The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to pull off a remarkable comeback in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, as they visit the Boston Bruins for Monday's Game 7 battle at TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs trailed this series 3-1 before recording a pair of 2-1 victories in Games 5 and 6 to set up Monday's decisive battle in Boston. Toronto is trying to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series for the first time since 1942 when it lost the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals before storming back to beat Detroit.
Boston will be playing in a Game 7 for the eighth time in the past six seasons. The Bruins are 3-4 in those series and all three wins came in 2011, when Boston won its first Stanley Cup title since 1972.
However, the fourth-seeded Bruins have blown 3-1 leads twice in their history and both instances occurred in the last decade. Boston led Montreal three games to one before losing the 2004 Eastern Conference quarterfinals and the B's held a 3-0 edge over Philadelphia in 2010 only to lose that second-round series.
Boston is 12-11 all-time in Game 7s, while the Maple Leafs are 12-9.
The Bruins lost to Washington in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals last spring. Meanwhile, Toronto's last Game 7 was in 2004, when the Leafs beat Ottawa to win an opening-round series.
Toronto used its first home playoff win since 2004 to even this series at three games apiece on Sunday. 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 Bruins 2-1 to force this evening's decisive Game 7.
Dion Phaneuf also lit the lamp in the final frame for Toronto and James Reimer made 29 saves in the win.
"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."
The Maple Leafs were 13-8-3 on the road during the regular season, but have a 2-1 record in Boston in this series.
The Bruins, who were 16-5-3 at TD Garden this season, received their only goal on Sunday from Milan Lucic. After scoring nine times over Games 3 and 4 in Toronto, Boston has managed just two goals. Zdeno Chara had the only score in Friday's Game 5 setback.
Tuukka Rask made 24 saves in Sunday's loss at Air Canada Centre.
Making matters worse for the Bruins, the club was unable to fly back to Boston following Sunday's game and was forced to fly in Monday morning instead.
"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.
Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak was a late scratch from Sunday's game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for tonight. Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference also missed Game 6 with an undisclosed injury.
This is the 14th time these Original Six teams have met in the playoffs, but the first since 1974, when Boston swept Toronto in the opening round. The teams last met in a Game 7 in the 1959 Stanley Cup semifinals when the Maple Leafs beat the Bruins by a 3-2 score.
The winner of Monday's Game 7 will face either Washington or the New York Rangers in the second round. The Capitals are hosting the Rangers in another decisive game on Monday.