Bruins stun Leafs in Game Seven
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Definitely not the way anyone figured this would go. Except in Hollywood, perhaps.
Sparked by four unanswered goals from midway through the first period through the first half of the third, the Toronto Maple Leafs then surrendered four straight goals themselves, and the Boston Bruins claimed a wild, incredible 5-4 win in overtime Monday night at TD Garden in Boston. With the win, the Bruins claimed the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal four-games-to-three...and sent the Leafs home for the season with a crushing defeat.
It was the first time in Stanley Cup Playoff history for a team to overcome a three-goal 3rd period deficit in a Game 7.
It was mostly all downhill for the B's after Matt Bartkowski put Boston on the board at 5:39 of the first period on an unassisted goal. Toronto's Cody Franson responded with the first of back-to-back scoring plays on a power play goal at 9:35 into the period, and the first period ended in a 1-1 draw.
Franson then put the Leafs up to stay 5:48 into the second, with assists from Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovsky, and goalie James Reimer continually thwarted the Bruins' scoring chances during the remainder of the period.
Trailing 2-1 entering the 3rd, former Bruin Phil Kessel supplied a right uppercut to his former mates' chins, scoring just 2:09 into the period on feeds from Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk. The alleged knockout punch came just 3:20 later as Kadri took a pass from Kessel and Jake Gardiner to make it 4-1 Toronto.
The Bruins did rally, however, as Nathan Horton scored his 4th playoff goal of the series at 9:18, and with just 1:22 left in regulation, Milan Lucic brought Boston within one thanks to a feed from Zdeno Chara. Then, Patrice Bergeron - with an extra skater on the ice after goaltender Tuukka Rask was pulled - popped home the tying score with just :50 seconds remaining in regulation.
Three straight goals, with two in a :32 second span, pulled the Bruins from certain playoff defeat into possible playoff survival...by peppering Reimer with 17 shots on goal after managing just 13 through the first two periods.
In overtime, the rally continued as Bergeron took aim on Reimer and fired after taking the feed from Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. Bergeron's shot found the net, and the Bruins completed their amazing comeback from a three-goal deficit at 13:55 of the extra period.
The Game Seven comeback with four unanswered goals in the 3rd period and overtime will send the Bruins into the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the New York Rangers, beginning Thursday night at TD Garden.