Here’s Jake DeBrusk, accelerating, cuts in AND SCORES! JAKE DEBRUSK PUTS THE BRUINS AHEAD!
Backes wins in cleanly, McAvoy’s shot – tipped – KURALY SCORES! SEAN KURALY! THE UNLIKELY HERO!
Krug, feeding one across, Smith – SCORES!
The instant classics that we all remember, and the legendary calls. Those are just the 3 most recent legendary games, and tonight, the chances of another one spike exponentially. No matter how the Bruins fair in game 7, this game could be all of crazy, jubilating, heartbreaking, and legendary, especially playing a team like Toronto and other powerhouses (hopefully) over the next 6 weeks or so.
If you’re looking for Game 7 inspiration, just hit up Dafoomie on Youtube – an awesome channel. If you’re looking for more inspiration, I ranked the 13 classics from the Bruins modern golden age, beginning in 2008 when they made the playoffs for the first time since the lockout. This should bring back memories.
How did I go about this? Well first, they’re all Bruins wins. This would be a super downer if I included 17 s*c*nds or J**l W*ard scoring in OT. Second, these are best hockey games, so as great as winning the Stanley Cup in Game 7 was, it was a 4-0 win and the Bruins had it in control the whole time. We’re basically ranking the crazy factor here, with the importance of the game and place in the series playing a factor. No regular season games are included, because even though there have been some great regular season games, none of them can compare to these 13 instant classics, 7 of which ended in OT. A trend is that all but two of these games were played at TD Garden, which was not factored in but is also probably not a coincidence.
Let’s start with #13, a double OT win in which they were down 2-0 in the game. Buckle up.
#13 – Round 1, Game 4, 2010: Buffalo 2, Boston 3 (2OT)
The Miro Satan game. Well, 2010 was really the Miro Satan playoffs. The #13 ranking doesn’t mean this was a lousy game by any means, this was a wild game. Tyler Kennedy gave the Sabres the momentum right off the bat scoring just 2:12 into the game, and a goal from former Bruin Steve Montador gave the Sabres a 2-0 lead in the second, and heading into the third, it looked like the Sabres were going to tie the series. Scoring 3 goals on Ryan Miller seemed unlikely, especially with the way the Bruins had struggled to score most of the year. An early powerplay in the third saw David Krejci pick up a loose puck in front and put it home, and Patrice Bergeron tie 4 minutes later. The Bruins carried the momentum into OT, when Miller robbed Bergeron, Blake Wheeler, and Miroslav Satan on different occasions to save the game, and Tuukka Rask’s left post saved the game off a Toni Lydman point shot. It was all for nought, however, when Michael Ryder fed Satan off the rush and he went backhand past Miller, earning the nickname Miro the Hero, also scoring the series clincher in game 6. If Buffalo wins that game, they go back home with a series tied, and likely still win game 5 to go up 3-2. Any 2OT game is an instant classic, as we will see, but coming back from down 2 and Satan’s heroics were the difference between a 3-1 lead and a a 2-2 series tie.
#12 – Round 1, Game 5, 2017: Boston 3, Ottawa 2 (2OT)
The Kuraly Game. This game had similar circumstances to game 4 against Buffalo, but this one was an elimination game, and it looked like the Bruins were dead in the water. Down 2-0, David Pastrnak and the top line got the Bruins back in the game. Late in the period, Sean Kuraly, playing in just his 13th NHL games, looked to get a puck in front, and it bounced off an Ottawa defender and in for his first NHL goal. All of a sudden, a team that was all but done was one goal away from forcing a game 6 at home. Two late power plays for Ottawa were killed, and off to overtime we went. The Bruins outscored the Senators 2-0 in OT1, the issue was that neither goal counted. A Kuraly net drive later jammed in by Noel Acciari was called off because of a ridiculous goalie interference call, then just minutes later, a David Backes shot was covered in the crease by the hand of Ottawa’s JG Pageau before crossing the goalline, resulting in neither a goal or a penalty shot. So to double OT we went, where Tuukka Rask robbed Kyle Turris on a break (I remember this specifically because I thought for sure the season was over as soon as Turris caught the pass). A minute later, Charlie McAvoy’s shot was knocked down right on to the backhand of Sean Kuraly, who whacked it into the back of the net for his second of the game, and second of his career. A combined 18 NHL games (8 regular season games, all from Kuraly) connected for the game winner. A frustrating but ultimately awesome game to keep the season alive, and although they would be eliminated in Game 6, this game made the 2017 season and playoff run a positive, and allowed fans to think positively about the future of the team. There was significance in this game beyond keeping the season alive for 1 more game.
