Patrice Bergeron tied it with 51 seconds left in regulation then scored the game-winner 6:05 into overtime on Monday night to give Boston a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 as the Bruins turned back Toronto’s comeback with a miraculous rally of their own.
Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots for Boston, which led the best-of-seven series 3-1 before the Maple Leafs won two in a row to force a seventh game.
Toronto appeared to have the series all wrapped up extending its lead to 4-1 in the middle of the third period after Nazem Kadri put one past Rask with 14:31 to play in regulation. But the Bruins broke out of their goal scoring slump with their backs against the wall.
Nathan Horton cut the Toronto lead to 4-2 with 10:42 to play in regulation putting home a pass from Milan Lucic from the slot. Lucic would bring the Bruins even closer with 1:22 to play in regulation and the Bruins’ net empty as he finally took advantage of a juicy James Reimer rebound to make it 4-3.
Head coach Claude Julien used his team’s timeout after the goal and the Bruins went right back to work. Patrice Bergeron beat Reimer with 51 seconds to play in regulation thanks to a great screen from Zdeno Chara in front of the goal to tie the score at 4-4 and send the game into overtime.
Matt Bartkowski’s first career playoff goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 just 5:39 into the game, but it was all Maple Leafs until the final half of the third period.
Cody Franzen tied the score at 1-1 by banging in a rebound on the power play 9:35 into the first.
The teams went into the break knotted at 1-1 and it was all Maple Leafs in the second. Franzen gave the Leafs the lead 5:35 into the second when he found the back of the net on a blast from the point through a screen to make it 2-1, where it stood after two periods.
The Maple Leafs put a little distance between themselves and the Bruins in the third on goals from Phil Kessel just 2:09 into the frame and another from Kadri just over three minutes later.
Boston, however, never quit and controlled play for the duration to earn the miracle comeback win.
The Bruins were dealt a tough break from the start. Not only were top-six defensemen Andrew Ferrence and Wade Redden out with injuries, Dennis Seidenberg was hurt in the game’s first minute and saw no more action.
The Bruins now move on to square off against the winner of the Rangers and Capitals series. At press time the Rangers had a 5-0 lead with 8:00 to play in the third period. A Rangers win means the Bruins will host game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series on Thursday.