Boston Garden’s last hurrah squares off against Tim Thomas’ stick save on Steve Downie in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
5. Boston Garden’s last hurrahIt didn’t have air conditioning or luxury suites. Seats were obstructed by pillars. And it couldn’t hold the average attendance of a present-day MLS soccer game. The ice rink was nine feet shorter and two feet narrower than a standard NHL rink. But for diehard fans of Boston sports, the building was the most beautiful arena in the world. The Boston Garden — known more intimately simply as the Garden — is gone, but the memories that took place inside those walls persist. At the end of September in 1995, the Bruins lined up on the tiny rink for the last time, fittingly, against the rival Montreal Canadiens. In a bizarro-type moment, the banners came down from the rafters, and every memory that was lifted up was celebrated with one last hurrah.
12. ‘The Save’Tim Thomas transformed into a Boston legend during the 2011 NHL playoffs by leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years. Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP and made countless tremendous saves, but few were more incredible -– or more important — than the one on Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. With Boston holding a 2-1 lead early in the third period and the series tied 2-2, Downie controlled a rebound off the end boards and shot on a wide-open net. Thomas would not be beaten, however, as he dove to his right across the crease, just barely tipping away the puck with the end of his stick. “The Save” enabled the B’s to hold on to win Game 5 and eventually win the series in seven games.
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