In their 89-year history, the Boston Bruins have had their share of unbelievable moments. Unfortunately for the six-time Stanley Cup champions, many of their most memorable shockers have been of the heart-breaking variety.
Many of the most improbable moments are also the most painful to remember. Some are the kinds of memories that simply refuse to be forgotten, no matter how hard you might try.
However, it isn't all bad. The Bruins have broken the hearts of another fanbase or two along the way, though they have suffered a disproportionate amount of crushing defeats.
Regardless of how bitter some of these might taste, they are universally beyond belief.
Here are the five most unbelievable moments in Boston Bruins history:
The Bruins-Canadiens rivalry has offered up countless memorable moments over the years, but none quite like this. In Game 7 of the 1979 semifinals, a Rick Middleton go-ahead goal had the Bruins on the brink of another trip to the Stanley Cup Final when the unthinkable happened.
With just two minutes and 34 seconds separating the Bruins from a date with New York Rangers for hockey's Holy Grail, the referee blew the whistle with seven Bruins on the ice.
On the ensuing power play, Habs superstar Guy Lafleur blasted a slapper past Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert. In overtime, Yvon Lambert netted the winner for Montreal, and the Canadiens needed just five games against the Rangers to hoist the Cup.
After missing the opportunity to be a significant favorite in the final, eccentric Bruins coach Don Cherry lost his job. If not for one embarrassing penalty, the Bruins could have picked up their third championship of the '70s.
After launching themselves to a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Bruins suffered the most monumental collapse in their history. With four straight losses, the Bruins became just the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead.
Game 7 epitomized the crushing nature of the series. Playing on home ice, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard. Back on track, the Bruins seemed destined to advance. However, goals from James Van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere had the Flyers level by midway through the second period.
In the third period, Bruins fans once again endured the lethal sting of a too many men on the ice penalty. With the man advantage, Simon Gagne slammed home a loose puck to complete the Flyers' legendary comeback.
The Flyers went on to win the Eastern Conference, but the Bruins would get revenge a year later. In 2011, they emphatically swept the Flyers en route to the Stanley Cup.
A pre-Christmas battle with the New York Rangers in Manhattan provided the ugliest moment in Bruins history.
When former Bruin Phil Esposito failed to tie the game on a breakaway in the final moments, he stormed off the ice, snapping his stick on the way. His teammates stayed behind for a dust-up with the visiting victors.
While Al Secord and Frank Beaton pummeled each other along the boards, a Rangers fan reached down and snatched the stick of Boston's Stan Jonathan. Bruins captain Terry O'Reilly then scaled the glass and took the fight to the fans.
He was followed by his teammates, including Peter McNab and Mike Milbury, who charged into the seats in NHL history's most chaotic scene. O'Reilly, McNab and Milbury got off with unbelievably lenient eight-game suspensions, but the fight has tarnished the Bruins' reputation for decades.
The 2013 postseason was arguably the most dramatic in Bruins history, and it ended with a fitting bang. Leading 2-1 with two minutes remaining in the game, the Bruins seemed assured of a Game 7 victory. However, the hockey gods had a different idea.
Bryan Bickell's game-tying goal was heart-stopping enough for Bruins fans, but Dave Bolland's Cup-winner just seconds later took the agony to another level. In just moments, the Bruins' Cup run came to a clattering halt, and the Chicago Blackhawks would skate the prestigious trophy around the TD Garden ice.
After the game, Bruins star Patrice Bergeron shocked the hockey world by admitting that he played through the game with a number of severe injuries. According to ESPN Boston, the battle-beaten Bergeron suffered from a broken rib, torn rib cartilage, a separated shoulder and a punctured lung as he chased a second career championship.
Though they failed to reach the mountain top for seventh time in franchise history, the Bruins' remarkable effort and perseverance was worthy of praise. Nonetheless, the one-two punch of late goals from Bickell and Bolland will be a sore subject in the Bay State until the end of time.
After nearly blowing a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the Boston Bruins pulled off arguably the greatest comeback in NHL history. Trailing by three midway through the third period, the Bruins scored four unanswered goals to knock the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs.
Nathan Horton got things going with nine minutes remaining, but even after his goal, Boston had little more than a fool's hope.
In the final two minutes, Claude Julien called Tuukka Rask to the bench in need of two goals with an extra attacker.
With just 1:22 remaining in the game, Milan Lucic put the Bruins back in it with a timely strike, and 31 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron leveled the score with one of his own.
In overtime, Bergeron finished the job with an emphatic goal that may never be forgotten. With a hand in each of the last three goals, the center established himself as one of the NHL's elite clutch players.