What occurred last night in front of a sellout crowd of 17,565 at the TD Banknorth Garden will be remembered by everyone who was there, and by those watching elsewhere, for a long time. It might even become one of those games that about 200,000 people swear they were at, even though it’s impossible.
The incredible comeback the Bruins pulled off – again and again and again – in the third period left the Garden trembling from the noise and the cheering. Both teams left it all on the ice in those final 20 minutes, and, six goals in that third period later, the Black & Gold walked off the ice, into their locker room – and, today, onto a plane to Montreal.
“Habs in five” seemed to be the popular prediction before the series started. But now?What a Game
“It was a crazy game,” Marco Sturm said simply. “I think no one in here, maybe a couple of guys, [has ever] played in a game like that.”
He pretty much summed up the night. After heading into the third period down 2-1, the Bruins tied the game twice, led once before Montreal tied it up just 11 seconds later, and then, with Sturm’s game-winning goal, regained the lead for good.
“It was crazy,” echoed Phil Kessel, still trying to process what had just happened. “I came off the ice and [Sturm’s] goal, I didn’t see it, all of a sudden, he scored, and everyone was going crazy, oh my God.”
Still, just a little while before, it looked as though the Bruins season might come to and end with the final buzzer.
“It could have been over,” Sturm continued. “I think everyone knew when we got out there in the third, we have to do everything out there that we can, otherwise it’s all done. And I think that’s what pushed us through the whole period, the whole game.”
That desperation is nothing new for the Bruins, however, who were playing in playoff-like games at the end of the season, battling for the chance to even make it into the post-season. If anything, they’re quite used to it by now.
“Everybody was in the same situation, so we got a small taste of what the playoffs were, and I think that has aided us in this situation to kind of comprehend where we are and what kind of effort it takes,” said Aaron Ward.
And while last night’s game is sure to stick in the memories of most for a long time, the Bruins know there’s still one more game to be won.
“I’m really excited right now, real happy,” said Kessel, “[but] we really haven’t done anything yet, so we just have to keep playing our game, and hopefully it things work out.”What a Series
Last night’s game was monumental in more ways than one.
With that win, the B’s tied the series at three and forced a game seven after trailing for the entire series – most recently, 3-1, before the wins in the past two games.
“When you’re down 3-1, as I mentioned before, the big picture is pretty scary,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We made up our minds to take it game by game.”
Game-by-game seems to be a good theory. This is the first series that the Bruins, trailing by two games, have forced a game seven. It’s also the first time that the Habs, up 3-1, have had the series tied up and them.
“We’ve have worked really hard to put ourselves in this position,” said Milan Lucic
. “It was a complete team effort and we have to be proud of what we’ve done.”
When trailing 3-1, the B’s have a 0-20 lifetime record, while the Canadiens have a 26-0 lifetime record. But now that it’s all tied up, it might be time to change that.What a Team
It’s been said all along that, "After the season they’ve had , this is a Black & Gold team to be proud of."
- Just in case you’ve forgotten in all the post-season excitement:
- They were originally picked to finish last in the Eastern Conference.
- One of their best players was put out of commission for most of the season with a serious concussion.
- And they’ve had to call up rookie player after rookie player as the injuries continued.
But they’ve overcome it all.
“I’ve never been so proud, like the way we’ve battled all year long,” said Tim Thomas
. “We just hung in there, and we just never give up.”
Coach Julien, too, couldn’t be happier with this group, the first Bruins team he’s coached.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised all year long with this hockey club,” he said. “They just keep going.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with these guys because I just couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys than I was tonight and how nothing affected them. They just kept going at it.”
Resilient is a word that’s come up more than once when describing the team. Teamwork has also been thrown around.
“You listen to all the stats about losses and wins, and I think it just gets to the point where when you start proving to yourself out there that you are capable of doing it,” said Ward. “There’s a belief that doesn’t have to be spoken in the locker room, it’s just a feeling. And I think that we as a group, it’s not a cockiness, it’s just we understand that we’re coming together.” What a Crowd
Sure, they had a lot of reasons to smile in the locker room after the game, but last night’s loud, raucous Garden crowd probably had something to do with it.
“This is what I’ve heard about, this is what everybody talks about, the Garden being a loud place, being a hard place to play,” said Lucic. “I give our fans total credit. They were like the seventh man out there by the way they were cheering.”
And, sure, the Bruins skills probably had much to do with their comeback, but the crowd, which got louder and louder with every goal – even the Montreal ones – in the third period probably helped.
“The fans were great, so it was a lot of fun to play out there tonight,” said Kessel. “They were fired up, and it was a great atmosphere out there.”
They’ve spent a lot of time in front of crazy Montreal crowds this series, and the Black & Gold are about to go face one again, but, to some, it doesn’t compare.
“I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that,” said Krejci. “Unbelievable.”Last Thoughts
As they approach what will either be an end or another beginning, Coach Julien seems to have summed everything up best.
“Doubt? No. You never go into games with doubts, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “You believe, and I’m sure they believed too, that they were going to win tonight.
“If anything, these are the kinds of games I love being a part of. That is what it’s all about.
“We don’t dread these games; we love them.”