Tiny oral history: Bruins' 2013 Game 7 miracle vs. Leafs

From ESPN - April 16, 2018

The Boston Bruins entered their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, having finished five points better in the regular season. Through four games, everything went as expected: The Bruins had a 3-1 series lead.

Then the Leafs won Game 5. Then they won Game 6. Then, in Game 7 at Boston on May 13, the Leafs jumped out to a 4-1 lead by the 5:29 mark of the third period. It looked as if Toronto would complete the comeback in convincing fashion. Then again, there's a reason the Leafs have been planning their next Stanley Cup parade since last winning in 1967, and the reason is devastating moments like this: The Bruins scored three goals in 10 minutes and 42 seconds during the third period, including twice in 31 seconds with goalie Tuukka Rask pulled, before center Patrice Bergeron won the game at 6:05 of overtime.

As the two teams face each other in the playoffs for the first time since one of Boston sports' greatest miracles -- and one of Toronto sports' greatest meltdowns -- here's how it all played out five years ago, in the words of those who experienced it:

Milan Lucic, former Bruins wing: Pretty crazy series. We dominated them to take a 3-1 lead, and then next thing you know it's Game 7, going into the third period down by a goal. We were not really in a bad spot, being down by a goal. But then all of a sudden -- bang, bang! -- you are down 4-1 with about 14 minutes left, and you are like, "Oh God, is the season really going to come to an end like this?"

Jack Edwards, play-by-play voice of the Bruins on NESN: Not only were the Bruins toast, but we were deciding what kind of jam to put on that toast. [Analyst Andy Brickley] and I, in that last break before [Nathan] Horton scored to launch that comeback at 4-2, were actually discussing how we were going to do the autopsy during the game. Because it was a three-goal game and we realized that the later it got, the more our audience was going to hemorrhage. So we were going through the triage on how we were going to keep this audience through a tragic ending for a promising season. And then the world turned upside-down, and the South Pole was suddenly at the North Pole.

James Reimer, former Maple Leafs goalie: We did not think we had it in the bag. Not against that team. Not to say that you give the other team too much respect, but you understand that anything can happen. You knew they were not going to roll over. They were a good team, you know? We could not take anything for granted. We knew going into the third period, the game was not over.

Lucic: I just remember sitting on the bench and saying to the guys that if we can get one before the 10-minute mark, make it 4-2, we will give ourselves a chance to win. Just saying that, and getting guys to believe in it, was big. And fortunately enough, we were able to do that on the Nathan Horton goal [at 9:18 of the third period]. Our mentality and our mindset changed. Then I scored my goal [at 18:38].

Reimer: There was a rebound. And then it was in that gray area: Do you try to pull it in, or do you try to knock it away? My instincts told me to try to knock it past [Lucic] to a safe area, and I ended up knocking it to him, or he beat me to it. I do not remember. I have tried not to think about it for five years.

Lucic: Once I was able to score to make it 4-3, you can see my face and read my lips and see me saying, "One more!" And then once [Patrice Bergeron] scored to make it 4-4, you can see me in the corner, to the left of Reimer -- I had my hands in the air and my head tilted back. I was so tired but so relieved.

Edwards: I do not know how that puck found its way from Bergeron's stick to the back of that goal.

Reimer: [Zdeno] Chara was screening me. I did not see that goal. I still have not seen that goal.


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