Ok, so there wasn’tmuch doubt that the Boston Bruins would beat the three-year-old St. Louis Blues. The B’s had won six straight playoff games entering the 1970 Stanley Cup final, roared to 6-1 and 6-2 wins in Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis, and pulled away to win Game 3 at Boston Garden, 4-1.
The Blues weren’t going to let the Bruins win their first Cup since 1941 unless they could come up with an iconic moment, though: the visitors had a 3-2 lead as late as 13:28 in the third period, when John Bucyk scored to force overtime.
The big call? Coach Harry Sinden’s decision to start overtime with his checking line of Derek Sanderson centering Wayne Carleton and Ed Westfall, which, with the help of stay-at-home defenseman Don Awrey’s pinch, pinned the Blues in their defensive end for all 40 seconds of OT.
The more indelible pinch, of course, was executed by Bobby Orr, who raced up from the right point and blocked Larry Keenan’s attempt to chip the puck out. Orr passed through Jean-Guy Talbot to Sanderson behind the net, darted inside Talbot in the right circle and wrapped Sanderson’s pass through Glenn Hall’s legs from just outside the crease.
Blues defenseman Noel Picard made it arguably the most famous goal in NHL history by hooking Orr’s left skate and lifting, sending the 22-year-old defenseman sailing through the air to create one of the sport’s truly great images. A statue outside TD Garden captures the moment. Orr’s goal came on his eighth shot of the game, while Gerry Cheevers finished a 12-1 post-season with a 28-save win.
No. 2 – June 15, 2011 – Boston 4, Vancouver 0
Tim Thomas made 31 saves and Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored twice as the Bruins won Game 7 for their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
No. 3 – April 2, 1939 – Boston 2, NY Rangers 1 (3OT)
Game 7. Triple OT. A berth in the Stanley Cup on the line. Mel Hill scored his third overtime goal of the series to send the Bruins to the final (where they won).
GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME
March 7, 1994 – Boston 6, Washington 3
Everyone knew it wouldn’tbe an “official” milestone, and nobody cared. Limited by knee and thigh injuries to a grand total of 22 games over the previous two years, Neely was shooting for his third 50-goal season, despite playing a greatly reduced schedule.
The game against the Caps at the old Boston Garden was the Bruins’ 66th of the season but only the 44th for Neely, who rarely played consecutive games – or even practiced. He scored his 49th at 6:16 of the first period and hit 50 with 8:57 remaining. Only Wayne Gretzky has reached 50 goals in fewer games.