TORONTO (AP) — Brad Marchand had two goals and an assist as the Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Sunday, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk also scored, and David Pastrnak had two assists to help Boston avoid elimination. Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots. The Bruins will host the deciding game on Tuesday night.
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.
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.
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.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Maple Leafs pulled within one as Matthews scored his fifth goal in the last four games as he took a pass from Jake Gardiner and rifled a shot far side on Rask at 4:15 of the third. Matthews was held without a point in the first two games of the series, and had just two points in Toronto’s seven-game loss to Boston last spring.
Kasperi Kapanen cut in off the rush seven minutes into the third, but Rask closed the door on the speedy winger to preserve Boston’s lead.
Tempers then flared midway through the period when DeBrusk and Rielly crashed into the end boards, with the Toronto defenseman giving the Boston forward an extra cross-check. Andersen followed that up shortly thereafter by robbing DeBrusk with his glove off the rush.
Rielly set up Matthews on another terrific chance only to see the pass hop of the star center’s stick as Toronto turned up the pressure.
Andersen bailed out Rielly after a brutal turnover with under four minutes to go, robbing Pastrnak of a chance, but Marchand scored into an empty net with 1:54 left to seal the win and even the series.
Toronto opened the scoring at 9:42 of the opening period on Rielly’s first of the playoffs. Having hit the post on an early power play, the defenseman took a pass from William Nylander and fired a one-timer short-side along the ice after the Bruins failed to clear the defensive zone.
Toronto forward Connor Brown and Boston defenceman Matt Gzelcyk were battling in front on the play. It looked like the Bruins were thinking about challenging, but head coach Bruce Cassidy declined to ask for a video review.
Boston tied it on a man advantage 1:41 later when Marchand snapped his third goal of the series on a shot off a scrambled draw that hit Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey and beat Andersen between the legs.
The Bruins’ power play, which was held in check in Game 5, but was still 5 for 14 coming into this game, struck again with 2:58 left in the period. Krug got a rebound of Pastrnak’s shot and fired a shot upstairs on Andersen for his first of the postseason.
Andersen did well to keep it a one-goal deficit late in the first by making two hockey-card caliber stops on both Patrice Bergeron and Grzelcyk.
Andersen was solid, but could do nothing on Boston’s slick goal that made it 3-1. DeBrusk left the puck for David Krejci on a 2-on-2 rush before getting inside position on Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson and making a diving stab at the return feed at 7:57.
The goal was the first of the playoffs for DeBrusk, who had six goals last spring — with five coming against Toronto, including two in Game 7.
The Leafs started to push back with a couple of chances for John Tavares, but couldn’t find a way past Rask.
NOTES: The 3 p.m. puck drop was something different for the Maple Leafs, who had just one afternoon game in the regular season. The Bruins played 12 day games.
Game 7 is Tuesday night at Boston.