Top 5 Most Memorable Moments from Boston Bruins’ Regular Season
2013 NHL Regular Season: Remembering the Top Five Moments for the Boston Bruins
Last week, we went through some of the biggest highlights from the Boston Bruins’ surprising playoff run. It wasn’t too difficult finding incredible moments, as the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals was filled with memories that fans will cherish for days to come. However, narrowing it down to the five best was an exercise in and of itself.
However, because of just how memorable Boston’s postseason was, people may forget the Bruins’ regular season had plenty of highlights, too. Mainly, you can start with the fact it was shortened to just 48 games.
Hockey fans watched in agony as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman clashed with NHLPA leader Donald Fehr in a nasty back-and-forth lockout negotiation that seemed to last forever. What was once labeled as a small hiccup that could easily be solved before training camp opened up suddenly became a he said, she said argument that had to remind onlookers of a high school trash-talk session.
Things began to look bleak as the annual Winter Classic was canceled. Fans feared the worst, as the possibility of a second canceled season in less than ten years began to creep towards reality. But, as hope dwindled, the two sides finally ended their squabbles and the lockout concluded. A 48 game season was on tap, and hockey was officially back.
A condensed season typically decreases the odds of generating a good amount of incredible memories. However, this was not the case in Boston. Here, now, are the top five moments from the 2013 Bruins regular season.
5. The Debut of the Jagr
Spurned at the trade deadline by Jarome Iginla, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli needed to formulate a backup plan or two to ensure he could acquire talent for Boston’s playoff run. He did so in trading for Dallas Stars forward and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr.
Though hardly in his prime at age 41, Jagr was still consistently scoring, and his legacy alone was enough hype for the move. Having to give away less than he would’ve for Iginla, Chiarelli brought some much-needed offense to Boston for a cheaper price.
Jagr made his debut in an April bout against the New Jersey Devils, and the electricity was intense both in the stands and the locker room. By acquiring a hockey icon, Boston was able to relieve fans from the letdown that was the Iginla sweepstakes and boost some life into a crowd that had grown tired from watching inconsistent play from the Bruins. Helping the cause was Jagr scoring the lone goal in Boston’s win that night. Sure it bounced off his skate, but still, it was a moment Bruins fans hardly expected to see.
4. The Comeback vs. The Rangers
Boston’s February 12 battle against the Rangers started out about as ugly as you can get. Giving up a goal per period, the Bruins were facing a 3-0 deficit, and looking terribly sloppy. It was an early example of the lifeless display Boston presented at times throughout the rest of the regular season.
David Krejci scored at just under the nine-minute mark to bring Boston within two, but it didn’t exactly bring the home fans to life. However, with the goalie pulled, Nathan Horton put one in net and the score was now 3-2 with just a minute and a half left. Surely a team who looked flat-lined just minutes beforehand wasn’t going to score twice with an empty net, right?
Wrong. Brad Marchand tied the game about 45 seconds later and the TD Garden erupted. Though the Bruins dominated the overtime frame, New York pulled out the win in a shootout. However, the loss showed the world a “never say die” attitude Boston ended up carrying with them into the postseason. If any night was a preview of the Game 7 Miracle against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was this one.
3. Hockey is Back
The amount of fans who claimed the NHL lockout had completely destroyed their affinity for hockey was high in number. Would anyone show up on January 19 as the Bruins opened the season against the Rangers? If they did, was the scene going to be ugly?
Turns out hockey was welcomed back with open arms. After a longer winter than usual, fans returned to the TD Garden with a fury, letting one and all know how important the Bruins are to Boston. The players, clearly happy to be back, gave the crowd a proper reward.
With a large amount of players returning from overseas, the Bruins looked sharp throughout the night. Milan Lucic scored the first Boston goal in almost nine months, and the Bruins took it home from there with a 3-1 win over Cup favorite New York. All was right with the world once again.
2. The Official End to the Tim Thomas Era
Thanks to a superhuman performance during Boston’s Stanley Cup Championship run in 2011, Tim Thomas will forever be a hero in New England. With that said, his follow-up year with the Bruins was marred with odd controversies, most of which were political in nature. After standing on his head en route to a Conn Smythe award, Thomas and the Bruins were bounced by the Washington Capitals in the first round the following postseason.
Thomas decided against returning in 2013, despite still technically being under contract with Boston. The Bruins managed to recover from this thanks to some backup named Tuukka Rask, so Thomas became expendable. During his self-imposed sabbatical, Thomas was eventually traded to the New York Islanders, officially ending a roller-coaster tenure in Boston.
Say what you will about his White House snub or his kooky radical statements on Facebook, no Bruins fan will ever forget Thomas. After bouncing around the globe trying to find a hockey home, the American goalie landed in Boston, won two Vezina trophies and a Cup. He may have been polarizing on his way out, but when it mattered most, Thomas brought home a prize the Bruins had been chasing since 1972.
1. Boston Strong
On April 15, the world stopped as two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring hundreds. It was a horrific event that shook the entire city to its core. The sports world showed tribute through moments of silence and messages of hope towards the broken town.
The Bruins were scheduled to play the Ottawa Senators at home that night, but the game was rightfully postponed to a later date. As a result, the following Wednesday was the first home sporting event the city of Boston would see after the tragedy, with the Bruins hosting the Buffalo Sabres. With the game came a chance to attempt normalcy, to step away from the ashes, if merely for a few hours.
The game commenced with a stirring tribute to the city of Boston, followed by the crowd singing the National Anthem in unison during a moment in which there couldn’t have been a dry eye in the house. It was a night in which fans united to show the world just how strong the city truly was.
Boston ended up losing the game in a shootout, but for most, it didn’t matter. The Bruins gave Bostonians a much needed distraction, something that was desperately needed for the suffering town. At the end of the game, per Sabres forward Thomas Vanek’s suggestion, both teams saluted the fans. It’s a moment surrounded by heartbreak, but one that will also live with fans forever as a night where sports truly mattered.