If the Maple Leafs can pull off an elusive home victory in Game 6, they can shift a lot of the pressure to Boston’s side of the series. But they’ll need to do it without Auston Matthews for the second consecutive game (8:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet/CBC/ESPN).

With their backs against the wall and without their 69-goal scorer, the Maple Leafs won Game 5 in Boston thanks to a strong performance by their remaining top-six forwards and exceptional goaltending from Joseph Woll.

According to Stathletes, Woll had the fifth-best goaltending performance of the postseason to date in Game 5, with 2.08 Goals Saved Above Expected. The top line, centered by Max Domi, controlled nearly 77% of shot attempts in their five-on-five minutes. John Tavares stepped up in a big way, with his line controlling 67% of shot attempts. With Auston Matthews confirmed to be unavailable tonight, the Leafs will need players to elevate their game once again to send the series to Game 7. There are no lineup changes expected for the Maple Leafs, and unsurprisingly, Woll is the projected starter.

After taking some heat for tinkering with a winning lineup in Game 5, Jim Montgomery appears to be reverting to the lineup that made the Bruins successful earlier in the series, with Kevin Shattenkirk drawing in for Matt Grzelyck. John Beecher will be back in the lineup after Danton Heinen suffered an injury in Game 5. Jeremy Swayman will make his fourth consecutive start for the Bruins.

A fast start tonight for the Leafs on home ice, building off the simple but effective road approach to managing the puck through the neutral zone and establishing a forecheck, would go a long way to planting seeds of doubt in Boston’s minds. The recent history of Boston’s blown 3-1 series lead will start weighing heavier and heavier on their psyche — and for the Leafs to be doing it without Auston Matthews only adds to the weight of the pressure in the Boston market. It’s up to the Leafs to shift all the pressure and scrutiny Boston’s way by finally delivering on home ice.

Maple Leafs’ Keys to Game 6

via Anthony Petrielli

– The Leafs should adopt a bit of a road mentality at home. Simplify, establish a forecheck, funnel pucks to the net, and create traffic. We have said this for months now, but they play too cute at home.

– In addition to staying out of the box, keep up the aggressive penalty kill, which did a good job swarming the Bruins’ power play on its only kill in Game 5.

–  For varying reasons, 23, 88, and 16 (arguably 11, too) all played their best games of the series in Game 5, and they will need to build on it for this one if the Leafs are going to have a shot without Auston Matthews.

– The Leafs’ power play should focus on breaking into the zone through the Marner-Nylander side instead of the Tavares side, who has been stonewalled all series.

– It’s a little thing, but Sheldon Keefe shortened the bench and went with a Dewar-Kampf-Jarnkrok third line toward the end of Game 5. I would prefer Holmberg on that line over Dewar, as Holmberg offers more all around.

– Force the Bruins to go down the ice and beat you. Most of Boston’s goals are either from the power play or avoidable mistakes by the Leafs.

– Just win.

Game Day Quotes

Jim Montgomery on his team’s mindset coming off of the Game 5 loss:

Excitement. We’re looking forward to the opportunity that is presented to us tonight.

Montgomery on the keys to improvement in Game 6:

Checking mindset is one. Getting to the hard areas better offensively is two.

Montgomery on the absence of Auston Matthews:

Tremendous player. Best goal scorer in the league since he came in. Great player. But they played great without him last game.

Montgomery on whether David Pastrnak has had a “great game” yet this series:

I think we have had a couple. People overanalyze the goal scoring. They don’t recognize what he does. He is out there for us in every empty net situation. People underestimate his value as a defensive player and a guy who knows how to win.

No one usually scores at the same level in the playoffs as they do in the regular season. You are playing the best of the best. That is why the teams are in it. The teams that end up in the finals’ numbers tend to reflect pretty close to the regular season or slightly below just because there is a bigger sample size. We all get caught up in five games. I can look at any five-game segment for our players, and they’d be far below their potential offensively and defensively.

Montgomery on leaning on Brad Marchand’s leadership coming off the Game 5 loss:

I know he is going to be great tonight. I know he is going to be competing hard. That is what we know and the voice he has brought as a captain to our team.

