Every Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs fan knows this game with every fiber of their being. For Bruins fans, it was pure jubilation, but for Maple Leafs fans, it was anguish. NESN.com asked some of those involved in covering the game for a behind-the-scenes look at how the game unfolded.

Heading into Game 7, even though Toronto had just evened the series at three games apiece the night before, the NESN crew generally felt confident Boston would win Game 7.

Andy Brickley, Bruins TV analyst: Extremely confident. (I was) 100% convinced the Bruins were going to win on home ice, that they were going to win Game 7.

Brian Zechello, Bruins coordinating producer: I liked the Bruins’ team all along. I thought that team could win the (Stanley) Cup. That was a really, really good Bruins team. I had full confidence in them in Game 7, (because of) the way they exorcised the demons back in 2011 and Game 7s against Montreal, that they’ve been through this before. There was no worry at all.

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Mike Cole, then-NESN.com Bruins beat reporter: I was not overly optimistic, I don’t think, because obviously the momentum wasn’t great. But with that team, there was a lot of stuff, like the Boston Marathon (bombing), still kind of there, so I do think there was that kind of hanging over everything. So even going into a spot where they haven’t played well, I think there was at least some confidence or hope based on just everything that the city had gone through and not wanting to go out like that.

Dale Arnold, NESN in-studio host: History was on your side. I mean, I certainly thought about history being on your side. But let’s be honest, based on the way the series had gone, you’re thinking to yourself, is this the year where the Leafs finally get their Bruins-Canadiens moment? So, there was that sinking little feeling in the pit of your stomach that, maybe, this is finally the time.

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Jack Edwards, Bruins play-by-play announcer: I was feeling really confident for Game 7 before the game. And then, Toronto did something uncharacteristic, which was to pull through in a clutch situation. I had trepidation the deeper it got because Toronto was feeling good. I observed the body language of the Leafs and that was really positive.

I had trepidation the deeper it got, because Toronto was feeling good.

Jack Edwards

As confident as the NESN crew was going in, the Leafs took a resounding 4-1 lead with just under 15 minutes remaining in a game that would end one team’s season.

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Edwards: (The Leafs) were running the Bruins out of their own building. Three-goal lead with 11 1/2 minutes to go, I got pessimistic as the night wore on. Especially with Phil Kessel playing so well against the Bruins, against the team that had drafted him.

I chatted with Brick off-air, like, ‘When do we start the obituary on this team and the autopsy?’

Brickley: I was nervous. As the clock kept ticking and we got down around 10 minutes, I was more than nervous, and that feeling I had before I walked into the Garden was dissipating pretty quickly. It looked like the season was going to end abruptly and very painfully, not only for the players, but for the fans and broadcasters.

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Cole: Even as that (Kessel) goal was scored, I was like, ‘This thing is over.’ It was just the poetic justice if you want to call it that, of Kessel coming in and burning the building down with that goal. When it was 4-1, it was just bleak and unenjoyable for anyone involved not wearing blue.

I still vividly remember being on Facebook Messenger, chatting with my now-wife about plans to go to the Vineyard in June. So, we were already planning our vacation that was a month away.

I remember I was half doing that and half writing my game story about how this was basically a collapse. I was basically writing an obituary while simultaneously chatting with (his then-girlfriend) about vacation plans for the summer. Kind of laying out the next few months, just doing nothing outside of not having to cover the Bruins.

I was basically writing an obituary while simultaneously chatting … about vacation plans for the summer.

Mike Cole

Zechello: I’ll never forget, the second intermission, basically calling and checking in at home. I had a 3 1/2-year-old at the time before my second daughter was born, but basically calling them and was like, ‘All right, I’m home tomorrow. Summer starts tomorrow.’

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Arnold: Basically, in your head, you’re preparing for, ‘This is how the season ends.’ Finally, the Leafs get their moment against the Bruins. When it was 4-1, I thought it was over.

And then the Bruins began their epic comeback at 9:18 of the third period.

Brickley: They still had a battle, but it shifted. It shifted because of who scored the goal, it was Nathan Horton on a great play by Milan Lucic. … They had no answer for that line. And if that line decided to start to dominate the game because their season was on the line, I didn’t think Toronto had an answer. The question was, was there enough time on the clock? That was the only question. The only concern I had was because I knew Boston would dominate the rest of the game as soon as they made it for two.

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Cole: I remember when (the Bruins) scored a goal, at that point, people started to leave. Certainly, the ones who had stayed were kind of just like, ‘Well, we have to see this through.’ I don’t know, I could be wrong, but I don’t remember a huge momentum shift or anything like that. I mean, I’m sure those guys have said that they felt it on the bench or whatever. They just needed one. But I mean, the math just didn’t seem to compute at that point.