#11 – Round 2, Game 2, 2014: Montreal 3, Boston 5
This one flies a little under the radar because of the way the series ended, but what a comeback this was and how quickly it happened. The Habs were up 2-1 heading into the third, threatening to take a 2-0 series lead, winning both games on the road. I was at this game, and the Habs got a powerplay early in the third. Two Habs fans behind me said “if they score here it’s over!” Sure enough, a Thomas Vanek deflection in front gave the Habs a 3-1 lead early in the third. It wasn’t looking good, but with a little over 9 minutes left, Brad Marchand posted up off the rush and found Dougie Hamilton, who ripped it top shelf, and the Bruins had life. 3 minutes later, Patrice Bergeron tied the game on one of the craziest bounces you’ll ever see, when an innocent shot from the half wall literally skipped off the ice like a stone and over Carey Price’s glove. Then, with just 3:32 left in the game Torey Krug found Riley Smith for the game winner. In 6 minutes, the Bruins went from down 2 to in the lead. Milan Lucic added an empty netter to make it 4 goals in 8 minutes to tie the series. Sometimes, nothing matters and the opposite of what you expect to happen happens. Those guys weren’t too happy
#10 – Round 2, Game 1, 2010: Philadelphia 4, Boston 5 (OT)
The Marc Savard game, and it was a wacky one. The Bruins started off the second round with a bang, going up 2-0 on goals by Steve Begin (!!!) and Bergeron. Ryan Parent (???) made it 2-1, then Miro Satan scored for the third consecutive time to make it 3-1. Chris Pronger and Krejci traded goals, and the Bruins seemed to have it in hand at 4-2, but the Bruins seemed to have a lot of things in hand this series and none of them worked out. Bruins killer Danny Briere assisted on a Mike Richards powerplay marker, then tied the game with a goal of his own with just 3:22 left, and we went to overtime. The Bruins came out flying in OT, only to be shut down by Brian Boucher’s heroics. Tuukka Rask robbed Daniel Carcillo on a breakaway, and somehow, almost 14 minutes were played before there was a winner. Marc Savard’s blast from the right circle won it, in Savard’s first game back from the concussion he sustained from Matt Cooke. One of the greatest goals in Bruins history, not by skill, but by sheer awesomeness. Savard was, and still is beloved in Boston, and for him to score the OT winner in his return to the lineup was something special.
#9 – Round 1, Game 7, 2018: Toronto 4, Boston 7
Hilariously similar to the game that took place 5 years prior. In both 2013 and 2018, The Bruins had gone up 3-1 in the series in somewhat dominant fashion, and let their cushion slip away to a Game 7, and were down 1 heading into the third. In the 2018 version, goaltending and defense were optional. Patrick Marleau’s two first period goals were each matched by Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen goals before Bergeron gave the Bruins the lead after the first. Things changed in the second, when Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen gave the Leafs the lead heading into the third. The feeling was bad, they had just lost two in a row and played an awful second period, and were just 20 minutes away from a magically season turning into disappointment. Then BAM – A Torey Krug blast off the faceoff tied it up and gave the game a whole new feel. Jake DeBrusk turned Jake Gardiner into the goat for the game winner, and David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand followed up with insurance. A four goal third period to come back and win game 7, it doesn’t get much better than that – *checks list* oh yes it does.
