No. 6 Moment Of Decade: Bruins Come Back To Beat Maple Leafs In 2013 Playoffs

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December 26, 2019

What a decade this was in New England sports! As we move into the 2020s, join NESN.com in counting down the best moments in New England sports from 2010-2019. (And check out the rest of our “Best of the Decade” content here.)

Three times in the decade the Boston Bruins have tortured the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series.

But none of the triumphs were better than the one in 2013. For that, the Bruins’ 2013 comeback vs. the Maple Leafs was chosen by NESN.com as the No. 6 moment of the decade in New England sports.

After the Bruins drew first blood with a Matt Bartkowski goal less than six minutes into the game, a pair of Cody Franson tallies put the Leafs up 2-1 going into the third period.

Ex-Bruin Phil Kessel scored at 2:09 and Nazem Kadri added another 3:20 later to give Toronto a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead. But shortly before the midway point of the period, a nice rush from the Bruins set Nathan Horton up for a slick wrister from the left circle on an equally deft Milan Lucic pass, giving the Bruins some life.

It seemed too little, too late though, with Boston still down a pair with less than two minutes to go. But with Tuukka Rask pulled, Zdeno Chara launched a one-timer from the point, getting a shot through that Leafs netminder James Reimer stopped. In doing so though, Reimer left a juicy rebound that Lucic collected and potted to pull within one with 1:22 left.

Mayhem ensued seconds later, as the Bruins, net still empty, fought desperately to win puck battles in their offensive zone. The puck eventually was worked around the perimeter and to Patrice Bergeron at the point, and the center fired a shot through a ton of traffic to beat Reimer, tying the game with 50 seconds to go.

After the intermission brought the heart rates down a bit, six more minutes of chaos ensued before overtime concluded in thrilling fashion. Brad Marchand, from behind the net, sent a puck to the slot, where Bergeron tried a one-timer that was stopped. A massive scrum in front of the net ensued for the pinballing loose puck, with Marchand and Tyler Seguin trying to bury the winner for the hosts. Instead, the puck kicked out to Bergeron, who crashed to the bottom of the circle and had a wide-open net to snap home the winner.

The Bruins would go on to beat the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.

Fun fact: Jake Gardiner and Kadri were the only players on all three of those Leafs teams (though Kadri was suspended in 2018 and 2019). Both left Toronto this offseason, getting a fresh start for the next decade.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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