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Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews and goaltender Frederik Andersen celebrate their Game 6 win on April 23, 2018.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Thanks to Frederik Andersen, the Toronto Maple Leafs are still alive.

Backed by an amazing performance from their goaltender for the second consecutive game, the Leafs tippy-toed to a 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Monday night. That avoided elimination from the NHL’s post-season and forced a seventh and deciding game in their first-round best-of-seven series on Wednesday night in Boston.

The game followed Saturday’s contest to a degree, in which the Leafs built a three-goal lead and then hung on for dear life in the last period, with Andersen blocking the door to finish with 32 saves. This time the lead wasn’t as big, 2-1 after two periods, and the Bruins’ onslaught started in the second period, but the Leafs were a little better in the third period. Andersen was every bit as good as he was in Game 5 to power their comeback from a 3-1 lead the Bruins held in this series after four games.

Hanging over the game was the van attack on a Yonge Street sidewalk earlier in the day that left 10 people dead and 15 more injured. Before the game, Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey offered condolences on behalf of the team to the victims and their families. “We’re going to play our heart out for this city, the great fans and hopefully in doing that we’ll make it to a Game 7,” he said in an interview with Hockey Night In Canada.

There was also a moment of silence for the victims before the opening faceoff and an emotional rendition of O Canada that was taken up by the 19,604 fans at the Air Canada Centre.

After the game, the players and coaches spent almost as much time expressing their thoughts on the tragedy as they did on the win.

“[It] changes the new normal in a family’s life forever: No mom, no dad, no brother, no sister, whatever it may be,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said of the loss of life. “And obviously we’re lucky to live in such a fantastic city [with] great first responders and the work they’ve done. And it’s so important that we rally around these people, help them, do everything we can.”

After a relatively cautious first period by both teams, Jake DeBrusk opened the game’s scoring for the Bruins early in the second period. William Nylander quickly followed with his first goal of the series to tie the score and Mitch Marner gave the Leafs the lead late in the second period. Then Tomas Plekanec sealed it with an empty net goal with 1:14 left in the third period.

The Leafs vowed to take fewer penalties in this game and their word was good until the last 10 seconds of the second period when Nazem Kadri took a slashing penalty. They survived that one and then did a nice job killing a Bruins power play late in the third period, helped by a couple of great saves by Andersen. That was as big as the five-on-three kill the Leafs put up in Game 5, as the Bruins power play has been deadly in this series.

“It was huge to get that last [penalty kill] with five minutes left in the game,” said Leafs forward Zach Hyman, a member of the unit. “That’s a big-time PK and a big-time moment in the series. So it’s really important for us. And Freddy’s obviously making huge saves.”

The Leafs started well in the first period but the Bruins, with head coach Bruce Cassidy double-shifting his big line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, turned up the heat as the period progressed.

By the end of the period, it was the Bergeron line that was once again the best on the ice. In the last five minutes they seemed to be on the ice constantly, shaking off the Leafs’ checking attempts. Leafs defenceman Roman Polak rocked Pastrnak twice in succession in a corner only to see him bounce up and keep playing.

The Leafs were able to hold off the Bruins trio thanks to Andersen, who took up where he left off in Game 5. The big Dane’s best save was another one with the paddle of his goal stick. Just as he did in Game 3, late in the first period Andersen reached back to knock away the puck when David Backes tried to scoop it out of a scramble.

“The game itself I thought we got off to a good start and then I thought we had about 20 minutes maybe where they really took it to us,” Hainsey said. “They had some great chances and our goalie was the man.

“We had a tough stretch there, even in the second, breaking out of our zone. They had great opportunities and he shut the door. Then I thought the last 30 minutes were probably the better we’ve had all series. We got the lead, and I think it’s not the only indicator, but I think they had like 21 shots in the first half, then we finally settled in, played better in the neutral zone, broke the puck out better. We had some time, at least not buried in our end in the second half.”

The season-long goalie-interference controversy came to call at 3:04 when Matthews bulled his way around the net, with Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy all over him and threw the puck in front. Hyman knocked it into the net as he was falling to the ice.

But Cassidy issued a coach’s challenge on the basis of goaltender interference and the NHL’s head office reversed the referee’s call and wiped out the goal. The replay showed Hyman knocking goaltender Tuukka Rask’s stick out of his hand just before he scored.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” Hyman said. “I don’t think anybody really has a definite answer on what goalie interference is nowadays. It’s tough when you score a big a goal like that and it comes back. But you know what? We bounced back. Mitch [Marner] got a huge goal for us and we were able to hang on.”

The Leafs’ work in their own end until the late stages of the period was a series of giveaways and muffed clearing attempts. Only the Bruins’ inability to hit the net on a series of scoring chances saved the Leafs.

Then, on one of the infrequent Leaf sorties into the Bruins zone they got lucky. It was Marchand of all people, fresh from helping dominate the Leafs in their own zone, who made the critical mistake. He fanned on a clearing attempt in the slot, Marner got to the loose puck first and got a backhand shot behind Rask at 13:25 for a 2-1 Toronto lead.

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