Editor’s note: Starting Tuesday, March 24, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. Up next is Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Montreal Canadiens. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
It wasn’t easy, but the Boston Bruins moved the Montreal Canadiens to the brink of elimination April 23, 2011 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Michael Ryder played hero in Game 4’s overtime to tie the series at 2-2 as the Bruins avoided going down 3-1 as the teams came back to Boston.
Game 5 had a similar ending, but with a little extra hockey. This game needed nearly 90 minutes to decide the winner, and it was Nathan Horton scoring the game-winning goal in 2OT to send TD Garden into a frenzy as the series shifted back to Montreal with the Canadiens’ backs against the wall.
Here are four things you might have forgotten about Game 5, which can be seen Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET on NESN:
1. This was the first time the home team won this series
Boston found itself down 2-0 after losing the first two games on home ice. But being away from TD Garden for the next two games sparked a fire in the Bruins, as they went on to win the next two at Bell Centre before making it three straight in Game 5.
2. The 2OT tally marked Horton’s second goal of the series
Horton was playing in the playoffs for the first time in his career, but he came up big for the B’s in Game 3 at Bell Centre when he potted the second goal of the first period for his team. But the second playoff tally is one fans, and probably Horton will remember for many years to come.
Habs goalie Carey Price was unable to make the save as Horton was able to gobble up the loose puck on the doorstep and put home the Andrew Ference rebound and give the Black and Gold their first series lead.
“It feels so good,” Horton said, per The Boston Globe. “We knew it was going to be a greasy goal and it sure was. It was a rebound. But they all count and that was a big goal for us. “We had control of the puck and I saw the rebound come out. It was just sitting there. It felt good to put that in the net and win the game. It’s a pretty special moment.”
If you thought that was exciting, just wait until Game 7.
3. Speaking of Price, he was incredible
Price stood on his head for the entire series and kept the Habs in it. He made a whopping 49 saves on 51 shots in Game 5 in 88:45 of ice time. What’s even more incredible is that he only was 23 in 2011, going up against the best netminder in the league at the time in Tim Thomas.
4. Thomas kept the Bruins from going down 3-2 in 2OT
There are not enough words to describe how strong Thomas was during this series — or the entirety of the 2011 Stanley Cup run. He made plenty of highlight-reel saves. But one big stop in particular came with 14:26 left in the double overtime period when Montreal had a 2-on-1 that looked bad for Bruins fans.
Brian Gionta fed the puck over to Travis Moen who quickly got it back to Gionta. The captain quickly fired it point-blank range, but Thomas went cross-crease to make the Superman-like save and keep the game tied 1-1.
“My thought was just trying to get it on the net and get it over him,” Gionta said, per SB Nation. “He moves well side to side and he just read it.”
He sure did.