Ranking the 5 Most Heartbreaking Losses in Boston Bruins History
Tragedy is a common ending in sport. Unless your team wins the championship at the end of the season, one could deem that it is just that.
In the play that is the Boston Bruins franchise, many components of it have been tragedies. But what are the scenes and acts that are tragedies for Boston? Which ones are unbearable for the audience of Bruins fans?
Here are the five worst losses (tragedies) in the history of the Boston Bruins:
No. 5: Game 7 of the 1971 Stanley Cup Semifinals
Act 1, Scene 1: Game 7 of the 1971 Stanley Cup semifinals
Boston had a record-setting 1970-71 season. They finished 57-14-7, Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr finished one-two in the scoring race and they were the defending Stanley Cup champions.
However, in the first round, they ran into upstart rookie goaltender Ken Dryden of the Montreal Canadiens. He would go on to be the antagonist in the Bruins' theater for the next decade.
The Habs came back from a 5-1 deficit in Game 2 and eventually forced a seventh game at the Boston Garden after trouncing Boston 8-3 in Game 6 in Montreal.
In the seventh game, Dryden stood tall (like he literally did during breaks in the action) and the Canadiens beat Boston 4-2 to eliminate the best team in hockey. It was one of the greatest upsets in NHL history—a rookie goalie beating the mighty Orr and Esposito on their home ice when the season was on the line?
Bruins fans that remember that day will always view it as a tragedy. It prevented a dynasty, and spurred another.
No. 4: Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Act 1, Scene 2: Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals
This scene is all too familiar for the audience that saw the first scene—the Bruins hosting a Game 7 as the defending Cup champs and facing a rookie goalie.
This time, the opponent was the Washington Capitals. The rookie netminder was Braden Holtby.
The tragedy was complete when winger Joel Ward scored on a soft back-hander against Tim Thomas in overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 victory and a first-round series win.
The B's were the overwhelming favorites to move into the second round and defend their championship. Washington is a perennial playoff underachiever, and Boston had the physical advantage. The loss was devastating for Bruins fans and was the last game Tim Thomas ever played for the Bruins.
No. 3: Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup Semifinals
Act 1, Scene 3: Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup semifinals
Boston led 4-3 late in the third period after holding a 3-1 lead after two.
But moments after the Bruins went ahead, disaster struck.
With just 2:34 remaining, they were called for too many men on the ice. Steam came out of Don Cherry's ears and the arena got a little bit warmer.
Montreal's Guy Lafluer scored on the man advantage to send the game to overtime. The Habs won 5-4, thanks to a goal by Yvon Lambert. Montreal had advanced. Boston was finished.
The Canadiens went on to defeat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final to win their fourth straight championship.
It was the third straight year the Bruins lost to the Habs in the playoffs, and the final game Don Cherry would ever coach for the Bruins.
Losing to your rival is always heartbreaking. Losing in overtime is even more so. Losing after a too many men call? That's a tragedy. And there was a full audience at the Boston Garden who were all shocked at the performance.
No. 2: Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Act 1, Scene 4: Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals
A seventh game was needed to decide the second-round series after Boston blew a 3-0 series lead.
The Bruins scored three goals in the first period and were in firm control on both ends of the ice.
However, James van Riemsdyk scored late in the first period to draw the Flyers closer, and Scott Hartnell got Philly within one in the second. Clutch playoff performer Danny Briere tied the game at three, still in the second.
Late in the third, Boston was called for a penalty. The call? Too many men on the ice.
Simon Gagne scored the game-winner with a rocket off the far post to give Philly a 4-3 lead, which is how the game ended.
Shakespeare couldn't have written a tragedy like this. It was heartbreaking for Bruins fans. But, like all great scripts, the main characters met again. Boston defeated its nemesis the very next season en route to the title.
No. 1: Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final
Act 1, Scene 5: Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final
1:16. 1:16 was between the Bruins and forcing a Game 7 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
17 seconds. 17 seconds is what changed the entire NHL season.
With the Bruins up 2-1, Jonathan Toews fed Bryan Bickell in the slot and the big man beat Tuukka Rask's five-hole to tie the game at two.
Before the public address announcer even put lips to the microphone to announce Bickell's goal, Dave Bolland put in a rebound to put Chicago up 3-2 and send the Windy City into hysteria and Beantown into stunned silence.
Less than a minute later, the Blackhawks were the Stanley Cup champions for the second time in four seasons and the Bruins were left with the most heartbreaking loss in the history of the franchise.
Losing a series at home is tough. Seeing an opponent skate around on your ice with the Stanley Cup is heartbreaking.
The final part of this play is the most recent scene. It's a complete tragedy.
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