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NHL Centennial

Bobby Orr goal to win Stanley Cup had Bruins flying high

Defenseman scored in OT against Blues on May 10, 1970

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

You'd have a hard time convincing the fans at Boston Garden on May 10, 1970, that Bobby Orr wasn't a superhero. After all, that was the day they saw him fly.

Orr's flight, one of the most famous images in hockey history, came seconds after the defenseman helped the Boston Bruins do something else many of those 14,835 fans had never seen: the Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1941, with a 4-3 victory.

Orr and the Bruins came to the Garden on that hot spring Sunday afternoon fully expecting to leave as Stanley Cup champions. They had won the first three games of the Final against the outmanned St. Louis Blues and were eager to complete the sweep at home. 

"The drought had persisted long enough -- at least in the eyes of the Bruins faithful," Orr wrote in "Orr: My Story," his 2013 autobiography. "As for the players, we wanted it done, right then and there. The chance to sweep on home ice was within our grasp."

Video: Memories: Orr scores in overtime to win Stanley Cup

The only ones not interested in this scenario were the Blues. St. Louis led 2-1 in the second period and 3-2 well into the third before forward Johnny Bucyk scored for the Bruins at 13:28 to force overtime. 

"It was off to overtime, which is the way every kid wants to win the Cup," Orr wrote. "No one needed a speech in the dressing room to get motivated to go back out there. Not much was said. At least I never heard much. I suppose nothing really needed to be said. We all knew what was at stake."

Coach Harry Sinden started overtime with his best defense pair, Orr and Don Awrey, playing behind Boston's third line: Derek Sanderson between Wayne Carleton on the left and Ed Westfall on the right.

It turned out to be the perfect combination. Sanderson's missed shot came to Orr along the right-side boards. He slid the puck to Sanderson behind the net and cut for the front to get Sanderson's return pass and found himself alone with Blues goaltender Glenn Hall.

 

[RELATED: Glenn Hall embraces allowing 'The Goal' to Bobby Orr]

 

The call by famed announcer Dan Kelly on CBS is perfect in its simplicity.

"Orr … behind the net to Sanderson … to Orr … Bobby Orr ... scores, and the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup."

The goal was equally simple.

"Derek gave me a great pass and when I got the pass I was moving across," Orr told author Andrew Podnieks for "The Goal: Bobby Orr and the Most Famous Shot in Stanley Cup History."

"As I skated across, Glenn had to move across the crease and had to open his pads a little. I was really trying to get the puck on net, and I did. As I went across, Glenn's legs opened, so I jumped."

Blues defenseman Noel Picard, desperate to stop Orr, got his stick under his skate. But Picard was an instant too late: 40 seconds into overtime, the Bruins were champions for the first time in 29 years. Instead of stopping Orr, Picard's stick lifted Orr to the point that some angles show his legs higher than the crossbar.

"He brought me down," Orr wrote in his autobiography, "but not before I'd spent that moment airborne. And as soon as I fell back to the ice, Sanderson jumped on me, and the celebrations began."

Video: Memories: NHL flips out over Orr's historic goal

A statue of Orr in midair stands outside TD Garden. The image -- an airborne Orr with stick high and mouth wide-open, celebrating the championship he and his teammates had just won, Hall falling backward into the crossbar in defeat, fans beginning to exult as they realized what had happened - remains iconic nearly 50 years later.

To Orr, it was the realization of a childhood dream.

"Many of the games of shinny I used to play as a boy on Georgian Bay (in Ontario) featured a Cup-winning overtime goal," Orr wrote. "To actually do what you have dreamed of a thousand times since you were a kid is a feeling like nothing else."

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