James Reimer, Maple Leafs force Game 7 vs. Boston Bruins

So much for the Boston Bruins making short work of an inferior opponent. So much for Tuukka Rask being James Reimer’s superior. So much for Phil Kessel being humbled by the Bruins like he had been since The Trade, or being outshone by Tyler Seguin, whose alarm clock apparently didn’t go off for this series.

The Leafs forced Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal with a 2-1 victory at home on Sunday night, using two third-period goals and another incredible performance by goalie James Reimer to win their second straight.

Oh, and the scorers in that third period? Defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who was fitted for goat horns in the Game 4 overtime loss after a turnover led to the Bruins’ game-winner, deflecting a Nazem Kadri shot past Tuukka Rask just 1:48 into the final frame.

[Also: NHL Three Stars: Lundqvist, Reimer close the door; Wings advance]

Then, at 8:59, it was Phil Kessel scoring on a backhand off a scramble in front of Rask to make it 2-0.

Yes, Phil Kessel, scoring against the Bruins, as he has three times in this series. Zdeno Chara was on the ice. So was Patrice Bergeron. And so was Tyler Seguin, who now has zero points in six games against Toronto; the Leafs fans chanted “Thank You Seguin” mockingly in the third.

But the story here was Reimer, despite a late Milan Lucic goal.

In winning two straight, Reimer has stopped 72 of 74 shots on goal. The Bruins had a dozen good chances to beat Reimer in Game 6 – he thwarted them until the end.

It’s the kind of performance the Leafs needed to force Game 7 in this series.

It’s the kind of performance that makes you believe they can win one, too.

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