Boston’s Best Games

Here, we’ll be summarizing and posting highlights to the best games in Boston Sports, primarily during the internet era and since our teams started destroying the world in 2001 and because we can actually link to highlights on the internet.  We’ll try to post highlights to every game on here, but that might be impossible due to some restrictions that some leagues have on posting highlights online (i.e. how MLB still thinks the internet is evil).  If we are missing any great games, let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

The sentimental games:

Ray Bourque returns: March 24, 2001: Colorado Avalanche 4, Boston Bruins 2

I had the privilege of attending this one, and I honestly couldn’t have told you the score until I checked a YouTube video for the game a few months back.  Nobody cared about the score, because arguably the most loyal Bruin in history had returned.   Bourque was named the first star, and the entire day was all about him.  He skated around the ice an extra time, as you can see in the video, which was one of the coolest memories that I have, considering he still is my favorite Bruins player ever.

KG and Pierce Return: January 26, 2014: Brooklyn Nets 85 Boston Celtics 79

I also attended this one, and I cried my eyes out with everyone else.  There were three main differences between this game and Bourque’s return, other than the obvious one that this game was about two players and not one.  The first was that the score did matter, because Celtics fans should have been rooting for a loss.  The second was the there was no montage for Bourque, but there were montages for both KG and Pierce, which really made the day.  And the third was that KG and Pierce brought us that championship that had alluded both the city since 1986 and the two veterans throughout their storied careers.  That and the videos were why this day was even more special than Ray’s return.

First Game at home after the Marathon Bombing: April 20, 2013

The part with David Ortiz starts at 20:40.  No words to describe this one really, except…

This Is Our Fucking City.

Bruins:

Underdog Bruins Outlast the Habs: Game 6 2008 ECQF

While the B’s lost the next one in a rout in Montreal, this game did give Bruins fans some hope for the future.  And the hope proved to be well deserved.  Chiarelli, Claude, and the Bruins did have a plan that was about to start working, but what’s interesting now is that they won the Cup without most of the players who played their ass off this game.  Kessel, Sturm, Savard… all off the active roster by June 2011.  Still, the Bruins finished #1 in the conference in 2009 behind those three, and swept the Habs only a year later.  I have no idea if this game actually started to get a snowball rolling, or if that’s just (probably) a dumb narrative, but it sure seemed like it did.

Savard Scores the OT winner: Game 1 2010 ECSF

This is the best time to thank @dafoomie for these Bruins videos, because this video was just so freaking well made.  All of his videos are, but this one is probably the best, in part due to how awesome the game is.  In under 10 minutes, your heart rate can go up and down numerous times watching this video, no matter how many times you’ve watched it (and no matter what happened the rest of that series).  These were two teams playing their A game and going at in a 15 round prize fight.  The Flyers, ultimately the better team, especially once they got Gagne back later in the series, were a juggernaut that year.  The Bruins still had Krejci this game, and they were going toe to toe with the Flyers.  Just an amazing game.  Hope your headaches are better, Savard.  Screw Matt Cooke.

“The Bruins Knock Out Montreal!!!”: Game 7 2011 ECQF

Wow was this game great.  We had a Johnny Rocket, the Bruins power play being as bad as possible, a PK Subban bullet to tie it, a PK Subban dive that was the worst dive of all time, and the always hilarious call by Jack Edwards on the Kelly goal: “Hamrlik is yelling at the ref… IT’S NOT GONNA WORK!”  And that was before Nathan Horton ended it in OT.  I don’t think people realize just how much was riding on that goal right there.  Either they lose to their most hated rival in a series and season full of bad blood between the two teams, and that would have been coming off of the Flyers series a year before.  And, if the Bruins lost that game and then the Game 7 vs. Washington the year after, Claude and possibly even Chiarelli could have been gone.  And if there wasn’t the miracle comeback against the Leafs in 2013, that would have been 5 straight Game 7 losses at home, and Claude would have undoubtedly been gone then.  Thanks, Nathan.

