Game 7 isn't anything new for a handful of Bruins veterans. Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask have appeared in plenty of them throughout their careers -- in fact, Chara will be playing in his 14th Wednesday night, the most in NHL history.
Chara has always had a huge impact on the defensive end helping out in front of the net and embracing his role as team leader. Bergeron and Marchand have both had major roles offensively for the Bruins and come up big in some of the most important games in recent Bruins history.
Rask has spent time between the pipes for a considerable amount of time this decade and although he’s let up much more than he would’ve liked, we’ve seen a new fire in his eyes this season that bodes well for Boston. They’ll look to be on the right side of history Wednesday night for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final when they host the St. Louis Blues.
The Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2010 pitted the Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers and ended with a historic comeback from the Flyers on Boston’s home ice. After blowing a 3-0 series lead, the Bruins appeared to be well on their way to bouncing back in Game 7. With the Bruins on the power play, Zdeno Chara ripped a slap shot from the point that was deflected and put home by teammate Michael Ryder for the first goal of the game. The Bruins would then score two more to go up 3-0 in the decisive game, but the Flyers came storming back just as they had in the series as a whole. A young Rask saw four pucks go by him through the remainder of the game and the Bruins offense couldn’t respond with anything. Tuukka’s first Game 7 was a disastrous one.
In the 2011 postseason, the Bruins won three Game 7s en route to winning the Stanley Cup. They matched up with their rival Montreal Canadiens at home in the first round. In the first few minutes, Brad Marchand assisted on the game-opening goal, and he and Bergeron dominated possession and chances most of the game. The third period saw P.K. Subban find a hole for a clutch goal that tied the game up at 3-3 before heading to a sudden death overtime. Zdeno Chara tallied five hits while a few former Bruins came up huge with more than a couple season-saving defensive plays in overtime. Their defensive effort proved to be enough before a David Krejci faceoff win led to some tough puck movement in the corner before Nathan Horton faced up in front of the net and fired a game-winning rocket past Carey Price in a 4-3 victory.
In the Eastern Conference Finals that year, the Bruins played host to the Tampa Bay Lightning to cap off an intense series. Two full periods saw no action on the scoreboard but it wasn’t from a lack of trying. Marchand and Bergeron combined for a handful of great looks but Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson came up huge for the majority of this one. In the third period the Bruins snuck their way past Tampa Bay’s 1-3-1 defense on a beautiful rush up the ice and Krejci fed linemate Nathan Horton for the game's lone goal as the Bruins went on to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 21 years.
The Bruins traveled north of the border for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks. Marchand and Bergeron combined for the game-opening goal, with Marchand setting up his center. In the second period the Bruins took a commanding 2-0 lead. Dennis Seidenburg let one rip from the point but Marchand followed it the whole way in. He grabbed the puck off the rebound, circled around the net, and snuck one past Roberto Luongo for the second goal of the game. A 2-0 lead wasn’t a comfortable enough lead in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Bergeron got on the break while shorthanded and with a defender on either side was able to force the puck past Luongo to extend their lead. Up 3-0, Marchand put in an empty netter to put the B’s up 4-0 and that was all she wrote.
The 2012 NHL playoffs were a different story, as this time the favored Bruins fell to Braden Holtby and the upstart Capitals on home ice in Game 7 of the first round. Chara was strong defensively and Marchand was mixing things up, but ultimately the Bruins lost 2-1 in overtime. The series as a whole was a disappointing one for Marchand and Bergeron, as they combined for just one goal and three assists in the seven games.
The 2013 Eastern Conference first round matchup between the Bruins and Maple Leafs resulted in a Game 7 for the history books. It was a high scoring affair and featured an unbelievable late-game comeback from the Bruins. The Maple Leafs built up a dominant 4-1 lead with 13 minutes to go in regulation, but the Bruins weren't about to fold. Nathan Horton buried one at the 10-minute mark to bring it within two. The Bruins were down two goals with 1:30 left on the clock. Just about everyone in the building was convinced it was over. Then Chara let one rip from the point that was put back into the net by Milan Lucic and it just barely started to creep into everyone’s head that this could be possible in the final minute. Just like that, Krejci fed Bergeron at the blue line and let it fly to tie the game at four with 50 seconds to go. Three goals in 10 minutes and the Bruins forced overtime in a legendary Game 7. Bergeron put home the game-winning goal in overtime to complete the comeback and the Bruins would snatch Game 7 over the Maple Leafs.
The Montreal Canadiens put a goal on the board in the first three minutes of the 2014 semifinals against the host Boston Bruins. Boston had a lot of bad puck luck throughout this series and it proved true again in the second period when the Canadiens extended their lead to two after a loose puck fell right to the stick of a Montreal forward that dished it to the opposite side for a shot just over Rask’s left shoulder. In the final minutes of the second period, the Bruins were finally able to get a shot past Carey Price. Chara ended up with the puck on the right side and fed a cutting Krejci who dumped the puck back to Torey Krug for a tipped shot cutting Montreal’s lead down to just one. Late in the third the Canadiens were able to get another great look on net that ricocheted off Chara’s skate and snuck past Rask. The Bruins weren’t able to crawl back and the Canadiens stole Game 7 on the road 3-1.
In the first round of the 2018 postseason, Sean Kuraly was called for a tripping penalty to start the game and the Maple Leafs capitalized to take a 1-0 lead early for Game 7 in Boston. This game was back and forth the whole way with the Bruins leading 3-2 after one thanks to goals from Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Bergeron. Then the Leafs scored twice in the second to take a 4-3 lead into the third. Early in the third, Marchand tied up with Hyman before Krejci came to his teammate's defense. Moments later Torey Krug let one rip from the blue line that tied the game at four with 18 minutes to go. DeBrusk was the hero that put the Bruins ahead and they wouldn’t look back, winning Game 7, 7-4, in front of their home crowd.
The Bruins and Maple Leafs love to meet in the first round and it’s always competitive. They shared their third seven-game series in seven years this spring, with Boston coming out on top once again. During their 2019 matchup in Boston, it was clear from the start that Rask was locked and loaded. He would finish Game 7 saving 32 shots on 33 attempts. Joakim Nordstrom put one in the back of the net and Marcus Johannsen got involved too as the Bruins took a 2-0 lead. In the second period the Maple Leafs put their only goal past Rask. In another very physical Bruins-Leafs matchup, Sean Kuraly was able to get on the board and Charlie Coyle’s empty-netter sealed a 4-1 victory. The Bruins were fairly in control this game and never let the Maple Leafs get within striking distance. It was also the first truly great performance from Rask in a Game 7, as he had given up three or more goals in each of his previous four Game 7s.
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