Best Bruins Playoff Games: The Gregory Campbell broken leg game

Scott McLaughlin
May 14, 2020 - 11:59 am

We should all be enjoying the madness of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs right now, but since we're not, we've decided to look back at some great Bruins postseason memories by counting down their top 10 playoff games of the 2010s. Today we take a look at our No. 6 choice. If you missed any previous entries, check them out here:

No. 10: Pastrnak buries Blue Jackets

No. 9: Horton the Hero, Part 1

No. 8: Another Game 7 win over Toronto

No. 7: Savard's triumphant return

It feels like the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals have come to be remembered as just a straight-up steamrolling by the Bruins over the Penguins. But while that’s true for the first two games of the series, in which Boston outscored Pittsburgh 9-1, it’s really not true of Games 3 and 4.

Both of those were one-goal games, and Game 3 was a double overtime classic that featured terrific goaltending from Tuukka Rask, the famous broken leg shift from Gregory Campbell, and the eventual winning goal from Patrice Bergeron.

It could’ve easily changed the whole series had it gone the other way, and make no mistake, there were plenty of opportunities for that to happen.

The game would be scarce on goals, but the first came just 1:42 into the game when David Krejci’s centering pass deflected off a defender and past Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun.

After Chris Kunitz tied the game midway through the second period, the Penguins would then have an opportunity to take the lead a few minutes later on the power play.

And it was during that penalty kill that Campbell went down to block an Evgeni Malkin slap shot. It was clear immediately that Campbell was in a ton of pain, but the Penguins still had possession in the zone. With the long change in the second period and no whistle coming from the refs, Campbell’s options were to struggle back to the bench, leaving his team with just three penalty killers for a considerable amount of time, or to fight through the pain and try to finish the shift.

He opted for the latter and wound up remaining on the ice for nearly another full minute before the Bruins could complete the kill and clear the zone. Campbell obviously wasn’t able to do a whole lot during that time, but he did manage to get his body in a couple shooting and passing lanes to take away looks for both Malkin and Kris Letang. Thankfully, he wasn’t forced to block another shot. The next day the Bruins announced that Campbell had suffered a broken right fibula and would miss the remainder of the playoffs.

Fittingly, the Bruins’ penalty kill would prove to be a huge reason they won Game 3, as they went 6-for-6 on the PK against the Penguins’ lethal power play. Campbell’s broken leg shift was the most iconic part of that effort, but another big part was Rask’s play in net.

Pittsburgh peppered Rask with 29 shots in the second and third periods combined, including outshooting the Bruins 14-4 in the third, but Rask stood tall in his most impressive effort among several that series. Rask would ultimately stop 53 of the 54 shots he faced in Game 3 and go on to finish the series with a ridiculous .981 save percentage.

The Bruins would have to kill two more penalties in overtime -- one in the first, one in the second -- while also seeing two power-play opportunities of their own go by the wayside.

Finally, just over 15 minutes into double overtime, the Bruins broke through to score the winner and take a 3-0 series lead. Jaromir Jagr, facing his former team, did a good job winning a battle along the boards against Malkin in the neutral zone, allowing Brad Marchand to scoop up the puck and carry it into the zone before firing a pass to the slot that Bergeron tipped past Vokoun.

The Bruins would complete the sweep with a 1-0 win in Game 4 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years. We’ll leave this on a happy note and not talk about what happened there.

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