TORONTO — Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored third-period goals for Toronto as the Maple Leafs avoided elimination with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre.
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal is now tied 3-3.
Game 7 is scheduled for Monday night at the TD Garden in Boston where the Bruins are 2-7 in the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.
The winner of the series moves on to play either the Washington Capitals or New York Rangers, who play Game 7 of their series Monday night in Washington.
Phaneuf opened the scoring 1:48 into the third period by redirecting a Nazem Kadri shot past Tuukka Rask for his first goal of the series.
Kessel made it 2-0 at 8:59 of the third when he picked up the rebound off a Cody Franson point shot, which Rask had trouble with, and backhanded it in for his third goal of the playoffs.
Milan Lucic pulled Boston to within one by redirecting a Jaromir Jagr pass past James Reimer for his first goal of the playoffs with 26 seconds remaining.
Sunday was Toronto’s first home playoff win since April 30, 2004. It was Boston’s first road playoff loss in Toronto since 1959.
Toronto is 6-14 all time in best-of-seven series in which they have trailed 3-2, and it’s 1-13 after trailing 3-1. The Leafs last came back from down 3-2 to win a series during the 2002 Eastern Conference semifinal against Ottawa.
Things opened up in the second period with both teams hitting the post early. Joe Colborne got a shot behind Rask, but it hit the iron.
Moments later, Johnny Boychuk’s wrist shot from the point beat Reimer, but hit the post.
Four minutes into the middle period, Patrice Bergeron had an excellent chance to open the scoring with Reimer out of position, but Reimer got over to rob Bergeron with his paddle on a wraparound.
Both teams played a tentative first period with the Bruins outshooting Toronto 8-7. The Bruins had two opportunities with the man advantage, but mustered just a single shot on goal.
Toronto had an opportunity with the man advantage as well and directed three shots on goal, but the power play was ended early as James van Riemsdyk took a goalie interference penalty.
NOTES: Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak, who led all Toronto forwards with an average of 21:27 of ice time through five games, was a late scratch with an undisclosed injury and replaced by Colborne. Sunday was Colborne’s 17th career NHL game. … Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference did not make the trip to Toronto and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. … Boston blue liner Wade Redden returned to the lineup Sunday after missing Game 5 with an undisclosed injury. Redden entered Sunday a point shy of 50 career playoff points. … This is the first time since 1974 these two original six franchises are meeting in the postseason. Boston swept Toronto in the first round of the opening round in 1974. … Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser (head) missed his second straight game. … Jagr entered Sunday’s game five points shy of Paul Coffey for fifth place on the all-time playoff points list (196). Jagr is also the active leader in playoff goals (78).
Rangers 1, Capitals 0: John Tortorella does not think Derick Brassard understands the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And the coach of the New York Rangers believes that is a positive.
“Look at (Brassard). He doesn’t give a (expletive) what’s going on the ice,” Tortorella said after the center, acquired at the trade deadline, scored the only goal in the New York Rangers’ 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
“He’s just playing. He doesn’t understand (playoff pressure).”
The best-of-seven series is tied at three games apiece. Game 7 is Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
New York played two games sevens in last spring’s playoffs, beating Ottawa in the first round and Washington in the second. Unlike those series, the Rangers do not have home ice advantage. All time, the Rangers are 0-5 on the road in Game Sevens. The last Game 7 the Rangers played on the road was a 2-1 loss to Washington in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
“I think when you get to Game 7, with our group here going through so many last year, it’s going to help us,” Tortorella said.
Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for New York in recording his seventh career shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was Lundqvist’s first shutout since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers won that game, 3-0.
“You try to be active to find pucks,” Lundqvist said. “There are definitely bodies in front of you, but if you’re active and try to find it, it’s a lot easier. I felt like this was going to be the type of game where there were one or two goals, tops.”
Both teams had opportunities in the first 49:39 spanning the first and second periods before Brassard snapped the scoreless tie with a slap shot from inside the blueline which bounced off Capitals’ defenseman Steve Olesky as it sailed past Braden Holtby.
“I think the crowd in the second period was chanting to ‘shoot the puck,’” Brassard said. The crowd of 17,200 expressed its frustration with the cautious New York attack by loudly chanting “shoot the puck” at the Rangers.
“I didn’t see myself giving a pass to one of my teammates there. I think I had to shoot. They obviously want us to shoot. On the ice, it’s a little different. We try and make plays. Sometimes it can work. Sometimes it doesn’t work. I just took two steps and ripped it as hard as I could.”
Brassard’s goal was Holtby’s lone mistake in a 28-save performance.
“It’s obviously frustrating and disappointing,” Holtby said. “We move on. We will be ready for it tomorrow.”
Washington’s frustration boiled over at the final buzzer, as all ten players on the ice engaged in a fracas in the left corner near Lundqvist’s goal. The Capitals were irritated with New York right wing Derek Dorsett, who they believed slew-footed defenseman Mike Green with 6:14 left. Green retaliated with a cross check to Dorsett’s face, which was penalized.
“I was bleeding from my upper and lower lip,” said Dorsett, who drew three penalties in the game. “It is what it is. It doesn’t matter. We got the win and that’s all that matters.”
One of the themes in New York’s three losses in the series has been the Rangers’ penchant for taking penalties. That was not an issue yesterday because New York was not penalized until the 20:00 mark of the game. Center Derek Stepan and defenseman Dan Girardi were each assessed two minute minors for their roles in the melee.
“It’s key for us,” Brassard. “They have a good power play. We just want to stay out of (the penalty box). It kills our momentum because we need to kill for two minutes. The guys did a good job tonight.”
However, New York’s power play is still an area of concern. The Rangers went 0-for-4 Sunday and are now 2-for-25 in the series. Washington entered the day 3-for-14 with the man advantage in the series.