Emotional Leafs level series against Bruins after van attack

Nikita Zaitsev (R) and Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs defends the net in a series-levelling 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins

Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs battled to a series-levelling 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins on a night of raw emotion following the deadly van attack in Toronto.

Just hours after the van rampage left at least 10 people dead, game six got under way in a sombre atmosphere at the Air Canada Centre with a moment of silence to honor the victims.

Trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, Toronto needed to win to force a decisive game seven in Boston on Wednesday.

The Bruins however were determined to claim the win they needed to advance, and took the lead in the second period with a goal from Jake DeBrusk.

But Toronto hit back through William Nylander and Mitchell Marner to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the second before Tomas Plekanec added a third in the final period to complete the scoring.

In the night's other game, the Washington Capitals booked their place in the Eastern Conference playoffs second round with a decisive 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to complete a 4-2 series triumph.

Two second-period goals from Capitals star Alex Ovechkin proved decisive, handing Washington a 3-1 lead after the Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno had cancelled out Dmitry Orlov's opener for the Caps.

Pierre-Luc Dubois pulled one back for Columbus early in the third period but goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson put Washington 5-2 ahead.

Foligno grabbed his second goal of the night to reduce the deficit but Lars Eller steered home Washington's sixth into an empty net to complete an emphatic win.