I will forever have Mike Emrick’s voice stuck in my head. There is no better announcer in hockey, IMO.
Top 5 Bruins Moments of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
1. Winning the Stanley Cup
39 years of unfortunate playoff hockey. A sinking youth fan base beginning to lose interest in a team that was not winning. A strike in ‘04-’05 that caused the growth of the NHL in the mid 90’s to halter and slide so much so that a shift to a new television network, Versus, was necessary. The NHL began to rise again after the strike, dawning a new era with young stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Kane. The Bruins, however, still remained a few key players from regaining the glory seen in the early 1970’s.
The 2011 Bruins brought a different attitude to a franchise that had seen success, but always found a way to lose in the playoffs. The leadership of Chara, Thomas, and Claude Julien, the youthfulness of Marchand, Lucic, and Krejci, and the grit of Ryder, Boychuk, and Seidenberg all contributed heavily to the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Championship season.
The era of New Englanders born after the 70’s began feeling as though the Red Sox misfortunes had been transferred to the Bruins. 2011 brought out tears of joy in grown men, lifelong fans of a storied franchise. In Boston fashion, the fans are soaking in the memories from this past spring and looking forward to next year’s duck boat celebration. The “decade of dominance” continues for New England, and there does not seem to be an end in sight for the athletes of Boston.
2. Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7, 1-0 Victory over Tampa Bay Lightning
In the most defensive sound game of the playoffs, the Bruins prevailed in the battle of which goalie would refuse to quit. Tim Thomas was phenomenal and Krejci’s pass to Horton was even better. In a game that caused fans to experience a never-before-seen blood pressure level, the better team prevailed. Lightning fans will always claim that the men in stripes blew the game by not calling a single penalty, giving the much stronger 5-on-5 Bruins an unparalleled advantage. But bitterness will never alter the result of the instant classic that was the Bruin’s Eastern Conference Final’s 1-0 Game 7 victory.
3. Tim Thomas Save on Steve Downie to protect lead in Gm 5
How this play did not win the ESPY for Best Play will blow my mind for some time. Not only was it the play of the 2011 Playoffs, but it also completely altered the series. Had Steve Downie netted the freebie, Game 5 would have been tied up, giving the Lightning a chance to be up 3-2 heading back to Tampa. The Thomas Timber saved the day and Downie would spend what must have seemed an eternity staring into space on the bench following the loss. Inspector Gadget couldn’t have solved Tim Thomas on this night.
4. Defeating Montreal with 3 OT games in 6 days.
The rivalry with Montreal has been revamped over the last several years due to some epic playoff series. In 2008, Montreal beat the Bruins in Game 7 of a wild first round playoff series. The Bruins recovered in 2009, sweeping the Canadiens in Round 1, only to have heartbreak later on in the playoffs. Fast forward to 2011, and the longtime rivals met again in the playoffs. Game 1 and 2 brought back horrid memories from the 2008 playoffs for Bruin’s fans, with the Bruins losing two straight home games. The series then turned for the better with the Bruins capturing game 3, followed by 3 OT wins in Game 4, 5, and finally 7. Nothing quite screams excitement like a game 7 hockey game ending in overtime. The gloves being thrown like graduation caps, the tornado of players attacking the goalie, and the satisfaction of moving onto the next round all created a stir among the fanbase, and served as a request by the team to believe in the dream for one more spring.
5. Tim Thomas Hit on Henrik Sedin
The media hype leading up to the Finals was centered solely on the Canucks unbelievable offense, clockwork powerplay, and sufficient defense. And, oh yeah, the Bruins history. Vegas did not give the Bruins a chance. The Canucks crumbled under the pressure, and faltered in the series. The Swedish twins never got into their grove and never seemed to be comfortable with the Chara/Seidenberg harassment. The series seemed to turn after the hit on Nathan Horton. Tim Thomas took it extra personal when he unleashed “The Hit” on Henrik Sedin. Poor little guy never had a chance against a grizzly like Timmy.
-3-game offensive outburst vs. the Canucks at TD Garden (17 goals) with Marchand’s SH goal putting the icing on the cake in Game 3.
-Horton shown on tv/visits team locker room during finals providing uplifting moment for players.
-Overcoming last years debacle vs. Flyers
-Tim Thomas having bragging rights over Martin St. Louis.