52 of 54, 45 Straight: Game 2 2011 ECSF

Tim Thomas redifined a what it means to have a goalie stand on his head.  James van Riemsdyk had 2 goals and 8 shots (and it seemed like 80) and was around the puck 100% of the time he was on the ice.  Mike Richards had 10 shots, Danny Briere had 6, and even defensemen Kimmo Timmonen and Matt Carle had 5 apiece.  Thomas simply was not going to let anything get past him in the final three periods of this OT thriller.

“3 Goals in 2 Gammmesss for Seguin!”: Game 2 2011 ECF

The quote from Doc Emrick when Seguin scored his second of the night was just perfect.  A 19 year old keeping the team’s relaistic playoff hopes alive.  Bruins had just lost 5-2 two nights before and got scored on in the first 13 seconds, so things looked just great.  Then they got scored on in the final 7 seconds of the period, which is also just great.  And then Tyler Seguin went off.  Actually, the entire Bruins offense went off, but Seguin was the catalyst.  On 5 second period goals, Seguin had 2 goals and 2 assists.  That was the only time in history that a Bruins fan has ever been happy for a Patrice Bergeron concussion.  Dwayne Roloson was knocked out after the second, and the Bruins barely on in what was one of Tim Thomas’ few bad games throughout the playoff run.  BTW, I’m including 3 wins from the Lightning series and all 4 from the Cup Finals, because screw you, they were all amazing.

Bruins barely do enough to win a pivotal one:  Game 5 2011 ECF

Watch Nathan Horton’s goal.  Then watch it again.  It was an absolute rocketship, as Pierre McGuire mentioned.  Like I don’t think Patrick Roy or Dominik Hasek in their primes would have had a chance at it.  Absolute laser.  I’m still proud of myself that my clever Facebook status after the goal was “Both Nathan Horton’s wife and slapshot are smokeshows.”  And then Brad Marchand scores on a goal that Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron set up because they are just that good at hockey.  An underrated fact to remember from the playoff run was that Bergeron’s concussion only cost him two games, even though most people expected him to be done for the final two rounds.  Tremendous luck there, especially for a guy who lost almost a whole season due to a head injury.  And then there’s the Thomas save on Downie.  Just watch.

Instant Classic: Game 7 2011 ECF

Two teams playing at the top of their games, unable to break a tie until the final minute.  If there was a hockey fan who asked me to show them one game (without them knowing the final result) that was supposed to get them into hockey, this would be the game I’d show them.  The Olympic Gold Medal game in 2010 would be a close second, but this would be first.  This is the type of game that proves that, no, hockey doesn’t automatically need more scoring to be fun to watch.  The Bruins controlled the game from start to finish, but Roloson was on top of his game, but they finally beat the 1-3-1 and then him.  Onto Vancouver.

Old Time Bruins Hockey: Game 3 2011 SCF

The game had 145 penalty minutes and 10 misconducts.  All you really need to know, besides the fact that the Bruins just embarrassed Luongo for the first of three times at the TD Garden.  The B’s scored on their final 3 shots of the game, which is a pretty big example of Luongo just straight quitting.  The B’s didn’t react quickly to Nathan Horton being near paralyzed by Aaron Scumbag Rome, but maybe it just too an intermission to wake them up.  It didn’t hurt that Andrew Ference scored 11 seconds into the 2nd period on a shot that was barely a shot, but it meant the Bruins were off and running.  Nothing like a soft goal by Roberto Luongo to get a team’s goal scoring abilities back for the rest of the series.

‘Maybe Luongo really just sucks in Boston?’: Game 4 2011 SCF

This game was actually closer than people realize for its first half, as Michael Ryder’s goal with fewer than 9 minutes to go in the 2nd was really what rolled the blowout snowball down the hill.  Then, in the third, Luongo was chased.  Bobby Orr waved Nathan Horton’s flag, which made many eyes in the Garden swell up.  And Pierre McGuire called Adam McQuaid “One Tough Hombre,” which no one should forget ever.

