Captain Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored third-period goals and the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 Sunday to send their playoff series back to Boston for Game 7.
Game 7 is Monday night in Boston.
Not only did the win keep the Leafs alive, it snapped a 54-year run of home playoff failures against the Bruins.
Toronto’s previous home playoff win against Boston was March 31, 1959, when the Leafs won 3-2 in overtime. Nine straight postseason home losses followed in the decades since.
Milan Lucic scored for Boston with 26 seconds left in the third.
The only time Toronto has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series was the 1942 Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs trailed 3-0 in that series before reeling off four straight wins.
Toronto’s last Game 7 win was in 2004 – the last time the Leafs made the playoffs – when it beat Ottawa 4-1 to wrap up a first-round series.
The Maple Leafs have momentum after two consecutive wins.
James Reimer made 29 saves for the Maple Leafs.
For Phaneuf, scoring a goal was a bit of redemption after being involved in the play that led to the Bruins’ overtime winner in Game 4.
Phaneuf’s goal at 1:48 of the third period came after Nazem Kadri ripped a wrist shot that was tipped in by Phaneuf, who had made his way to the front of the goal after continuing his rush.
Boston had lost the puck in the Toronto end on an attempt at a pass by David Krejci.
Kessel then added to the lead at 8:59, picking up the puck after James van Riemsdyk dealt with two Bruins in front of goal and backhanded it past Tuukka Rask. Kadri beat Patrice Bergeron on the faceoff to start the play.
Rask finished with 24 saves.
After combining for 170 shots in the past two games, the teams played defensively in what started as a much tighter game, but opened up later on.
Reimer and Rask were unbeatable in the first two periods, adding to the importance of the first goal.
The tight game made for a tense atmosphere inside where 19,591 fans, wielding giveaway blue or white towels.
Outside, another amped-up crowd packed Maple Leafs Square outside the Air Canada Centre to watch the game on a big screen, despite chilly temperatures at game time.
It was another strong game for Reimer, who switched masks during the game.
Rask was equally impressive, showing off a lively glove.
First-line Leafs center Tyler Bozak skated during warm-ups but was scratched.
Bozak, who scored short-handed in Game 5, had missed the final two games of the regular season with what was believed to be a shoulder injury.
Joe Colborne, making his playoff debut, came in for Bozak.
Boston defenseman Andrew Ference did not make the trip to Toronto for undisclosed reasons. But Wade Redden returned to the lineup after missing Game 5.
That prompted Bruins coach Claude Julien to change his defensive pairings, as he did when Ference was suspended for Game 2. Captain Zdeno Chara played with Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Seidenberg with Adam McQuaid, and Redden with rookie Dougie Hamilton.
Boston dominated most of the first period, skating hard and pushing the pace.
Toronto had to kill off an early penalty. Leafs coach Randy Carlyle juggled his forward lines.