BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins pulled even with the Maple Leafs in their first-round playoff series Wednesday night in Toronto. They’ll look to take control of the series Friday night in Boston.
With Boston’s Game 4 win, the set is now down to a best-of-three, with two of the final three games in Boston. That includes a decided Game 7, if necessary.
Historically, when a series is tied 2-2, it usually works out pretty well for whichever team wins Game 5. Of all the best-of-seven series that were knotted at two games apiece in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win the set 78.8 percent of the time, taking 205 of the 260 series according to the NHL PR Twitter account.
Back in their Stanley Cup championship run in 2011, the Bruins won two of their three Game 5s when their series were tied 2-2. They won their Game 5s against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals, and won both series in seven games. They dropped Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, but became part of that rare 21.2 percent by winning the next two games to take the series and bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
While there are a handful of players from that title run still on the roster, with captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand leading the charge, it has been a while since the Bruins found themselves in this situation. Their last Game 5 with a series tied 2-2 came back in the 2014 Eastern Conference semis against the Canadiens. The Bruins won that Game 5 in Boston, but dropped the next two to lose the series in seven. So they’ve found themselves on both sides of history.
They also entered Game 5 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks with the series tied 2-2, and proceeded to lose two straight to drop the series. They lost Game 5 against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, and lost that series in seven. Their losses in Game 5 and Game 7 against the Capitals both came in Boston.
This year’s NHL playoffs have been anything but ordinary, with the top-seeded Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins both swept out of the first round. But good things tend to happen to whichever teams breaks up a 2-2 series tie with a Game 5 win.