Chances galore weren't enough for the Boston Bruins, who will need a third attempt to finish off the Toronto Maple Leafs after Monday's 3-1 loss.
The Bruins outshot the Leafs, 32-30, and had a distinct advantage in zone time throughout the game. But the end result is a series tied at 3-3, with Game 7 on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
It was the first game of the series in which the team that scored first did not go on to win the game. Toronto goalie Frederick Andersen was nothing short of dynamite after his lone gaffe in the second period, undoubtedly the best player on the ice for the Leafs.
The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs in the first period, 16-10, a frame in which Patrice Bergeron went a perfect 8-for-8 on faceoffs. But all of that extra possession yielded nothing in the opening 20.
Boston was rewarded for its chances in the first period just a little more than a minute into the second period, when Jake DeBrusk opened up the games scoring with a wrister atop the right-wing circle. David Krejci won the draw directly back to DeBrusk, who slid along the perimeter of the circle toward the top, when he fired the puck past Andersen at 1:02 of the middle period.
Thirty-five seconds later, the lead was gone. Nikita Zaitsev's offering from the point was saved by Rask, but Nazem Kadri picked up the rebound and dished to William Nylander, who breezed by Charlie McAvoy on the right post to tie the game at 1-apeice.
Toronto appeared to take the lead less than two minutes later, when Zach Hyman slipped a puck underneath Rask's pads. The goal was waved off due to goalie interference, prompting complete domination from the Bruins over the next 10 or so minutes of the period.
Against a team like the Maple Leafs, all it can take is one bad transition back to the defensive zone to blow all of your momentum, which is precisely what happened. The initial rush was barely onsides, but the Bruins failed to clear the zone after Tomas Plekanec disrupted the forecheck in the corner. Ron Hainsey collected the puck at the far point, and while his pass was partially blocked by Brad Marchand, Plekanec stuck with it and was able to carom the puck towards Mitch Marner. The backhander off Marner's stick beat Tuukka Rask at 13:25 of the second.
Amazingly, Marner's tally stood as the game-winner as Rask and Andersen traded highlight reel saves over the final period. But with the Bruins' crease vacant in the final 90 seconds of regulation, Plekanec buried an empty netter at 18:46 that sent the series back to Boston.