Toronto, ON – The Toronto Maple Leafs' first home playoff win since 2004 couldn't have come at a better time.
Phil Kessel's goal at the 8:59 mark of the third period proved to be the difference, as the Maple Leafs took down the Boston Bruins, 2-1, on Sunday to force a decisive Game 7 in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Dion Phaneuf also lit the lamp in the final frame for Toronto, which stayed alive in this series for a second straight game after recording a 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Friday.
James Reimer made 29 saves for the Maple Leafs, who are 1-13 all-time in best- of-seven series in which they have trailed 3-1. The only time Toronto has come back to win a series from a 3-1 deficit was the 1942 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings. The Maple Leafs actually trailed that series 3-0 before defeating Detroit in seven games.
Milan Lucic scored the lone goal for the Bruins, who got 24 saves from Tuukka Rask.
Game 7 is set for Monday in Boston. The Bruins had plane problems following Sunday's game and will fly to Boston on Monday morning.
"Late during tonight's game we were made aware that there was a malfunction with our airplane. As a result we are staying in Toronto on Sunday night and the team will travel to Boston on Monday morning," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement.
Phaneuf broke a scoreless tie at the 1:48 mark of the third period. Nazem Kadri's shot from the high slot was deflected in by Phaneuf for a 1-0 Toronto lead.
Kessel made it a 2-0 contest just over seven minutes later. Rask made a pad save on Cody Franson's shot from the right point, but Kessel pulled the puck out of a pile in front and scored on a backhander.
With Rask on the bench for an extra attacker, Lucic tipped a shot past Reimer with 24.5 seconds remaining in regulation. The Bruins, however, failed to score another goal in the final seconds.
"We know we're going to go into a hostile building (Monday) night in Boston," said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle. "We know the passion in their market and their fans. We've been there already, we know what we're heading to and we just have to make sure that we play the game to a higher level than we did tonight. Because we know they will."
Reimer's best save of the night came in the early stages of the second period. Boston center Patrice Bergeron attempted a wraparound from behind the goal. Reimer dove across the crease on his stomach to prevent a goal.
Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak was a late scratch with an undisclosed injury ... Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference also missed the game with an undisclosed injury.