Boston forces overtime with improbable third-period comeback, win 5-4

The Canadian Press
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The Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) is congratulated by teammates after his game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period, forcing overtime where he scored the game-winner in a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarter-final Monday evening in Boston. The Bruins will advance to meet the New York Rangers in the conference semifinals starting Thursday night. For more on the NHL playoffs, see pages C2 and C3. — Photo by The Associated Press

BOSTON - Patrice Bergeron scored at 6:05 of overtime to complete a miraculous Boston comeback as the Bruins rallied to oust the Toronto Maple Leafs from the playoffs with a nail-biting 5-4 victory in Game 7 Monday night.

Bergeron, with his second of the night, ended it as the Bruins blitzed the Toronto goal. The Leafs could not clear the puck and the Bruins forward snapped home a shot.

Two late goals in the space of 31 seconds by Boston's Milan Lucic and Bergeron, with goalie Tuukka Rask off for the extra attacker, shockingly tied the game up at 4-4.

It had looked like two early goals by defenceman Cody Franson had been enough to propel Toronto into the next round of the playoffs. The Leafs led 4-1 midway through the third period when the Bruins started pulling rabbits out of their hat with three unanswered goals - the last two with the clock running out.

It marked the first time the Bruins have come back from a three-goal deficit in a playoff game since April 11, 1990, when they trailed the Hartford Whalers by a 5-2 score in the third period but went on to win 6-5.

Leading 2-1 entering the third period, Phil Kessel added an insurance goal at 2:09, poking in the puck into a gaping goal after Nazem Kadri hit the post. Kessel's fourth goal of the post-season was helped by a Bruins giveaway.

Kadri then scored on a two-one-one, banging home Kessel's rebound at 5:29 to seemingly hammer another nail in the Boston coffin.

At the other end, James Reimer seemed to have got into the Bruins' heads until Nathan Horton swept in a pass from Lucic, who swooped behind the net and then got the puck through traffic to his linemate to cut the lead to 4-2 at 9:18.

That sparked a late flurry by the Bruins and Lucic, stuffing in the puck from in close, scored with 1:22 remaining. Then Bergeron beat Reimer with 51 seconds left as hulking Bruins captain Zdeno Chara screened the Toronto goalie.

The Boston roster held a huge edge in experience when it came to playing in a Game 7. Some 20 Bruins had already experienced a Game 7, with a combined total of 105 Game 7s between them.

As a franchise, the Bruins were 12-11 in Game 7s (11-7 on home ice) compared to 12-9 for Toronto (5-8 on the road).

Organizations: Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Hartford Whalers

Geographic location: Boston, Toronto

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  • Judy
    May 14, 2013 - 13:30

    Yes, I am sure Snook will have comments on this awful game on his usual Thursday night (maybe the last one until next Fall). Pitiful indeed.

  • Jeff
    May 14, 2013 - 12:52

    Right onnnn, as Snook would say. Hang your heads in shame; the loss of this game was pitiful.

  • Mike
    May 14, 2013 - 10:43

    All is well with the world now!

  • Carmel
    May 14, 2013 - 09:48

    Don, the word "OUCH" doesn't go near describing how most of us Toronto Maple Leaf fans are feeling ater last night's game. Very unhappy, down-hearted, broken-hearted, disappointed, disbelief, and even angry, to name a few.

  • Darla
    May 14, 2013 - 08:52

    This unbelievable loss by the Leafs is an embarrassment to Canadian hockey fans, especially Toronto fans. What in the name of heavens happened to them? They literally passed over their possibility of winning the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins. If Boston do win the Cup, it will be even more of an embarrassment, and certainly frustration and anger for the Leafs' fans. This is a game that will go down in history for sure.

  • Chuck
    May 14, 2013 - 08:19

    What an overwhelming disappointment and let-down for all the Leaf fans. They had this win right in the palm of their hands, and yet lost.

  • wavy
    May 14, 2013 - 08:13

    As a Bruins fan, I gotta say, I actually feel bad for Leafs fans on this one, I really do- I was stunned like everyone else. The Leafs literally had the game stolen from them. I can't imagine being on a high like that only to see it all crash down in a matter of minutes. I don't know what's more shocking, the Leafs fall in the third or the Bruins flare for drama, procrastination and need to always do things the absolute hardest way possible. It was an epic game- I've never seen anything like it and I've been watching play-off hockey for 40 years.

  • DON
    May 14, 2013 - 08:10

    OUCH!!!

  • Don
    May 14, 2013 - 07:44

    There could be only one thing better then seeing the Leafs go down in flames last night and that would be having the "Habs" win their 25th cup, which will happen before the Leafs win their next cup.