The Boston Bruins scored two goals in 31 seconds during the final minutes of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night before winning in overtime to advance to the second round of the NHL Playoffs. The Maple Leafs looked to have the game under control with a 4-1 lead early in the third period, but the Bruins rallied back and erased the three-goal deficit in front of a sold out crown at TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1966-67, and they will now have to wait another year, or longer, as they fell apart in the final minutes on Monday.
Both teams were aggressive to start the game, and the Bruins jumped out to an early lead when Matt Bartkowski scored his first goal of the playoffs just over five minutes into the first period. The Maple Leafs responded by tying the game at one off Cody Franson’s powerplay goal less than four minutes later.
Franson found the back of the net again in the second period to give the Maple leafs a 2-1 lead going into the third. Things started getting interesting in the final frame, as the Maple Leafs lit the lamp twice in the first 5 1/2 minutes.
The Bruins’ crowd had fallen silent until Nathan Horton gave Boston a glimmer of hope with his fourth goal of the playoffs midway through the period. They were desperate in the final minutes as they began firing the puck on net in hopes of beating Leafs’ goaltender James Reimer to force overtime.
They did just that as Tuuka Rask was sent to the bench for an extra skater. With 1:22 remaining, Milan Lucic tapped in a rebound off a slapshot from Zdeno Chara that cut the Maple Leafs’ lead to one.
The crowd was back in it, and the Bruins fed off their energy to find the back of the net again just 31 seconds later. With a screen in front of James Reimer, center Patrice Bergeron threw the puck on net from the top of the zone that sneaked past the young goaltender to tie the game at three and make way for a dramatic finish.
Bergeron wasn’t done yet as he netted the final tally six minutes into overtime to send the Maple Leafs’ home for good. Reimer did all he could on the play, and made save after save before a rebound slid outside the crease and into Bergeron’s stick for the game winner.
“It was one of the crazy ones I’ve been part of,” Bergeron said after the comeback win in Game 7. “We found a way, not necessarily the way we would have liked to play the whole game.”
The Boston Bruins are now the first NHL team ever to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It wasn’t pretty, but it surely had the make-up of an instant classic in “Beantown.”
The Bruins will now face the New York Rangers in the second round as they beat the Washington Capitals in Game 7 on Monday night as well.
Can the Boston Bruins ride the momentum into the series with the Rangers after their stunning comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs?
[Image via Michael Miller]