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Bruins defeat Maple Leafs, force series back to Boston for Game 7

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Boston Bruins officially have Tuesday night plans.

In Toronto for a do-or-die Game 6, it was on the back of their best team effort of the series -- and a 4-2 final -- that the Bruins have given themselves a chance at vanquishing the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston for the third time since 2013.

But it was anything but easy for the Black and Gold.

The Maple Leafs kicked off the game's scoring with a Morgan Rielly goal that beat Tuukka Rask at the 9:42 mark of the first period. It was a deserved goal for the Leafs, too, as they simply appeared to outclass the Bruins in all three zones, with a dominant puck-possession game that the Bruins couldn't even dream of matching at Frederik Andersen's end.

But sent to the power play when Tyler Ennis held Sean Kuraly a bit too much for the stripes' liking, a Brad Marchand shot took a fortunate bounce off Ron Hainsey's knee and trickled through Andersen to knot things up at 1-1.

Boston's strike came just 1:41 after the Rielly goal, and was a chance that the Bruins simply couldn't afford to let slip out of their hands.

The Bruins were given yet another chance before the end of the opening 20, too, as Jake DeBrusk successfully drew a tripping penalty against the Leafs' Travis Dermott, and it was Torey Krug that finally broke through for the Black and Gold.

Absolutely hammering a puck through Andersen, Krug's goal came after a power-play sequence that saw him turn the puck over with a pass to no one before nearly icing the puck on an attempted Hail Mary pass that went nowhere.

It was enough to give the Bruins a 2-1 edge, as well as a 14-6 advantage in shots, through the first 20 minutes of play.

Bruce Cassidy's squad carried that momentum into the second period, using their speed and forechecking game to frustrate the Maple Leafs in their own zone, and held Toronto without a shot on the goal for the first seven minutes of the middle frame.

The Bruins made good on that with some great o-zone movement from David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk that allowed DeBrusk to break through with his first goal of the series, scored at the 7:57 mark of the second, to make it a 3-1 game.

The middle frame was not complete without a few solid saves from B's netminder Tuukka Rask, including a pair on John Tavares from in tight, and some stops with a straight-up traffic jam parked in front of him.

But Toronto wasted no time getting themselves back in this game in the third period, as Auston Matthews beat an over-committed Rask 4:15 into the third period to make it a one-goal game.

From there, everything became a blur, your honor.

With ridiculous pace up and down the ice, the Leafs missed on a great set up for Matthews, while Sean Kuraly nearly put one by Andersen. And over that seven-minute stretch without a whistle, it was a look from David Pastrnak that fell by the wayside as Pastrnak once again looked for the extra pass instead of simplifying his game for a shot on net against Andersen.

But the Bruins were finally able to breathe thanks to a Marchand empty-net goal scored with 1:54 left in the third period.

In what was an effort win across the board for the Bruins, the B's got goals from three different scorers, while Rask finished with stops on 22 of 24 shots for the victory.

Game 7 will be Tuesday night in Boston.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.