Going into overtime I wrote on my Facebook wall, “I remember this feeling. It feels much like 2003 when Grady Little left Pedro Martinez on the mound. It wasn’t a matter of if the Sox would lose, it’s a matter of when.” After Nathan Horton ripped the twine sending the Bruins to round two, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-3, I dubbed myself the “King of the Reverse Jinx.”
The Bruins were flying high after Chris Kelly scored with 9 minutes left in the game putting the Bruins up 3-2. What made his goal especially sweet, was that he scored because Roman Hamrilik flopped and laid on the ice for an extra 7 seconds instead of getting back in the play. I was convinced the game was over at that point and karma had finally came back around and bit the Canadiens when it mattered most. I thought it would have been poetic justice the Canadiens would be ousted after one of the patented flops. As is usually the case, I was wrong.
Patrice Bergeron was called for high sticking James Wisnewski with just over 2 minutes left in the game. The Canadiens took advantage. Who else but PK Subban ripped a laser past Tim Thomas for the equalizer with 1:57 left to play in regulation. At that point the demons of the past started filling my brain. I started to think the Boston Bruins were now what the Boston Red Sox were from 1918 through 2003. I was thinking of the Bruins losing last year after being up 3 games to nothing and 3-0 in Game 7 to the Flyers. I was thinking of how they lost to the Hurricanes in Game 7 after being the best team in the NHL during the regular season. I thought about how they lost to the Habs in Game 7 in 2008. I thought about how Joe Thornton scored the game winner for San Jose two nights ago.
Then 5 minutes and 43 seconds into overtime Nathan Horton ripped a slap shot past Carey Price, that not only eliminated the Habs but exorcised the Boston Bruins Game 7 demons. Past Bruins teams would have lost that game tonight. Last year’s Bruins would have lost in regulation after Subban’s goal late in the third period. Not these Bruins. These Bruins have proven in this series that they are resilient. They got down 2-0 in the series, went to a hostile environment in Montreal and promptly tied the series. They have come back from 2 goal deficits. Most importantly, they have won a Game 7.
Critics (including myself) have been looking for ways to bash the Bruins, whether it be the front office, the coaching, or the players themselves. Well, the front office brought in the man who scored the game winner tonight while unloading arguably the worst player in hockey. The front office brought in “The Man Behind the Cage” Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley who each played great in the opening round of the playoffs. Like him or not, Claude Julien was able to light a fire under the players backsides when it mattered most leading the Bruins to the series win. Lastly, the players themselves have shown up and played with unbridled passion.
Now it is on to Philadelphia where the Bruins will look to exorcise more demons. Philadelphia is the team that won 4 straight against the B’s last season. The Bruins haven’t gotten out of the second round since 1992. Will this be the year?
Game One is Saturday at 3 in Philly. Let’s go Bruins!
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