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Bruins Rally Back From 4-1 Deficit, Knock Off Leafs 5-4 In Game 7 OT Stunner

“We just witnessed a miracle and I want you to fucking acknowledge it!” — Jules Winnfield

With about 15 minutes left in the third period of last night’s first round Game 7 versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins appeared to be on the brink of yet another early playoff exit that would surely portend significant personnel changes at North Station. Nazem Kadri just potted a Phil Kessel rebound past a sprawling Tuukka Rask to give the Leafs a seemingly insurmountable three-goal lead with 14:31 left and TO’s long national nightmare—a playoff victory drought—appeared to be coming to an end. After all, no team in NHL playoff history had ever won a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.

That is until the self-immolating Maple Leafs, the sorta-new most dangerous lead in hockey, and the hearts of Boston champions conspired to make Toronto the newest member of the “Sports Biggest Chokers” list. Nathan Horton’s fourth of the series to make it 4-2 with 10:43 left suddenly made things more interesting than they were just seconds before. When Milan Lucic cut it to 4-3 after the Bs pulled Rask for an extra attacker, all eyes darted toward the scoreboard to see just how much time was left to perhaps pull this off: 82 seconds—more than enough to get the equalizer. As it turns out, the Bruins only needed 31 of them.

After Patrice Bergeron, who further added to his folk hero status last night, wristed a Dave Krejci feed past a stunned James Reimer, the TD Garden spontaneously turned into a white folks version of a slam dunk contest at the Apollo. Fans suddenly became a giant mass of people simultaneously jumping up and down, falling into each other, hitting each other on the arms, and euphorically bear-hugging complete strangers. It was bedlam the likes of which had never been seen in the building. Sure, there were some epic games two years ago…but nothing at all like this because nobody had ever seen this before. Not just one goal with Rask pulled, but two. The Leafs collapsed in spectacular fashion.

After standing for the entirety of intermission, Bruins fans were a ravenous bunch when OT finally started. Seemingly lulled to sleep barely an hour ago and possibly contemplating who the next coach might be, what was remaining of the 17,565 was in its full-throated glory exhorting the Bs to complete a comeback that had some wondering if Annie Sullivan was coaching the Bs. 6:05 into OT, Bergeron pounced on a loose puck and fired a shot past a down-and-out Reimer to grant their wishes. Incredibly, the Bruins had scored four unanswered goals in 16:47 to complete the miracle comeback that spawned more than a few Jack Buck impressions from people who can’t believe what they just saw.

The only other sporting event I attended that was remotely similar was the Snow Bowl vs. the Raiders. It was the only other time where the entire venue had such a huge swing of emotion—you went from thinking that your team’s season is over to and what could have been to, incredibly, making plans for the next round of playoffs just a few minutes later. Even 12 hours later, it still feels like a dream.

So rather than preparing ursine necropsies today and breaking down who screwed up where, series previews with the Rangers and re-watching game highlights are the order of the day. The Bs will have a day or two to savor the win before they’re right back at it.

A few more buds for your bowl…
*Dennis Seidenberg apparently hurt his leg just :37 into his night. That’s a huge loss if he’s going to be gone for any amount of time. Additionally, Andrew Ference was also spotted in a walking boot and Wade Redden is dinged up as well. But the only thing to do is soldier on hope your young guys play old.

*Like Matt Bartkowski. Pressed into action due to the aforementioned injuries, he played just under 25 minutes and got the Bruins first goal. He’ll likely be thrown right back into the fire again Thursday.

*The Bruins/Rangers tilt will be the third Original Six series of the 2013 postseason. There could still be one more if Boston/New York comes out of the East and Detroit/Chicago comes out of the West. The playoff meeting between the Bruins and Rangers will be their first one since 1973, when New York knocked off the Bs 4-1 in the first round.

*Lucic was an absolute animal last night and helped carry the team to victory. He assisted on Horton’s goal as well as scoring one himself. He was also credited with a team-high seven hits. The tougher Lucic is to play against, the tougher the Bruins are to play against.

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