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 final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. See the full schedule by clicking here.
The Bruins returned to Boston for Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning with the series tied 2-2 after blowing a three-goal lead in Game 4.
And thanks to some incredibly timely saves from Tim Thomas and the game-winning goal by Brad Marchand, Boston was able to take a crucial 3-2 lead, putting it just one win away from its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1990.
Here are three things you might have forgotten about Game 5, which viewers can watch at 8 p.m. ET on Friday night on NESN.
1. This was Thomas’ game
Thomas bounced back in a big way after the Game 4 collapse. The Bruins goalie let in a goal just 1:09 after puck drop to Simon Gagne but stopped the remaining 33 shots that came his way. One save in particular, though, put TD Garden into a frenzy.
The Lightning looked poised to tie things up with the B’s holding onto a slim 2-1 lead with just under 11 minutes to go in the third period. The puck went off the boards and right to the stick of Steve Downie, who had a wide-open net with Thomas on the other side of the crease. But Thomas sprawled out his stick, as Downie got the shot off and, somehow, got the tip of the stick to stop the puck from finding twine.
“It was just reaction and, you know, desperation,” Thomas said after the game, via ESPN. “I’ll admit I got a little bit lucky there.”
2. Bill Belichick was voted “Fan of the Game”
We’re sure you remember the New England Patriots head coach serving as the banner captain for Boston’s Game 2 of the Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues just 10 months ago. But he also took in Game 5 eight years earlier.
Belichick attended several other playoff games throughout the series, but he was voted as Game 5’s “Fan of the Game,” which made the fans in attendance go nuts.
3. Brad Marchand scored the game-winner
Nathan Horton tied things up just 4:24 into the second, but it was then-rookie Brad Marchand who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
A Dominic Moore turnover led to Patrice Bergeron moving the puck over to Marchand, who was going hard to the front of Tampa Bay’s net and beat Mike Smith for the 2-1 lead.
Who could have guessed “Bergeron to Marchand” was going to be heard for years to come?
Here are all the goals from Game 5:
Thumbnail photo via NHL/YouTube