TORONTO -- Shipping back to Boston.
A low-scoring affair, with strong goaltending at each end of the ice, made Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series a close game. It ended with the Toronto Maple Leafs defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf and teammate Phil Kessel scored a goal each as Toronto staved off elimination -- again -- to force Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden in Boston. The Bruins’ lone goal came with 24.5 seconds remaining in regulation as Milan Lucic scored with goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled for the extra attacker.
Of course, now that this series is going to a decisive Game 7 after Boston led 3-1, anything can happen. The Maple Leafs have built confidence, winning Game 5 in Boston and following it up with another win on home ice.
Plus, Toronto goaltender James Reimer has been solid, and he was again Sunday night with a 29-save performance.
The first period was sloppy on both ends and remained scoreless.
Despite not scoring in the second period, neither team was assessed a penalty, which was the first period in the series that has occurred.
The Maple Leafs gained a 1-0 lead at 1:48 of the third period by capitalizing on a rare miscue by David Krejci in the offensive zone. His drop-pass attempt to Lucic didn’t connect, Toronto gained control in transition and Phaneuf finished with his first goal of the series.
Another defensive breakdown by the Bruins led to Toronto’s second goal when Kessel scored at 8:59 of the third period. Rask made the initial save on James van Riemsdyk, but the rebound came and Bruins forward Tyler Seguin was caught flat-footed, as Kessel knocked in the backhander for a 2-0 lead.
Immediately following the goal, the 19,541 in attendance began to chant “Thank you, Seguin.”
When the final buzzer sounded, the ACC was rocking.
NEED MORE: Seguin and Brad Marchand need to find a way to be more productive and give linemate Patrice Bergeron a little more help. Time and again this series, both wingers have said they know what needs to be done, but it isn’t happening. Marchand didn’t register his first shot on net until the 19:29 mark of the second period.
SCARY MOMENT: Bruins forward Daniel Paille was involved in a scary collision in front of the Boston bench in the first period when he caught a skate blade in the neck. He immediately grabbed his neck and went to the bench. Bruins team physical therapist Scott Waugh quickly worked on Paille and fortunately he was fine and did not miss a shift.
LINEUP CHANGES: With defenseman Andrew Ference back in Boston with an undisclosed injury suffered in the third period of Game 5, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to insert rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton into the lineup for Game 6. It was Hamilton's second Stanley Cup playoff game. He also played in Game 2 when Ference was serving a one-game suspension for his illegal hit to the head of the Maple Leafs’ Mikhail Grabovski.
UP NEXT: The Bruins will host Game 7 of the series Monday night at TD Garden. The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers will play Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and the winners will meet in Round 2.