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 tonight at 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 tonight 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: 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).