For the captain, the goal was one of redemption, not just for himself but for his Maple Leafs teammates who have given so much in the franchise’s uplifting return to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For leading scorer Phil Kessel, it was arguably the biggest goal of his career, a game-winner that nearly brought the Air Canada Centre house down.

And for goaltender James Reimer, it was another big night of playoff hockey that prompted a veteran NHL star at the position to tweet “#REIMS4SOCHI.”

Forget Sochi for now, after a gigantic 2-1 win here Sunday night, the Leafs are shipping up to Boston for one of sport’s ultimate moments, a Game 7 to decide the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Bruins.

Phaneuf’s opening score, 1:48 into the third period, cut the tension inherent to an elimination game and sent the Leafs on their way.

Kessel’s big rebound goal at 8:59 gave the Leafs the breathing room they would need as the expected late Boston surge came. And Reimer made enough big saves to keep some fuel in the tank.

First to Phaneuf, who stood up like a man and captain here last Wednesday after his ill-timed pinch led to the Bruins’ overtime winner that appeared to put the Leafs on the brink. It seemed like an eternity ago, back when the series was 3-1, and the veteran Bruins appeared to be a two-inch putt from advancing.