#8 – Round 1, Game 5, 2011: Montreal 1, Boston 2 (OT)
Horton Game number 1 (there are like 8 of them). This game is often forgotten in terms of importance to the 2011 Cup run, but not only was it a game they had to win, in featured two of the best saves we’ve ever seen. There weren’t any goals until the third, but in the first, Michael Ryder made the best save by a non-goaltender you will ever seen, literally making a flashy glove save to rob Tomas Plekanec while Tim Thomas was out of position. Brad Marchand’s playoff heroics got off to a roaring start with 15 minutes and change to go in the 3rd, before Jeff Halpern tied it with 6 minutes to go (this is not the last we will hear of Jeff Halpern). First OT passed by, and then 5 minutes into 2OT, Tim Thomas made possibly the greatest save in Bruins history, making a miraculous side to side save on Brian Gionta on a two on one. Nathan Horton would end it off of a bounce from a Andrew Ference shot to put the Bruins up 3-2 in the series. This is won of those “what if” games. What if Ryder didn’t flash the leather? What if Thomas didn’t do the impossible? Do they still win the cup? It’s very possible that the answers is no, and they lose in Round 1, and Claude Julien is fired and the rest of the dominoes fall. Though the lost Game 6 and Game 7 went to overtime, the importance of this Game 5 win cannot be understated.
#7 – Round 3, Game 4, 2013: Pittsburgh 0, Boston 1
The… McQuaid game??? This was a Game 4 with the Bruins up 3-0 in the series, and there were a few penalties, so it ranks second among 1-0 wins to go to the Stanley Cup Final, but this game, and series felt personal. Jarome Iginla would have been a Bruin had he not asked to be traded to the Penguins instead, and Iginla had his fingerprints all over this game. Nobody expected the Bruins to be up 3-0 against the mighty Penguins, limiting them to just 2 goals the whole series, but here we were. Scoreless after two, the best chances came from posts off the sticks of Kaspars Daugavins and Pascal Dupuis. But 5 minutes into the third, the unlikeliest of heroes sent the Bruins to the cup final, when Adam McQuaid came off the bench and took a pass from Marchand, blasting it top corner over the glove of Tomas Vokoun. It was a great shot, but it looked like it got a tiny piece of Jarome Iginla’s stick to help the puck ramp up real quick… karma. What made this game a true classic though, was the final minute, when to this day I’m not sure how the Penguins didn’t score. With the goalie pulled, Evgeni Malkin waited out Rask and seemed to have a wide open net, but couldn’t slide it past the three Bruins sprawled out in the crease, leading to a mad scramble and the Bruins clearing the puck. With just 2 seconds left, Jarome Iginla found himself with the puck in the high slot. After Jarome Iginla took that shot, he found himself eliminated from the playoffs while the team he rejected a trade to moved on to the cup final. The Penguins would end the series with twice as many loses (4) as they had goals (2)
#6 – Round 3, Game 3, 2013: Pittsburgh 1, Boston 2 (2OT)
The Greg Campbell game. The Bruins hadn’t only dominated the first two games in Pittsburgh on the scoreboard, they straight up bullied the Penguins. Sidney Crosby was all out of sorts trying to go at Zdeno Chara (bad idea), Bergeron fought Evgeni Malkin, it was a mess for the Penguins, but this game could change it all. The difference between a 2-1 series and a 3-0 choke hold. The building was rocking, and then exploded when David Krejci continued his ridiculous playoffs with a goal just over a minute in. It was relatively quiet until the middle of the second when Chris Kunitz potted the Penguins second and final goal of the series. Later in the second, Gregory Campbell played a shift that will forever live in hockey history. Diving in front of a Malkin slapper, Campbell’s leg broke on impact, yet, he managed to get up and finish his shift, even deflecting away a pass and continuing to get in shooting lanes. It was Campbell’s last shift of the season as the crowd chanted his name as he struggled off the ice. Malkin hit a post at the end of the third, and it went to OT. It was back and forth, Nathan Horton had multiple chances to make it another Horton Game with a missed breakaway and post. It wasn’t until 4:41 left in OT2 when an innocent looking 2 on 3 rush saw Marchand find Bergeron to deflect it in to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead in the series. The series was one of the most surprising dominant efforts in recent memory, and game 3 was nothing short of an instant classic.
