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Comeback started Bruins on path to Final

by Mike G. Morreale /

CHICAGO -- The Boston Bruins have been all but unbeatable since their monumental comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Boston won eight of nine games in the conference semifinals and finals, moving them into the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

There's no question that if Boston regains the Cup it won in 2011 that the 5-4 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on May 13 will go down as the turning point of its season. The Bruins were just over 10 minutes away from losing a series they led 3-1 -- they lost Games 5 and 6, then fell behind by three goals in Game 7.

"When we got down to Toronto 4-1 in the third period, no one talked about it but knew that if we lost that game, no one would know who's coming back [on the roster]," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said during media day at United Center on Tuesday. "We didn't know if we'd stick together one more year. But the boys dug down deep and won that game, and we've been a great hockey team ever since."

Patrice Bergeron tied the game 4-4 with 51 seconds left in the third period, then scored the game-winning goal 6:05 into overtime. It was a game and a series that will remain engrained in the minds of Bruins' players, fans and coaches for a long time.

"That win gave us energy and momentum that we have carried forward," Bergeron said. "You need to be resilient, have character, and that was one example right there.

"I really believe that experience goes a long way in the playoffs. I think that was one of those things where everyone still felt we could do it and we still had a good feeling on the bench. We kept pushing forward and pulling for the goals."

Bergeron's game-winner capped a comeback that saw the Bruins score three goals during a span of 9:51 to turn a 4-1 game into a 4-4 tie -- and eventually into a victory.

"We've been on the other side of that," Bergeron said, referring to Boston's collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 -- a series in which the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "We believed and we found a way. It's something we learned and applied that quote, 'It isn't over until it's over.'"

Since that Game 7 win, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 28-12 while going 8-1 against the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Boston surrendered 18 goals to Toronto in the first round.

"It all comes down to believing," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "When you talk about the situation of Game 7, you really have to believe in yourself, believe in your teammates and believe in coaches and the system that they're putting in front of you. You have to have guys who are committed and on board that believe in the same effort needed to win … that's when it usually happens."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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