Patrice Bergeron tied it with 51 seconds left in regulation then scored the game-winner 6:05 into overtime on Monday night to give Boston a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 as the Bruins turned back Toronto’s comeback with a rally of their own.
Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots for Boston, which led the best-of-seven series 3-1 before the Maple Leafs won two in a row to force a seventh game.
Toronto opened a 4-1 lead in the third period of the decisive game, but Boston cut the deficit to two midway through the third period and then scored twice in the final 82 seconds to force overtime.
James Reimer made 30 saves for the Maple Leafs. Cody Franson scored twice, and former Bruin Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Toronto.
The Bruins will play the winner of Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. They would open at home against the Rangers and on the road vs. Washington.
The win completed a whipsaw of a weekend for Boston, which won Games 3 and 4 in Toronto last week to put the Maple Leafs on the brink of elimination, but failed to clinch at home on Friday and again in Game 6 when the series returned to the Air Canada Centre.
The Bruins found out during the game that their plane had mechanical difficulties, so they returned to their Toronto hotel and flew back to Boston on Monday morning, just hours before the game.
They appeared tired in the early part of the game, spotting Toronto a 4-1 lead on Nazem Kadri’s goal at 5:29 of the third period.
But Nathan Horton brought Boston within two goals and then Milan Lucic and Bergeron scored 31 seconds apart in the final 1:22 after the Bruins pulled Rask for an extra skater.
Bergeron ended it early in the overtime, sending his teammates pouring over the boards while the crowd fell into a frenzy.
Or, at least, those who stayed: Hundreds if not more had left in the third period, then begged security to get back into the TD Garden after the Bruins rallied.
Bergeron, who had only one goal in the first six games, had two goals and his first assist of the playoffs. Lucic had a goal – his second – and an assist, and Tyler Seguin had an assist for his first point of the postseason.
Rangers 5, Capitals 0: In Washington, led by Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 saves in a second consecutive shutout, and goals from some unlikely sources, the New York Rangers beat the Washington Capitals in Game 7 to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
New York contained Alex Ovechkin again and completed its comeback after trailing in the series 2-0 and 3-2 – the latest in Washington’s long history of playoff collapses.
Sixth-seeded New York faces No. 4 Boston in the second round.
It is the first time New York won a Game 7 on the road in its history.
Arron Asham put New York ahead in the first period, before Taylor Pyatt and Michael Del Zotto made it 3-0 early in the second on goals 2:10 apart.
Ryan Callahan added a goal 13 seconds into the third period, and when Mats Zuccarello scored with about 13 1⁄2 minutes remaining, thousands of red-clad fans streamed to the exits.