The 2010s were one of the most successful decades in the history of the Boston Bruins, with a Stanley Cup victory and three appearances in the finals as well. What is even more impressive is that the type of hockey they played early on in the decade was a lot different than what they have become more recently. They started the decade by winning games with their physicality and sound defense, and then finished the decade by becoming more of a team who won games with their finesse and scoring touch. What stayed constant throughout the decade was the amount of exhilarating games that were played. So here are the top five games of the decade.
5. Game seven vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs, first round, 2018
This game was a major stepping stone to what eventually became the team we are witnessing today. Before this the Bruins hadn’t won a playoff series in over 3 years. This thrilling game seven was a hard-fought come-from-behind victory with heroics coming from players like Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk, who each had a goal in the third period to put away the Maple Leafs. This game was extremely important to the confidence of a lot of Bruins players who had forgotten the feeling of winning a playoff series.
4. Game three vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 2013 Eastern Conference Finals
This double overtime thriller was an extremely important game in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. If the Penguins had pulled out this game, the series could have been 2–1 instead of 3–0. However, due to an amazing re-direct goal from Bergeron that allowed the B’s to gain a stranglehold on the series, they would eventually win the series 4–0. This game specifically was so memorable because it lasted for what seemed like forever, and it was a pivotal game in the series.
3. Game seven vs. Montreal Canadiens, first round, 2011
This game will probably be remembered in my opinion as Jack Edwards’s best call for an overtime goal since he became the Bruins’ play-by-play commentator. Nathan Horton’s overtime winning goal in game seven over the Canadiens will be remembered as one of the most important goals in the history of the Bruins. The Bruins had spent the better part of their history getting beaten in playoff matchups with the Canadiens, and to get a win in this fashion was a sight for sore eyes for Bruins fans.
2. Game seven vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, first round, 2013
One of the most electrifying games in Bruins history, game seven against the Maple Leafs in 2013 was absolutely insane. Everyone had written off the Maple Leafs going into the series, but once the Leafs were up 4–1 in the third period, the Bruins quickly became the underdogs. However, the Bruins finally showed up in the last as Horton made it 4–2 with about ten minutes remaining in the game. Then, the Bruins would score twice in the last two minutes, with the goalie pulled to tie the game. The momentum then shifted to the Bruins’ favor as it soon became not if, but when, the Bruins would score in overtime to win. That time eventually came when Bergeron was gifted a wide-open goal less than five minutes into overtime to complete one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history.
1. Game seven vs. Vancouver Canucks, Finals, 2011
If I could put this entire series at number one I absolutely would, but game seven stands out for one obvious reason. It was the first time the Bruins had won the Stanley Cup since 1972. This game was one of pure dominance all around by the Bruins, as they marched into Vancouver and ran the Canucks out of their own building by a score of 4–0. What is even more impressive is that all four of those goals came from two players that are still vital parts of the Bruins’ success: Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. With a dominant effort from Bergeron and Marchand also came an amazing game from goaltender Tim Thomas, who recorded a shutout and later won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.
The 2010s were filled with amazing moments for the Bruins, but it is hard to pick anything other than playoff games for the top 5 games. Some other games that were in consideration were game three vs. the Canucks in 2011, when the series momentum really shifted in the Bruins’ favor, and the 2010 winter classic, when Marco Sturm buried the overtime game winner at Fenway Park. Either way, the Bruins had a terrific decade. Here’s hoping for another great decade in the 2020s.