Yeah, he just sucks in Boston: Game 6 2011 SCF

I was at this game, and it was the loudest I’ve ever heard the Garden when Marchand scored.  If you replay the exact second of him scoring a few times, you’ll hear how many notches the volume in the arena increased.  Then they scored again.  Then again.  Then there was the “Skate of Luongo,” as Jack Edwards calls it, from the net to the Bruins bench.  Then they scored again.  And the Canucks looked like bitches on the Garden ice for the third time in three games.  The funny thing is that they actually played an even game the rest of the way, but the damage had been done.  We’ll never know how much the games in Boston psychologically affected the Canucks in Game 7, but it seems hard to believe that it had no effect.  The Bruins used the home ice in Boston to punch the Canucks in the mouth, and Vancouver just couldn’t respond.

Bruins win the Stanley Cup: Game 7 2011 SCF

No words can do any championship justice, and this one was no different.  Such a tough playoff run — they became the first team to win three Game 7s — and such a lovable team.  So much character and balls, and they had the hot goalie to top it off.  Tim Thomas engraved his place into Boston Sports lore, as did Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron (who each had almost flawless Game 7s) and the rest of the 2011 Boston Bruins.

Bruins Come Back from 4-1 Deficit in Game 7: Game 7 2013 ECQF

The Bruins were dead, make no mistake about it.  They were flatter than Kansas, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were about to stage a shocking upset, given that they were the team that the fancystats hated all season.  Then the Bear finally woke up from hibernation.

Bruins Outlast Penguins in Double OT Thriller: Game 3 2013 ECF.

This game was one of the best sporting events of 2013.  The Bruins and Penguins were up and down the ice the whole game, and both teams looked like they would have rather died than lose the game.  Then, the awesome line combination of Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr that was one of the best in that year’s playoffs struck, giving Bergy his 2nd OT winner of the postseason.

Bruins score 3 in the final 10 minutes to even series against Habs: Game 2 2014 ECSF

You forget how entertaining this game was because the Bruins lost in a Game 7 in which everything went wrong and then some.  (They outshot the Habs 30-18 and the Frenchies put away the game on a goal that hit a guy’s skate on a pass… DAMMIT ALL!)  In game 2, however, the B’s were about to go down 2-0 heading back to Montreal just like in 2011, but they looked to have no urgency and no ability to stop PK Subban.  Then, they turned the tables on Carey Price.

Celtics: 

Celtics Come Back from Largest 4th Q deficit in NBA Playoff History: Game 3 2002 ECF

You thought I was gonna jump right to 2008, didn’t you?  Nope, you can’t forget about this one.  Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker, and a bunch of guys that you’re embarrassed to admit that you had no memory of them playing on the Celtics kicked the Nets’ teeth in after not showing up for 3 quarters.  Paul Pierce made a major case for being an NBA superstar, and his status as a clutch status took a huge leap after this game.

Pierce Beats LeBron with Help from PJ Brown: Game 6 2008 ECSF

 

Every Celtics fan of at least 15 years of age will remember where they were for this Pierce vs. LeBron battle.  This showdown rivaled all time classic duels like Bird vs. Magic, Michael Jordan vs. the flu, and Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton.  What you may not remember, though, is that the Celtics wouldn’t have won if PJ Brown — their depth free agent signing in February of that year who was barely supposed to move the needle for the C’s — hadn’t gotten hot and gone 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line for 10 point in the final quarter and a half of the game.  Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Eddie House all had off days with their shooting, and you should thank Bill Belichick (God) every day for the fact that PJ freaking Brown was there to help Paul Pierce in the game of his life.  The Truth had an incredible stat line of 41 points on 13-23 FGs, 4-6 3FGs, 11-12FTs, 4 reb, 5 ast, and 2 steals in 44 minutes.  While LeBron had 45 points, Pierce outplayed him because of his efficienty (compared to LBJ’s 14-29 shooting) and 3 point shooting (compared to LBJ’s 3-11 clip from behind the arc).  Doc Rivers likely definitely would have been fired if the Celtics had lost that game, so he can share in Celtics’ fans thankfulness for how the game turned out.  Imagine if the Pierce-Garnett-Allen Celtics had never won a title.  Now that’s a scary thought.

 

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