Sheldon Keefe on the team’s playoff struggles at home vs. the road:

As I have been alluding to, when we come in, our plan doesn’t change, and our approach doesn’t change, but our mindset seems to change. In particular, it is about staying with it and staying consistent with it. When I look at the games we have played here, in Game 3, we gave up three shots in the first 15 minutes. In that sense, it is a pretty similar game in terms of defense. We didn’t have much of an offensive push in that game, but we were doing a nice job defensively.

It is about maintaining that play and staying with it. When you have a plan coming in, you have to stay with it for a long period of time, which is what we did really well the other night. We weren’t fazed by whatever happened in the game. We played a great period. It was still 1-1. It didn’t make us change. We just stayed with it and stayed with it. We had to kill a penalty, and we got it done.

We haven’t done that to the same level on home ice. That has been not just a playoff trend but a regular-season trend for us. It is the same mindset. This is the best road team in Leafs history. We haven’t been able to replicate it on home ice, but we have earned ourselves another opportunity to get that right now.

Keefe on the team’s strong play in its two games without Auston Matthews this season:

It is a bit of the human nature piece. You recognize everybody has to be better. They’re two different types of games — one is regular season against Pittsburgh, and the team played really well but also filled the net. Everything seemed to go in the net that night. It is the opposite type of approach the other night. It is a discipline game. It is a consistency game. It is sticking with it, grinding it out, and finding a way to win a hockey game.

It is more about the confidence our team has that we can respond when players are out. In this series alone, we had no Willy in Game 1 or Game 2, but you still have to find a way to win a game on the road. If we don’t get that win, we are not even here talking.

That piece is important. We have confidence there. We can trust in the group. If anything, it shows the strength of the group and the importance of the group not looking to others but just doing your part, trusting that the group will find a way to prevail in the end.

Matthew Knies on challenging David Pastrnak to a fight in Game 5:

He is going after our best defenseman. I don’t like to see that. I don’t want Mo to get into interactions like that. I need him to focus on the game and helping us win. That is all it is.

Joel Edmundson on Knies stepping in versus Pastrnak: 

It is great. He might be a rookie, but he is a big kid. He plays heavy. He is talented, but he has that edge to him, which I noticed in playoffs. It is good to see. We rally behind stuff like that.

Edmundson on whether the Bruins forfeiting a 3-1 series lead last spring serves as inspiration:  

When we went down, it was something that was brought up. It gave us the positivity and momentum that we needed. Anything can happen. We knew it was going to be a long series anyway. It doesn’t matter if we are down 3-1 or not. We just have to keep chipping away.

Edmundson on his Habs team erasing the 3-1 series deficit against the Leafs in 2021:

It starts with one game. You build off of that one game and keep it rolling. It is kind of exciting. You have nothing to lose. There is no tomorrow if you lose. Put everything on the line one game at a time.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins — Series Shot Attempts & Heat Map (5v5)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines*

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #11 Max Domi – #16 Mitch Marner
#23 Matthew Knies – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#24 Connor Dewar  – #64 David Kampf – #19 Calle Jarnkrok
#89 Nick Robertson – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #18 Noah Gregor

#44 Morgan Rielly – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin
#2 Simon Benoit – #22 Jake McCabe
#20 Joel Edmundson – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Starter: #60 Joseph Woll
#35 Ilya Samsonov

Extras: TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Conor Timmins, Ryan Reaves, Martin Jones, Cade Webber
Injured/Out: Bobby McMann, Auston Matthews

Boston Bruins Projected Lines*

#74 Jake DeBrusk– #18 Pavel Zacha – #88 David Pastrnak
#63 Brad Marchand – #13 Charlie Coyle – #39 Morgan Geeke
#21 James Van Riemsdyk – #11 Trent Frederic – #55 Justin Brazeau
#19 John Beecher – #70 Jesper Boqvist – #61 Patrick Maroon

#6 Mason Lohrei – #73 Charlie McAvoy
#27 Hampus Lindholm – #25 Brandon Carlo
#29 Parker Wotherspoon – #12 Kevin Shattenkirk

Starter: #1 Jeremy Swayman
#35 Linus Ullmark

Extras: Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort, Jakub Lauko
Injured/Out: Andrew Peeke, Danton Heinen, Milan Lucic 

*Note: At playoff time, with neither coach forthcoming on lineup decisions or injury situations, the final lineups won’t be known until close to puck drop.