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A Look Back: Game Sevens During Julien Era

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins will be playing their eighth Game Seven under Head Coach Claude Julien tonight at TD Garden, after the Toronto Maple Leafs took Game 6, 2-1, on Sunday night.

In those games the Bruins are 3-4, with all three of those victories coming during the Bruins Stanley Cup run in 2011. The Black & Gold were the only team to ever win three Game Seven’s on their way to the Cup. This is the sixth time in the last seven playoff series that the B's have gone to seven games.

Here’s a look back at all the seventh games of the Julien-era:

2008 - Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Montreal

This was the beginning of the Bruins resurgence. After two straight seasons of not qualifying for the postseason, the B’s surprised everyone and made the playoffs as the eight seed. They were heavy underdogs against the top-ranked Montreal Canadiens, and after falling behind two games to none, they rallied to force a Game Seven. No one expected them to give the Habs as good of a series, but they proved the pundits wrong.

Game Six of that series was one of the most memorable games, with the B’s taking home a dramatic 5-4 victory at the Garden that saw the Bruins put up a four-goal third period. Ironically enough, Phil Kessel scores twice in the win, with Marco Sturm getting the game-winner with less than three minutes left in regulation. The assists on the goal? David Krejci and Zdeno Chara.

In Game Seven, the gritty, hard-working Bruins couldn’t match the Habs and fell 5-0, one game short of the comeback. But, the start of a new age of Bruins hockey was born.

2009 - Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Carolina

The Bruins were the No. 1 seed this time around and got revenge on the eighth-seeded Habs, sweeping them in the first round. As a result the B’s had a lengthy break before starting their second round series against the sixth-seeded Hurricanes. Despite winning the first game, the B’s lost three straight and had to win Games Five and Six to force a decisive seventh game back at the Garden.

The B’s trailed in Game 7 after two periods, but tied the game to force overtime. But the top-seeded Bruins were felled by an infamous Scott Walker overtime-winner at 18:46 of the extra frame that sent them home for the summer. Many believed that Walker should have been suspended for the altercation with B’s defenseman Aaron Ward during a scrum in Game Five of the series.

Something that came out the series, however, was the play of unsung hero, Hurricanes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. GM Peter Chiarellli would later remark that the series Seidenberg played against the Bruins really secured him as a trade target Boston wanted to add to their mix - which they did, the following season in 2010.

2010 - 
Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Philadelphia

This is the one that hurts the most, and seemingly, still hasn't been forgotten. The Bruins, after taking out Buffalo in six games, moved on to face the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. The Bruins went out to a 3-0 lead in the series, but a depleted Boston lineup saw the Flyers storm back to proceeded to complete one of the greatest 
series comebacks in sports history.

In Game Seven, the Bruins got out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but Philly scored four unanswered goals, with Simon Gagne netting the winner on the power play at 12:52 of the third period.

While the Bruins did not make any excuses for the collapse, their diminished roster in those final four games certainly proved to be a factor. The Bruins had been without David Krejci, who had suffered a dislocated wrist in Game Three of the series after a hit from Mike Richards, Dennis Seidenberg (wrist), Marco Sturm (knee), and Andrew Ference (groin). Marc Savard had only just returned from his concussion in March, and was not 100 percent.

In the process, the Flyers became just the third NHL team (and fourth major professional sports team) to ever win a postseason series after trailing three games to none.

2011 - Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Montreal

The Bruins and Canadiens met once again in the postseason. The B’s lost the first two games at home, before winning the next three, including Game Five in double overtime on a goal from Nathan Horton. Montreal came back to win Game Six at home to force a seventh game back in Boston.

The B’s led 3-2 late into the third period, but with just 1:57 remaining in regulation, Habs defenseman P.K. Subban tied the game with a rocket of a shot from the point on the power play, sending the game to overtime.

Horton delivered again, at 5:43 of the extra session, with a slapper from the slot that tipped past Habs goalie Carey Price, advancing the Bruins to the second round - and the Garden crowd into a frenzy.

2011 - Eastern Conference Finals vs. Tampa Bay

After sweeping Philadelphia in round two, the Bruins moved on to face the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. The two squads went back and forth over the first six games, leading to a deciding seventh game at the Garden.

Game Seven, which did not have a single penalty called, turned out to be one of the greatest games of the 2011 postseason. For the first 50 minutes, it was as thrilling a scoreless game as there could be. The teams traded chance after chance and, finally, at 12:27 of the third, it was Horton – again – who turned out to be the hero.

Horton busted to the front of the net and received a pass from David Krejci. Horton gently guided the puck past Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson to give the B’s a 1-0 lead.

And Boston held on, with help from more stellar play by goalie Tim Thomas, to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1990.

2011 - Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver

For the second time during the postseason, the Bruins lost the first two games of the series. They rallied back, though, in Game Three back in Boston. After Nathan Horton left the game following a vicious hit in the first period that knocked him out for the rest of the series, the B’s got revenge, routing the Canucks, 8-1. The Bruins then won Game Four by a convincing 4-0 margin, but fell 1-0 in Game Five.

Boston dominated at home again in Game Six to bring about a seventh game in Vancouver – an winner-takes-all for Lord Stanley.

Horton made the trip to Vancouver and sprinkled a bit of Garden ice on the Vancouver sheet before the game for good luck. It worked. The Bruins came out strong in the final game, controlling much of the pace.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored two goals in a 4-0 win that clinched the Bruins first Stanley Cup since 1972. Thomas registered another shutout, solidifying one of the best postseasons of all time and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

2012 - Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Washington

The defending champion Bruins took on the Washington Capitals in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and it was as tight a series as the NHL has ever seen – literally. For the first time in NHL history, all seven games of a series were decided by just one goal. The series also saw four of the seven games go to overtime, including both Games Six and Seven.

The B’s, trailing three games to two, forced the Game Seven with a Tyler Seguin overtime-winner.

The teams returned to Boston for Game Seven, and headed to overtime yet again, tied at one.

Just 2:57 into the extra session, Caps forward Joel Ward ended the Cup defense by putting a rebound off an odd-man rush past Tim Thomas.

2013 - Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Toronto

Stay tuned...

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