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NHL Boston Bruins

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Boston Bruins Quarterfinal Round Recap

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A look back at the roller coaster

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

What a roller coaster ride of a Stanley Cup playoff quarterfinal series that was for the Boston Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It ended where it began: right at home, in front of the TD Garden crowd, putting up a statement win, giving their fans something great to cheer about once it was over—yes, just like riding the roller coaster at your favorite theme park.

Of course, the middle parts, like on any good roller coaster, were where the real ups and downs lay in this series.

There was the fact that the Bruins went up to Air Canada Centre and nabbed two wins in Toronto’s home barn, causing the large crowds in Maple Leaf Square to turn as quiet as church mice. But that came after the Leafs evened the series at one.

The true difficulty, the most chaotic part of the roller coaster, came in trying to nab that fourth win. In that aspect, the Bruins found the most difficulty of this first series and quite nearly saw their season end early. First, Toronto won 2-1 in game five. Actually, Toronto took two games by a 2-1 margin, though game six was the most easily forgettable of the entire quarterfinal showdown due to the Bruins’ poor quality of play.

Then it looked like they were going to be one and done for the second year in a row. Truly, it did. Down three goals late in the third, people leaving the stadium (whether or not you find that ethical), woe and despair abounding—but this time, it was not to be. The players saw the empty seats. They realized that they could suddenly be on the way to having the group split. They decided that maybe their city could use some cheering.

So, they pulled off a huge overtime upset, the first of its kind in NHL history. Now it’s on to the New York Rangers and the challenges they’ll face in the semifinals, but before that, here’s a look back at the quarterfinal series.

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Game 1: 4-1, Boston

game 1
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Goals scored by: Wade Redden, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk

When Redden scored 15 minutes after Toronto had quickly opened the scoring in this game, it caused a lot of Bruins fans to chuckle in amusement. His assist three minutes later on Horton’s power play goal kept up the amusement. Redden? Who knew! Sure, Krejci eclipsed Redden in points in this win, but Krejci is known for his playoff beast mode activation while Redden came out of nowhere.

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Game 2: 4-2, Toronto

game 2
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Goals scored by: Nathan Horton, Johnny Boychuk

Maybe this was the first sign of trouble in this team’s ability to swiftly close out the series. In front of a home crowd, riding off a big win, this time Toronto got the best of the Bruins thanks to production from three key players. A goal from Phil Kessel re-ignited the old story about the trade for Tyler Seguin. Andrew Ference sat out this game thanks to a short suspension for an elbowing incident in game one.

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Game 3: 5-2, Boston

game 3
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Goals scored by: Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille, David Krejci

It was the first time the Maple Leafs got to experience a home playoff game in nearly a decade. But the Bruins played the part of party-spoilers, nabbing a big win in a hostile barn. McQuaid and Peverley had the Bruins up by two by six minutes into the second (and hey, Jaromir Jagr got his first point of the playoffs). When Toronto responded to spoil Tuukka Rask’s shutout, the Bruins answered yet again with two goals, including a beautiful unassisted shorty from Paille. Krejci put a bow on it with an empty-netter, though he would have a big game yet to come.

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Game 4: 4-3 (OT), Boston

game 4
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Goals scored by: Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci

Being down two to nothing can be demoralizing, but in this game, the Bruins accepted it as a challenge to overcome. They did just that, breaking through on an early second period power play chance thanks to Bergeron. Then, Krejci took over, scoring twice in a four-minute span (each time with helpers from his captain). They were not able to secure a regulation win, but leave it to David—his goal in extra time not only nabbed the win, but also his second postseason hat trick.

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Game 5: 2-1, Toronto

game 5
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Goal scored by: Zdeno Chara

This time, getting down by two to Toronto did not end well for Boston in their first chance to wrap up this series. Instead, it was a less-than-satisfying showing by the home team, a loss though not for a lack of trying (the Bruins took 44 shots overall). The lone bright spot was captain Z’s goal midway through the third to, at the very least, deny James Reimer the shutout.

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Game 6: 2-1, Toronto

game 6
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Goal scored by: Milan Lucic

If game five was not stellar, game six is the agonizing game you want to immediately forget. It was truly the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad game—in Toronto once more, giving their fans something worth cheering as all of the goals came in the third period. With two quick strikes in less than 10 minutes, Toronto was ahead once again. Though Boston once again denied the shutout, this time they made an effort for about half a minute at the end of the third. Too little, too late. Now this series would go all the way to seven, now fans were worried about the future and now the team had to stay the night in Toronto because of airplane problems. Things weren’t looking good.

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Game 7: 5-4 (OT), Boston

game 7
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Goals scored by: Matt Bartkowski, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron

A game for the ages, though it almost wasn’t. This was almost another terrible end to a season, almost the reason for some potentially severe staffing changes, almost a nightmare all over again. But then it wasn’t. Toronto had put up a strong showing, scoring three goals in a row, putting the home team down 4-1 and watching as some of the Garden seats emptied. A lot of people lost faith. Even team president Cam Neely felt unsettled. Lucic's dad stopped watching and went to bed.

Then, a miracle, a comeback unlike any other in hockey and among the finest in all of pro sports: down three goals, the Bruins scored once, twice, thrice, forcing overtime. Bergeron became the man of the hour—no, the lifetime, probably—never needing to pay for beer in Boston ever again with his overtime game- and then a series-winning goal.