I have never seen anything like this before. Was it a comeback or a collapse? Either way, words cannot describe what happened in Boston on Monday night. Game seven between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins will go down in NHL history as a classic. It was a classic because of the outcome, but also because of the city of Boston.
Everything changed on April 15th in Boston. Two brothers bombed the famous Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring many more. The city was shaken and distraught. Even though it was over a month ago it is not forgotten and Boston will take any good news.
In a time of need, many turn to team sports. Instances like the Boston Marathon bombing are meant to cause chaos and break apart communities. Sports allow the community to come together and show those who mean them harm that they are still strong, if not stronger. Sports also give those affected a much needed distraction from the pain and grief they are suffering. Remember the Bruins game after the bombing? As soon as the National Anthem started the entire crowd drowned out the singer.
Besides New York and Chicago, is there another city that loves their sports as much as Boston? No.
The Boston Bruins held a 3-1 lead in the series, and the city and experts were certain the team was going to clinch. They lost game 5. They lost game 6. They looked deflated, worn out. They would start the game on fire, but lose all energy by the end. I picked Boston to win the series, but going into game 7 I thought Toronto would win.
Boston was so strong in the first period. They scored right away and would keep the puck in Toronto’s zone. It was exciting and TD Garden was pumped. I even had doubts about my pick going into the game.
But then Cody Fransen scored a power play goal. Things started to change, but Boston was still playing so well. It started downhill in the second period, and Franson’s second goal in the second period silenced the Garden. The two goals by Toronto in the third period had Bruins fans leaving the garden with 14:00 left in the game.
Nathan Horton scored at 9:18 to make it 4-2 but it was not until 1:22 that changed the game. Milan Lucic scored and then Patrice Bergeron scored with 51 seconds to tie the game.
In the last minute, literally the last minute, Toronto lost it. They were in complete control until 1:22 was left on the clock. I have seen teams lose a game 7 with a gradual collapse, but I have never seen a team do a complete 180 in less than a minute.
Overtime in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is quite possibly the second most exciting time. Overtime in a game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals obviously takes the cake.
The Garden was hopping. Everyone was singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of their lungs. Finally. They had something to cheer about and the Bruins did not let them down.
Boston kept the spirit and drive alive. They kept the puck in Toronto’s zone and it was Bergeron who came through for the team with the game-winner. The crowd was louder for this goal than his first goal, if that was even possible.
Boston won. The Bruins advanced to the second round. It might seem minor to most, but for Bostonians thrown into tragedy, they will take any victory. It is a victory for the team, but also a victory for the city. It allows them to once again come together and tell those who tried to bring them down that they are stronger than ever.
They are Boston strong.