The host Boston Bruins rallied from a three-goal deficit and went on to beat Toronto 5-4 in overtime in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins turned back Toronto’s comeback with a rally of their own.
Trailing by three goals in the third period and still by two with less than 90 seconds left, the Bruins scored twice in a span of 31 seconds to tie the score and then eliminated the Maple Leafs on Patrice Bergeron’s goal at 6:05 of overtime to win 5-4 in Game 7 on Monday night.
“It was one of the crazy ones I’ve been part of,” said Bergeron, who assisted on Milan Lucic’s goal with 1:22 left in regulation and connected to tie the score with 51 seconds left in the third.
Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots for Boston, which led the best-of-seven series 3-1 before the Maple Leafs won twice to force a seventh game.
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According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Bruins are the first team in league history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.
The Bruins will play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which begin Thursday in Boston.
Toronto opened a 4-1 lead in the third period, but Nathan Horton cut the deficit to two midway through the third period and then Lucic and Bergeron scored in the final 1:22 with Rask on the bench for an extra skater.
“Anything can happen,” Lucic said, “and that’s exactly what happened.”
Cody Franson scored twice, and former Bruin Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Toronto.
James Reimer made 30 saves for the Maple Leafs.
But it was the one he missed that left him sprawled in the crease, face down, while the Bruins celebrated.
“I was trying to be pretty even-keeled,” said Reimer, who was teary-eyed in the locker room after the game. “There was time left, they could come back and they did. When you’re up 4-1, you’d like to be able to hold onto that lead.”
Of the Maple Leafs, Boston coach Claude Julien said, “They had us on the ropes and we’re glad we’re done with them. Drained is obviously the key word.”
Hundreds of fans, if not more, had left in the third period and begged security to get back into the TD Garden after the Bruins rallied.
WASHINGTON — Led by Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 saves in a second consecutive shutout, the New York Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 5-0 in Game 7 to reach the East semifinals.
The Rangers won a Game 7 on the road for the first time in franchise history.
Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan and Mats Zuccarello scored.
The last NHL goalie to have shutouts in both Games 6 and 7 was Detroit’s Dominik Hasek in 2002 against Colorado.
“There’s moments where you enjoy it and you think, ‘Wow, this is great.’ And you have fun. But there’s also moments where you don’t feel great. You feel the pressure and you just want to get it done, so badly,” Lundqvist said. “You try to control your emotions. That’s the key for me. I’m an emotional guy when I play.
“I try to just stay calm. Good or bad. I just try to stay calm and focus on my thing.”