The Playoff Buzzer: Bruins, Sharks get Game 5 wins

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  • Things were under wraps for most of Game 5 between the Bruins and Blue Jackets, but when they unraveled, they really unraveled. The two teams traded goals in a dizzying stretch, yet Tuukka Rask and David Pastrnak did just enough for Boston to take a 3-2 series lead. Then John Tortorella essentially guaranteed that we’ll see a Game 7. *rubs hands together in excitement*
  • Philipp Grubauer shut out the Sharks in Game 4, and almost kept San Jose off the board for two more full periods in Game 5. Tomas Hertl ended up breaking through with 20 seconds left in the second, however, and also scored the game-winner to give San Jose a 3-2 series lead.

Bruins 4, Blue Jackets 3 (Boston leads series 3-2; Game 6 airs at 7 p.m. ET on Monday on NBCSN [stream here])

Boston’s top three drew criticism for difficulties through the first three games of Round 2, but they’ve come up big during Games 4 and 5. The Bruins built a 2-0 lead early in the third period, and it looked like this might be a relatively easy win during a series where few victories happened easily. Then the two teams combined for four goals in 3:25 and five goals in just under 8 minutes to leave fans living on a prayer. Despite that score, both Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky were fantastic. Ultimately, Columbus’ season is on the brink after the Bruins came through on Saturday.

Sharks 2, Avalanche 1 (San Jose leads series 3-2; Game 6 airs at 10 p.m. ET on Monday on NBCSN [stream here])

Through two periods, the Sharks managed 29-15 advantage in shots on goal, yet Philipp Grubauer found a way to keep things tied 1-1. The two teams struggled to find daylight, even on the power play, with Colorado going 0-for-3 and the Sharks scoring once on five chances. Tomas Hertl came through there, and for both of the Sharks’ goals, and you’ll find out more about his night with just a little bit of scrolling.

Three Stars

1. Tomas Hertl

After failing to score a goal and settling for two assists through the first four games of this series, the beefy Sharks forward scored both of San Jose’s goals, including (naturally) the game-winner.

He was a rugged presence even beyond the obvious goals. Hertl fired eight SOG, enjoyed a +1 rating, went 14-7 on draws, and delivered one hit in 24:01 TOI in Game 5. The Czech forward really started to take over against the Golden Knights in the Sharks’ memorable Round 1 series win, and if this output is any indication, he could give Colorado all it can handle down the stretch.

Hertl’s all-around game gets him the nod, but you could make a great argument for …

2. David Pastrnak / Brad Marchand

Your preference might depend on how much you weigh points totals versus other contextual factors.

Marchand had more points with three, scoring one goal and collecting two assists in Game 5. Pastrnak scored two goals, with one being the game-winner, had a better plus/minus (+3 to Marchand’s +2), and was really firing the puck (seven SOG for Pastrnak; two for Marchand). Patrice Bergeron was strong in his own right, but only had an assist, so we can at least cancel him out.

Let’s call it a tie, then. Speaking of giving one spot to multiple people …

3. Basically all four goalies

For most of Game 5 between the Bruins and Blue Jackets, Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky engaged in one heck of a goalie duel. Their numbers suffered from that late scoring spree, yet if you check out the highlights in the videos above, you’ll see that both goalies made some incredible stops. Bobrovsky even managed a miraculous save right before it was spoiled when Marchand followed it up with a goal. Rask made one more save (33) than Bob (32), and that ultimately made the difference, but Rask and Bob were pretty spectacular on Saturday.

Grubauer is the main reason why Sharks – Avs went down to the wire, as he stopped 37 out of 39 shots against San Jose. Martin Jones only needed to make 21 saves to win Game 5, but quite a few of those were very difficult, so he deserves at least a mention with these other three.

 [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Factoids

Sunday’s game

Game 6: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (Stars lead series 3-2); 3 p.m. ET on NBC (stream here)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.