Hall of Fame coach and general manager Emile Francis once noted that, "This game is slippery. It's played on ice." Games like the Boston Bruins' comeback victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night are what "The Cat" had in mind.
Toronto led Boston 4-1 in the third period of Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series and appeared to be on the way to winning its first Stanley Cup Playoff series since 2004. Instead, the Bruins became only the fourth team in playoff history to overcome a three-goal deficit and the first to do it when trailing by three in the third period. Patrice Bergeron's overtime goal lifted Boston to a stunning 5-4 victory and into the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers.
Here's a look at the timeline of Boston's comeback:
5:29 of the 3rd period -- Nazem Kadri scores the first playoff goal of his career, banging in the rebound of Kessel's shot off a 2-on-1 rush for a 4-1 lead. While the Maple Leafs celebrate on their bench, a few non-believers begin to trickle out of TD Garden.
9:18 of the 3rd period -- The Bruins go 2 1/2 minutes after Kadri's goal without generating a shot. But Boston finally manages to generate some pressure, forcing Toronto goaltender James Reimer to make saves on Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr. But the Bruins keep the puck in the zone, Milan Lucic carries around the net and finds Nathan Horton in the left circle; he whirls and rifles a shot past Reimer to cut the deficit to 4-2, giving the Bruins and their fans a glimmer of hope.
18:38 of the 3rd period -- Boston dominates play after Horton's goal -- Toronto goes more than seven minutes without a shot on goal -- but the Bruins can't get another shot past Reimer. Rask leaves for an extra attacker with less than two minutes to go. Zdeno Chara fires a slap shot from the right point that gets through traffic and forces Reimer to make a save. But he can't control the rebound, which Lucic lifts into the net to cut the deficit to one goal and get TD Garden rocking.
19:09 of the 3rd period -- The Bruins leave Rask on the bench and keep their six attackers on the ice. They control the draw and get the puck into the zone. Bergeron, standing in the high slot, takes a pass from David Krejci and wrists a shot on goal. With Chara providing a 6-foot-9 screen in front of Reimer, the puck sails into the net to tie the game with 50.1 seconds left in regulation.
19:45 of the 3rd period -- Boston nearly wins the game late in the third when Reimer can't control the rebound of Brad Marchand's shot. The puck slides into the slot, where Rich Peverley is facing a half-empty net, but hops over his stick. A few seconds later, the siren goes off and the game heads to overtime.
6:05 of overtime -- Both teams have chances in overtime before the Bruins work the puck into the Toronto zone. Lucic has a shot blocked by defenseman Jake Gardiner, but Boston maintains control and Tyler Seguin pumps a shot that Reimer stops. With Reimer and his defense scrambling, Bergeron races into the right circle, finds the puck and fires it past the helpless goaltender, triggering an eruption of sound in the Garden and sending the Bruins into the second round with a 5-4 victory.