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David Pastnak’s overtime goal lifts Bruins over Maple Leafs in Game 7 – Lowell Sun

Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal with Morgan Geekie (39), Charlie McAvoy (73) and Brandon Carlo (25) in overtime during Game 7 of an NHL Stanley Cup first round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs , Saturday May 4, 2024 in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — With the Boston Bruins’ season in the balance and the team’s leading scorer stuck in a scoring slump, coach Jim Montgomery didn’t hesitate to publicly challenge David Pastrnak to do more in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It helped bring out some of his best hockey at the perfect time.

Pastrnak scored on a feed from Hampus Lindholm 1:54 into overtime and the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 on Saturday night to clinch their first-round series and advance to the NHL playoffs.

“He tries to get the best out of every player. He expects more,” Pastrnak said. “I admitted that I had to get better.”

It was redemption for Pastrnak, who entered the night with two goals and two assists through the first six games.

“I thought he was dynamic tonight,” Montgomery said.

Jeremy Swayman finished with 30 saves and Lindholm had the tying goal in regulation to help the Bruins avoid losing their second straight in the first round after leading 3-1. They have now defeated the rival Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs three times in the last seven years.

“This was our best game of the series,” Montgomery said. “This was an opportunity to seize the moment and be a difference maker.”

Boston will face the Florida Panthers, who upset the Bruins in seven games in the first round last year, spoiling a season in which they set NHL records for most wins and points in a season. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday night in Florida. The Panthers have been resting since Tuesday, when they eliminated Tampa Bay in five games.

William Nylander scored and Auston Matthews had an assist in his return from a two-game absence for the Maple Leafs, who are now 0-6 in Game 7s since the 2013 conference quarterfinals. In those games, they are 0- 4 on the way – all in Boston. Matthews missed Games 5 and 6 due to an undisclosed condition.

He didn’t want to lose what sidelined him.

“I don’t think there was any doubt that we could get to this point and climb our way back into the series,” Matthews said. “It was really hard to watch those two games. But I’m just really proud of how the guys fought and fought back and gave ourselves a chance.

Ilya Samsonov started in goal for the first time since Game 4 and finished with 29 saves. James van Riemsdyk and Justin Brazeau also had assists.

“It’s hard to lose. A tough road to go,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.

He appreciated the effort Matthews put in to be on the ice.

“He did everything he could to get himself ready and ready and play at less than 100%,” Keefe said. “He wanted to be there.”

Samsonov got the nod in place of Joseph Woll, who was ruled out prior to the game due to what the team believed was an injury he suffered in Game 6.

Samsonov allowed twelve goals in the first four games. Woll stepped in and gave up just two in Toronto’s Game 5 and 6 wins.

The Maple Leafs broke the scoring drought at 9:01 of the third period when Matthews corralled a loose puck mishandled by Tyler Bertuzzi in the zone and turned it toward a cutting Nylander, who beat Swayman for his third goal of the series.

But the Bruins responded just over a minute later when Lindholm deflected in front of the net to make it 1-all.

The Bruins had a lot of lucky charms at TD Garden for Game 7.

Retired captain Patrice Bergeron waved the Bruins flag before the game. Celtics star Jayson Tatum and coach Joe Mazzulla were also in attendance and seen on the video screen, drawing a loud ovation.

The extra energy in the building found its way to the ice.

The Bruins were on the offensive early, holding an 11-8 lead through the first twenty minutes after being outshot 23-3 in the first period during Games 5 and 6.