Patrice Bergeron capped an epic Bruins rally at 6:05 of overtime Monday night at TD Garden, rapping home a rebound to give Boston a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their playoff series.
Tyler Seguin had several swipes at the puck. The Leafs couldn’t clear the rebound, and Bergeron swooped in for the winner.
The Bruins advanced to the second round, where they will play either the Rangers or the Capitals.
The Bruins, trailing 4-1 in the third period, completed a three-goal rally in the final minute of regulation to send it into OT.
Nathan Horton ignited the rally at 9:18 of the third to make it a 4-2 game.
Milan Lucic followed up his linemate’s goal with a net-front rebound of a Zdeno Chara shot at 18:38 during six-on-five play.
And Bergeron capped the comeback with 50.2 seconds remaining in the third. With Chara setting a screen on James Reimer, Bergeron snapped a long-distance shot past the netminder to tie the game at 4.
The Leafs had scored at 5:48 of the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Clarke MacArthur peeled out of the left corner with the puck and spotted Cody Franson open at the right point. Franson fired a shot through multiple screens – bodies included Lucic and Zdeno Chara – that zoomed over Tuukka Rask’s right shoulder to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. It was Franson’s second goal of the night.
The Bruins had some scoring chances in the second. Their best opportunity came on the penalty kill. Bergeron stripped Franson in the Toronto zone and saw Daniel Paille breaking for the net. Bergeron connected with Paille, but the left wing slapped the puck wide of the cage.
The teams were tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes. The Bruins came out flying to start the game. On their first shift, Lucic, David Krejci, and Horton had an odd-man rush. Jake Gardiner got caught up the ice, leaving Krejci and Horton with an outnumbered chance against Franson. Krejci snapped several bad-angle shots on goal that Reimer turned back.
The Bruins got on the board at 5:39. Lucic and Horton engaged Franson in a puck battle against the left-side boards in the offensive zone. Horton tapped the puck free to Matt Bartkowski in the high slot. Bartkowski could have snapped off a quick shot. But he held the puck and waited for Krejci and Gardiner to pass in front of Reimer to create a screen. As the shooting lane opened, Bartkowski whipped a wrist through Reimer to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
The Leafs fought back after scoring on the power play. Chara was called for high-sticking while trying to fend off a Joffrey Lupul rush. During the delayed penalty, Rask booted out Lupul’s bid with his right pad.
With Chara in the box, the Leafs broke through on the Boston penalty kill. On a down-low chance, Dougie Hamilton and Adam McQuaid engaged Lupul and James van Riemsdyk. But nobody picked up Franson, who had drifted down low at the far post. Before the Bruins could recover, Franson poked in the loose puck at 9:35 to tie the game at 1-1.
The Leafs turned back the Bruins’ early rush and controlled the second half of the first period. Toronto held a 12-7 shot advantage after 20 minutes.
The Bruins lost Dennis Seidenberg to a leg injury early in the first. Seidenberg played only 0:37 over two shifts. Seidenberg could have been hurt early when he pinched down low and threw a check against the boards. He stayed on the bench and never left for the dressing room. But Seidenberg stood occasionally to shake out his left leg. He never returned.
The Bruins were already without Andrew Ference (lower body) and Wade Redden (undisclosed).
The Bruins changed their second and third lines. Jaromir Jagr replaced Seguin as the No. 2 right wing alongside Brad Marchand and Bergeron. Seguin skated with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly on the third line.
“Patience has been good in the past for our team,” coach Claude Julien said before the game. “Sometimes it plays against you and you have to live with those consequences. But there’s been times where people have gotten on the players, and the players eventually responded, and you’re glad that you gave them that opportunity, and that’s what we’ve done with that line so far.
“Krejci’s line has been extremely good. I thought Kelly’s line in the last two games has gotten a lot better at creating things, and our fourth line has been our fourth line. So before you start blowing things up, you try and have a little more patience, and you hope that it pays off. I guess we’ll see what happens tonight.”