BOSTON - It is pretty telling of the incredible decade that Boston sports teams have had when one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the decade is not only the best game of the decade for Boston, but is not the best comeback. However, the seventh game of the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs is definitely the best Bruins game of the decade.
The series got off to a fairly even start for the Bruins. They won the first game by a score of 4-1, but conceded game two to Toronto, 4-2. The Bruins then won the next two games, 5-2 and 4-3 (overtime), to take a commanding lead in the series. But when Toronto roared right back with a pair of 2-1 victories, the series was sent to a seventh game. And what happened here still blows my mind to this day.
The scoring began with Matt Bartkowski of the Bruins recording his first goal of the post-season about five minutes into the game. This would be the only scoring Boston would see for a long time as Toronto took a stranglehold on the game. On a power play four minutes, later, the Leafs' Cody Franson even the game at 1-1. In the second period, it was Franson again as Toronto took a 2-1 lead, which they carried into the third period.
From there, it seemed like the Leafs were off to the races. Two minutes into the final period, Phil Kessel stormed out for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Three minutes later, Nazem Kadri netted a goal past Tuukka Rask to give Toronto a dominant 4-1 lead. They held this lead until about nine minutes into the third period, where Nathan Horton answered with his fourth goal of the playoffs.
The game was then at 4-2, which was still an astounding lead to have in a game seven of a playoff series. When the clock eventually passed to 18:38, it seemed like the Bruins were out of it. Fewer than ninety seconds remained in the game and the Bruins trailed by two goals. The series was over, it seemed.
However, Boston pulled Rask to add another skater onto the ice and the move worked perfectly as the combined efforts of Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron led to a Milan Lucic goal. Then, the unthinkable happened as thirty-one seconds later, Bergeron himself scored a goal off the heels of assists from Jaromir Jagr and David Krejci. Miraculously, the Bruins had stormed back in seconds, with the clock dwindling down, to tie the game at four goals apiece.
With the match moving to overtime, the series became a sudden death one for the seasons of the two rivals. With a few minutes of tense play, the game eventually came to an end when Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand opened up the lane for Bergeron who scored the game-winning goal.
The Bruins would go on to lose in the Stanley Cup Finals that season, but no one has forgotten the miracle comeback they orchestrated over Toronto.
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