-2 in 2023).

* Ninety-nine of the 194 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (51.0%) have been decided by a one-goal margin, including three of four in 2023.

* Forty-eight Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have required overtime (24.7%). Home teams have a 25-23 edge in those contests (0-1 in 2023).

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