#5 – Round 1, Game 4, 2011: Boston 4, Montreal 3 (OT)
Similar to Game 5 of this series, the importance of this win can’t be understated. After a win in Game 3 to get back in the series and a trip to Lake Placid between Games 3 and 4, the Bruins went down 3-1 in the second and it once again was not looking good for the 2011 Bruins. Andrew Ference’s blast and subsequent glove malfunction brought the Bruins within 1, and Brad Marchand fed Patrice Bergeron to tie it up before the end of the second. But then, for not the last time in the series, a PK Subban blast put the Bruins on the brink, but then again, also for not the last time in the series, Chris Kelly would score a big goal late in the third, this time to tie it up and eventually send the game to OT. This was a goal the Bruins needed. A minute into OT, Tim Thomas robbed Plekanec point blank, and a minute later, Rich Peverley, Kelly, and Ryder broke in on a 3 on 1. Peverley missed the net, but it bounced right to Kelly who spun it across the crease to Ryder, and Ryder finished it to tie the series. The Bruins faced adversity in this game, down 3-1 and 4-3 in the third, they came back to win a must win game. This was a microcosm of the 2011 playoff run, and team as a whole.
#4 – Round 1, Game 7, 2011: Montreal 3, Boston 4, (OT)
The Horton Game, for real this time. This was the real Horton game. The third game from this series on the list supplied one of the biggest goals in Bruins history – seriously – maybe the biggest. A Johnny Rocket put the Bruins up 1-0 just four minutes in, and Mark Recchi followed it up two minutes later to make it 2-0. For maybe the first time in the series, the Bruins were in control. That was until half way through the first when Yannick Weber, who has only scored goals against the Bruins in his career (don’t look it up), pull the Habs within 1. In the second, the Bruins terrible powerplay turned even worse, when a sloppy turnover by Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg led to a Plekanec breakaway, and he finished, and it was a new game. Halfway through the third, Roman Hamrlik took one of the most infamous dives in history, giving the Bruins an odd man rush and Chris Kelly burying the rebound to give the Bruins the lead in game 7. Two minutes later, Kelly had a breakaway with a chance to finish the game, but he was stone by Price. Price again saved the Habs season by robbing Recchi point blank, flashing the leather. With less than 3 to go, Patrice Bergeron was called on an awful, phantom high sticking call on James Wisniewski, and Subban capitalized, blasting a one timer over the glove of Tim Thomas to tie it up with under two minutes to go. This was maybe the climax of the Bruins/Habs modern day rivalry: Game 7, OT, with the Bruins organizational plans on the line. Subban rimmed the puck along the boards, Adam McQuaid pinched to keep it in, the won the battle for the loose puck to get it to Lucic, who fed Horton at the point… “the drive SCOOOOOOOORRRrrrreeeeee. THE BRUINS. KNOCK OUT MONTREAAAAAL!”. Horton shot deflected off Jeff Halpern’s skate (I told you we hadn’t heard the last of him) and by Price, to advance the Bruins. An unbelievable back and forth game featuring one of the goals wins in Bruins history… and this is only #4.
