Facing elimination, Boston didn’t panic when it fell behind halfway through the first period. The Bruins kept their focus, quickly tied it and took the lead, and then held off the Toronto Maple Leafs to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
Brad Marchand had two goals and an assist as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 4-2 on Sunday.
“We just knew there was a lot of game left,” Marchand said. “We’ve come from behind a lot this year. We weren’t fazed. We came together, played very hard after that. We played a really good game.”
Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk also scored, and David Pastrnak had two assists to help Boston avoid elimination. Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots.
“(We) gave ourselves another opportunity for another game,” Marchand said. “We got to try to replicate it. They’re going to come hard. They’ve played really well so far in our building this series.”
Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews scored for Toronto in a series neither team has managed back-to-back victories and each has won twice on the road. Frederik Andersen finished with 37 saves.
“It is what is now,” Maple Leafs forward John Tavares said. “We’ve still got a good chance to win this series. That’s what our focus is on now. It’s over with now. Obviously we’d love to get it done today. It’s not the case.”
The Bruins will host the deciding game on Tuesday night.
The Maple Leafs, who lost to the Bruins in seven games in both 2013 and last spring, have not advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2004.
“You try to forget the past, whether it’s this series or last year’s series,” DeBrusk said, “and understand they’re going to come out with everything they’ve got and so are we.”
The winner of this series will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who got the Eastern Conference’s last wild card and then swept a Tampa Bay Lightning team that tied an NHL record with 62 victories in the regular season.
Toronto, which took a 3-2 lead in the series thanks to a patient, stifling defensive performance Friday at Boston, is Canada’s last hope of ending the country’s 26-year Stanley Cup drought. The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets were eliminated in their first-round series.
Sharks 2, at Golden Knights 1: Tomas Hertl scored a short-handed goal 11:17 into the second overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
Just 31 seconds after Barclay Goodrow was called for slashing Brayden McNabb, it was Hertl recovering the loose puck and skating in alone and beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot to seal the win and force the deciding game Tuesday at San Jose.
Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, and Martin Jones had a playoff career-high 58 saves. San Jose has won two straight after being forced to the brink of elimination to even the series.
Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots.
Jones may have saved his best performance for Game 6, coming up with big saves to keep the Sharks in the game with huge saves while under rapid fire.
With Vegas carrying momentum over from Marchessault’s goal that tied the score with 8:40 left in the second period, and a penalty kill that carried into the third, Jones’ biggest save came against Reilly Smith, whose point-blank one-timer was stymied. Moments later Jones snuffed out Mark Stone’s slap shot from the circle.
The Sharks got on the board just before the end of the first period, when Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland misplayed the puck in the neutral zone, and Couture gathered the puck, manuevered around Golden Knights defender Nate Schmidt and fired past Fleury glove side to give San Jose a 1-0 with 6.5 seconds left.
Marchessault tied it as he gathered a rebound off Shea Theodore’s shot from the point, and lifted the puck over Jones’ right pad with a swift backhand,. It gave Marchessault a goal in three consecutive games, and at least one point in four straight.
San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon came up with a big play late in the game. Theodore caught Nosek in stride with long stretch pass, but Dillon did a good job of not taking a penalty while his swiping poke check kept Nosek from even making an attempt on Jones.
Both goalies came up with big saves during the first extra period, first with Fleury stopping Kevin Labanc just after the puck drop, and later when Jones stopped Max Pacioretty’s one-timer with 9:57 left. But the biggest moment came with roughly three minutes left in the first overtime, when Fleury and Vegas defensemen Jon Merrill and Colin Miller combined to make several saves and keep the game going.