They had gotten life after the Horton goal. It did start to kind of show itself in their play, where I think they got something of a jolt from the Horton goal because they were playing better. I remember when Lucic scored, it was like, ‘Oh, they just woke up way too late.’ They might have a chance if there were another period in this game, but it just still felt like too little too late, despite the fact that they kind of came out of that stupor. They finally showed signs of life and being the team that they had been for most of that season.

Brickley: I saw a scared Toronto team. I saw a team that I didn’t think knew how to win, how to close out, that had the mental or physical toughness to handle what the Bruins were rolling out there.

‘Toronto doesn’t know how to defend; they’re afraid to win.’ You know, that was the feeling I was having. So it went from we’re spiraling, the plane’s going down. The plane’s going down, but the pilots passed out, and somebody came up from coach who knew how to fly a plane, and here we go. And then you could just see the shift, and you could see the fear in Toronto — the unknown or the scared (thought): ‘We’re not sure we could do this.’ The doubt, I think is the word.

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I blame the entire roster. I blame the way Toronto plays. I blame their leadership, and Randy Carlyle is an old teammate of mine. He was the coach of the team. They just had no answer for what Boston was bringing.

Arnold: What was really funny was seeing (the fans) coming back in. Where the (NESN) studio is (in the Garden), we can see everything, and it was funny because I think it was right after the Lucic goal. There was a minute and a half left, and you could see people trying to come back down the aisle. (…) A lot of people seemed to have talked their way back in (to the building).

We weren’t predicting a big comeback. We always prided ourselves in being honest. If they can’t believe you when you’re talking when things aren’t going well, why should they believe you when you’re talking when things are going great?

It was like we had to calm ourselves down. You literally had to calm yourself down. You got the Lucic goal with a minute and a half left. You got Patrice’s goal with 51 seconds left. You’re scoring goals with the goaltender pulled and it’s like we were internally going crazy as the fans at the Garden, but externally, you’re trying to be a little more professional, if you can.

Barry (Pederson) and I happened to be standing next to each other. He grabbed my arm when they tied it. And I remember he said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ and I said, ‘Barry, nobody’s ever seen anything like this.’

You try not to get carried away. Nathan Horton scores. Now it’s four to two, and you’re thinking, OK, maybe. Probably not, but maybe. We were thinking, ‘Holy crap, they’re gonna pull this thing off.’ I mean, I remember saying to Billy and Barry, ‘Holy crap, they’re gonna do it.’ And of course, then when Patrice scored, it was bonkers.

Barry and I nearly killed each other grabbing each other.

(Barry Pederson) said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” And I said, “Barry, nobody’s ever seen anything like this.

Dale Arnold

Cole: I vividly remember sitting next to Mike Shalin, who I sat next to the entirety of my time covering the Bruins, who has actually since passed, just an awesome dude. But he hated nothing more — I think he was a Rangers fan; he kind of hated the Bruins — (he) hated when people would, not necessarily ‘cheer’ in the press box, but (if they) even showed the slightest bit of optimism or hope about the Bruins. I do remember almost grabbing him or whoever was around me. It was like, ‘Holy (expletive)!’ I’m pretty stoic when I’m up there covering a game and I’m really good at separating that. I remember feeling myself kind of popping out of the chair a little bit and almost grabbing him and being like, ‘Holy (expletive)!’

I could not believe what I had witnessed. Especially to go back and look at that play. It was like the equivalent of a fadeaway turnaround 3-pointer in the NBA, where the puck had no business going in from where (Bergeron) shot it. At that point, you’re like, ‘I’m not even sure this is real.’ It just didn’t totally compute because everything that they needed to go their way, went their way.

Arnold: Of course, you got to remember the last time the Maple Leafs beat the Bruins in a playoff series was 1959 and they thought this was a, you know, they’ve got a three-goal lead in the third period. They thought finally, the same way the Bruins felt about the Canadiens all those years, the Maple Leafs and their fans felt about the Bruins, and I have to admit, when they kept going to that live shot in the plaza outside of Maple Leaf Gardens, it was hard not to giggle.

It’s cruel and sorry, I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for the Canadiens fans or Maple Leaf fans, but when we saw that clip of those people outside that building, I giggled. That doesn’t make me a good person, but I did, I just giggled.

Zechello: I’ll never forget the next morning. My wife was like, ‘What do you mean they won?’ Yeah, they won. We’re going to New York next, which is just wild to me.

Cole: It’s literally the coolest thing I’ve ever covered or been a part of workwise.

The best quote I’ve ever heard anyone give, at least from a game I covered, I remember Tuukka was not at the podium because I remember him talking in front of his stall and he’s just kind of got this look on his face, like, ‘I can’t really believe what just happened.’ He was kind of recounting stuff that somebody asked him about overtime and he said, ‘It’s Game 7. It’s overtime. You’re either the hero or the a–hole.’

It’s such an encapsulation of the entire night where they were pretty close to the other side of the hero, but be able to come back and win the game they way they did.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images