#3 – Round 3, Game 7, 2011: Tampa Bay 0, Boston 1
The Horton Game. The best 1-0 game in NHL history? Yup. No question. There wasn’t a stoppage until almost 4 minutes into the game, which was indicative of the play throughout the game. Not a single penalty was called, and both goalies were remarkable at the ages of 36 and 40. Tim Thomas said that his biggest fear was that not that he was going to allow a goal, but that Dwayne Roloson wasn’t. The game’s only goal was, quite literally, a perfectly executed goal off the stick of Nathan Horton. Starting with the faceoff near the bench just outside of the Tampa Bay zone, David Krejci won the faceoff back to Andrew Ference who controlled it back in his own zone, and Tampa set up its 1-3-1 neutral zone trap. Krejci swung, and Ference skated it slightly, threading a perfect pass to Krejci, who gained the zone on left side, while Horton drove the net. Krejci put the pass right on Horton’s tape for the tap in, and though there were still over 8 minutes left, it really felt like that was going to be enough. Tampa had trouble pulling the goalie, as they couldn’t gain the zone. An offside whistle couldn’t even be heard, being drowned out by the crowd. Honestly, from TV, that was the loudest I’ve ever heard TD Garden. An unbelievable atmosphere for the greatest 1-0 game in NHL history, to send the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final
#2 – Round 1, Game 6, 2008: Montreal 4, Boston 5
This game seems to be forgotten because the series ended in a Game 7 loss just days later, but what an unbelievable game this was, and it was more than just a Game 6 win. This win was the beginning of the Bruins modern golden age. This game is made Boston a hockey city again, and for the NHL to take notice about how good this Bruins team is going to be. To put how crazy this 3rd period was in short, it started 2-1 Habs and ended 5-4 Bruins. Phil Kessel’s beauty was the Bruins only goal to that point, and the Bruins season was in the balance, but a 4th line goal featuring a Peter Schaffer pass to Vladimir Sobotka tied it up at 2 early in the third. With just under 10 minutes to go, François Bouillon got a bounce off a Bruins deflection past Thomas to give the Habs the lead once again. 2 minutes later, Milan Lucic tipped an Aaron Ward shot past Carey Price to tie the game. 3 minutes later, Marco Sturm fed a cross-ice pass to Phil Kessel, who finished it for his second of the game, and as Jack Edwards described it: “THIS BUILDING IS VIBRATING”. That was under 11 seconds later when Chris Higgins tied it for the Habs. Mayhem. Then, a minute and a half later, Marco Sturm wheeled one on net, it was blocked and bounced right back to him, and all he had to do was wait out Price and put it top shelf, and he did. One of the most exciting goals in Bruins history in one of the most exciting, and most meaningful games in Bruins history. The season ended in the Bell Centre just 2 days later, but this game meant something big. It sent the message to pay attention to the Bruins, because they were for real.
#1 – Round 1, Game 7, 2013: Toronto 4, Boston 5 (OT)
Every time I watch the highlights of this game I still can’t believe it happened. This game was a mess for 49 minutes. Matt Bartkowski (yes, the same Matt Bartkowski) put the Bruins up 1-0 early, but 4 straight Leafs goals, including two from Cody Franson, made it 4-1 Leafs. The Bruins had started the shortened season out so well, but had backed into the playoffs to play a not very good Leafs team who were carried by James Reimer. That’s what would have made this loss so tough. Down 4-1, Jack Edward’s famous words rang throughout New England: “The Toronto Maple Leafs, unless they suffer a colossal collapse, are going to eliminate the Boston Bruins.” Milan Lucic fed Nathan Horton to make it 4-2, and the door was cracked back open. Matt Frattin got a breakaway with under 5 minutes left with a chance to put it away, but he couldn’t finish the back hand on Rask. Looking back on it, this game was over. A two goal lead with less than a minute and a half left? That’s a win every time. A Chara one timer deflected in front, and Reimer pushed it right on to the sick of Lucic who made it 4-3. Claude Julien once again pulled Rask, and the Bruins gained the zone. Bergeron at the point, and Zdeno Chara the only defenseman on the ice, standing in front of Reimer’s face. Jagr. Bergeron. Krejci. Bergeron. SCOOORES. Unbelievable. In the final seconds of the game, Rich Peverley had the chance to win it, but the puck bounced over his stick, and we went to OT. Though it was a tie game heading to overtime in Game 7, it didn’t feel that way. It felt as if the Bruins had just won. However, people forget that Rask robbed a Joffrey Lupul one-timer in overtime with a beautiful stick save point blank. You know what happens next. BERGERON! BERGERON! BERGERON! I still can’t believe it happened.
So there it is. The 13 instant classics, ranked. Where will tonight rank?
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