Boston Bruins: 15 Most Memorable Overtime Victories in the Past 5 Seasons
He had come to the Boston Bruins almost exactly 21 months prior with four sudden-death strikes at that point in his nearly two-decade-long NHL odyssey. He would swell that total by 50 percent during his dogged finale in New England, complete with 56 goals and 81 assists in 239 regular season and playoff games.
Recchi’s stint was an integral part of the Bruins’ reboot in recent years under head coach Claude Julien, who has overseen 22 overtime wins (13 regular season, nine playoff games) through his first five seasons behind the Boston bench.
Other players who have come in and out, come in and stayed or who were here during the more futile seasons preceding Julien’s arrival have likewise figured in multiple landmark overtime victories.
Whether they are a where-were-you moment or were buried in the back pages, like Recchi’s instant clincher was by the time the subsequent playoffs were finished, the top 15 are worth a revisit.
Especially now that hockey fans could surely use a diversion from the unsavory league-wide news of the present, here is a glance back at what Bruins buffs were talking about at this time two years ago and at other key moments of the recent era.
Jan. 12, 2008: 4-3 at Philadelphia
In regulation, Zdeno Chara bagged a playmaker hat trick by assisting on each of three unanswered goals, flipping an initial 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 advantage. After that edge evaporated, fellow defenseman Aaron Ward bailed out the Bruins by slugging home a sudden-death slap shot.
March 15, 2008: 3-2 vs. Philadelphia
April 13, 2008: 2-1 vs. Montreal
The biggest surprise for the first two nights of the best-of-seven series might have been the fact that the Bruins pushed the host Habs to overtime in Game 2, albeit in a losing cause. But the following night, when the scene shuffled down to the venue then known as TD Banknorth Garden, the underdog proved it had learned from those 10 straight shortcomings.
Playing before a noticeably bipartisan audience, rookie Milan Lucic spawned a 1-0 lead for Boston at 6:30 of the first period. Montreal drew a 1-1 knot the following frame and a goaltenders’ duel between Carey Price and Tim Thomas.
But when Price left too big a slab of his net open on a delayed penalty in the bonus round, Marc Savard thrust home a highlight-reel winner. He promptly followed up with a highlight-reel celebration that all but iconically signaled the renaissance of America’s oldest NHL franchise.
The win helped to force an equally memorable Game 6 before the upset-minded Bruins wore down in the decider.
Oct. 27, 2008: 1-0 at Edmonton
In the first month of their search for an encore to Julien’s first season, the Bruins began to pick up traction over a three-city road trip to Western Canada.
On their first stop, Thomas’ 27-save, 63-minute shutout against Dwayne Roloson helped Boston to its first set of consecutive victories in the season. Dennis Wideman converted a power play with 1:42 left in the extra stanza for the game’s only goal.
Jan. 27, 2009: 3-2 vs. Washington
Boston deleted 1-0 and 2-1 deficits before David Krejci connected on his second try during a four-on-three segment to instantly win a titanic tangle between the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference.
April 9, 2009: 5-4 vs. Montreal
A one-year, 180-degree role reversal in the Bruins-Canadiens matchup was virtually cemented exactly 355 days after that memorable Game 6. On the same pond, Boston won by the same score, with Recchi, the trade-deadline import and former Hab, tallying two goals, including an overtime strike set up by Bergeron.
With the single point, the Habs helped their playoff hopes and eventually secured the last available seed, setting themselves up for a first-round sweep at the hands of the Bruins.
Jan. 1, 2010: 2-1 vs. Philadelphia
The third NHL Winter Classic was dramatically deadlocked 1-1 when Recchi once again parked himself on the porch and tipped home a feed with only 2:18 to spare in regulation.
With 1:57 gone in the ensuing overtime, Marco Sturm buried an identical set-up to claim the bonus point.
March 30, 2010: 1-0 at New Jersey
Tuukka Rask’s 21 saves and Bergeron’s winner in the waning seconds of full-fledged hockey action helped the Bruins keep pace in the uncertain 2010 playoff race.
April 3, 2010: 2-1 at Toronto
Four nights after the New Jersey game, midseason acquisition Miroslav Satan had the second-period equalizer and the overtime clincher on a tip-in from the slot to ensure another invaluable extra point.
One week later, the Bruins cemented their spot in the 2010 playoffs.
April 21, 2010: 3-2 vs. Buffalo
The Bruins’ hopes of raising a commanding 3-1 upper hand on the Northeast Division champion Sabres were on brittle ice when they entered the closing frame with a glowering 2-0 deficit.
Krejci and Bergeron, however, quickly cracked Ryan Miller’s code to help Boston to its fourth equalizer in as many games.
Miller and Rask proceeded to exchange heart-stopping saves and sustain the 2-2 knot for exactly 41 straight minutes of action. In the first second of that 42nd minute, though, Satan pounced on a seam left by a discombobulated Miller to bury a clincher that almost appeared too easy.
Dec. 7, 2010: 3-2 vs. Buffalo
Yet another 3-2 decision at home against the Sabres was settled when replays caught Recchi’s tip-in hurrying in and out of Miller’s cage in the third minute of overtime.
April 23, 2011: 2-1 vs. Montreal
Two nights after Canadien-turned-Bruin Michael Ryder zapped his old friends and drew a 2-2 knot in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Nathan Horton’s backdoor burial gave the higher-seeded Boston team its first lead of the series.
Thomas had repelled 44 out of 45 Montreal shots, including 15 in overtime, before Horton solved Price at the other end with 9:03 gone in the fifth full-length period.
April 27, 2011: 4-3 vs. Montreal
With a variety of special-teams strikes, the persistent Canadiens deleted 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in Game 7.
Each party would garner five stabs at Thomas or Price in the resultant and decisive bonus round. The last of those registered shots charged off of Horton’s twig in the high slot and under Price, giving the Causeway crowd a cathartic clincher.
May 2, 2011: 3-2 at Philadelphia
It was a virtual hodgepodge of the two Buffalo games the previous spring and winter and Game 5 of the previous Montreal series.
The host Flyers nabbed an initial 2-0 advantage before the halfway mark of the opening frame. The Bruins recovered and retorted to draw a 2-2 knot even before intermission, and Thomas mentally reinforced himself to charge up 52 total saves, including 22 in the third period and 10 in the overtime he helped to force.
At the other end, Horton altered his role in the clutch and fed Krejci for an in-and-out goal that required replay to confirm. Once it was confirmed, along with the 3-2 victory, the series shuffled to Boston, where an unyielding Bruins team finished what it could not the year prior—namely a second-round sweep of Philadelphia.
March 1, 2012: 4-3 vs. New Jersey
Thomas stopped 28 out of 31 shots and recovered after letting a 2-0 lead devolve into a 3-2 deficit within the second period. Krejci, who had opened the scoring, reheated his acetylene stick for a critical third-period equalizer, then kept enough firepower to polish off his hat trick and the game.