The Bruins’ 2011 run to their first Stanley Cup in nearly 40 years was memorable, to say the least.
But Boston’s playoff path to get there was filled with moments that will live in fans’ minds forever between the Bruins rallying after Nathan Horton’s concussion, Tim Thomas being an absolute brick wall in net and the Black and Gold getting contributions from everyone throughout the lineup.
It’s always fun to look back and reminisce about the good times.
Here are seven of the greatest moments that led to the Bruins winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, in no particular order.
Nathan Horton pouring TD Garden water on Rogers Arena ice before Game 7
Horton suffered a scary concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on a bone-crushing hit from Aaron Rome, who received a four-game suspension on top of a five-minute major and game misconduct. The Bruins rallied, though, and never looked back. They scored eight times on Roberto Luongo en route to the 8-1 win before scoring four more times on him in Game 4.
But it was before Game 7 that the Bruins may have found the most motivation.
Horton was cleared to travel to Vancouver but could not play. So he did the next best thing: He brought a bottle of ice from TD Garden which had melted and he poured it onto the Rogers Centre rink.
“I was just trying to get the Garden ice on this ice and make it our ice,” Horton told reporters after the Game 7 Stanley Cup win.
The Bruins also hung up his jersey in their locker room for added inspiration.
Game 7 overtime win vs. Canadiens in quarterfinals
The Bruins fell in a 2-0 hole quickly to their rival but bounced back with two straight wins at Bell Centre. The series went back and forth and was decided by a Game 7.
The pivotal game needed overtime to decide the winner, and it was Horton who played hero with the game-winning goal to send TD Garden into a frenzy. Horton put himself in a position to score and fired the puck through traffic.
Sweeping Flyers a year after playoff disaster
The Bruins held a 3-0 lead over Philadelphia in 2010 and looked primed to move on to the Eastern Conference semifinal. But the Flyers made NHL history by storming all the way back to beat the Bruins and leave the team and their fans stunned.
“Being up 3-0 in the series and 3-0 in that game, it was one of the most epic collapses in the history of hockey,” Shawn Thornton told reporters, per NHL.com
It was an epic collapse, but the Bruins were not going to let it happen two years in a row.
With Boston up 3-0 in 2011, flashbacks of a year prior started to surface for fans. The B’s got the outcome they desired after a dominant 5-1 win in Game 4 to move on. Johnny Boychuk potted the game-winner, Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Bruins advanced to their first Conference Final since 1992.
Knowing it likely was Mark Recchi’s final game regardless of outcome
Recchi was 43 years old and finishing up his stellar 22-year NHL career. Those around him knew the end was near and what better way to end your time in the league than by winning a Stanley Cup? Recchi did just that and also became the oldest player to score in a Stanley Cup Final game.
It was the third Stanley Cup Recchi won, and he announced his retirement as Lord Stanley was being passed around.
Alex Burrows biting Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final
Burrows was known as an instigator, but he took it to another level in Game 1 when he bit Bergeron. It was pretty obvious that it happened in the first period of Boston’s loss, but Bergeron did confirm he indeed was bit in 2020 when the 2011 team got together over Zoom to re-watch Game 7.
Burrows never was suspended, but it was a bizarre moment that fans don’t forget about.
Michael Ryder’s glove save vs. Canadiens in Game 5
We can’t mention the 2011 Cup run without talking about Ryder’s save on Tomas Plekanec with the game tied 0-0. With Tim Thomas out of position, Plekanec had a wide-open net, but Ryder got in the crease and stopped the puck with his glove.
Boston went on to win in double overtime to take a 3-2 series lead.
Tim Thomas’ performance
There isn’t much we can say about the show Thomas put on, not just in the Stanley Cup Final, but throughout the 2011 playoffs. The veteran goalie was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy and held the Canucks to eight goals in seven games. The Game 7 win was his fourth of the playoffs and his second of the series.
Thomas stopped an eye-popping 238 of 246 shots from Vancouver in seven games.
This save against the Tampa Bay Lightning deserves its own recognition.