Best Bruins Playoff Games: Horton the Hero, Part 1

Scott McLaughlin
April 15, 2020 - 9:12 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 last decade. Today we take a look at our No. 9 choice. If you missed any previous entries, check them out here:

No. 10: Pastrnak buries Blue Jackets

It’s crazy to think about how close the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run was to being over before it really even began. After two straight losses at home to the rival Canadiens to open the postseason, they had to go to Montreal down 2-0 with little going right and Carey Price looking unbeatable.

It would ultimately take three overtime wins for the Bruins to come back and win the series, with one bounce the other way likely swinging the series to the Habs instead.

This series was so good and so memorable from a Bruins perspective that not only is it the only series of the last decade to get multiple entries in our top 10, but it actually gets three entries… so stay tuned for more on the other two.

By the time the series returned to the Garden for Game 5, the Bruins had wrestled momentum back from the Habs, repaying their two wins in Boston with two wins at the Bell Centre in Games 3 and 4.

After an offensive explosion in Game 4, Game 5 turned into an outstanding goaltending duel, with Price rediscovering his brick wall form from earlier in the series and Tim Thomas -- with some memorable help from Michael Ryder at one point in the first period -- matching him save for save.

It took until four and a half minutes into the third period for someone to finally break through and score, when Brad Marchand’s centering pass bounced right back to him and he deposited the puck into an empty net for his first career playoff goal.

Given the way the game had been going, it seemed like Marchand’s goal might be enough, but the Canadiens had other ideas. With 6:04 left in regulation, the Montreal forecheck forced a turnover in deep and Jeff Halpern ended up with the puck alone in the slot and beat Thomas to tie the game.

After neither team scored in the first overtime, Game 5 stretched into double OT. At the 5:34 mark of that second OT, Thomas made one of the signature saves of his Conn Smythe run, as he slid across the crease and kicked out his left leg to rob Brian Gionta on a 2-on-1 and keep the game going.

Less than four minutes later, the Bruins won it off a beautiful cycle play in the offensive zone. Horton collected a rebound, circled out to the left point and then moved the puck over to Milan Lucic, who then wheeled to pretty much the same spot before leaving the puck for Andrew Ference.

Ference then walked in and took a shot that bounced around a bit before falling right to the feet of Horton, who had gone to the net after his part in the cycle, for an easy tap-in and the first of several humongous Horton goals from that Cup run.

The win gave the Bruins their first lead of the series and saved them from facing elimination in Montreal in Game 6. Four nights later, Horton would score another overtime winner in Game 7, but more on that later.

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