With the decade almost over and the 2020s (that feels weird to say) right around the corner, it’s time to start a new series called “A Look Back At The Decade” where different items are ranked that have to do with the Boston Bruins.
For the first installment, it’s Top 10 most memorable goals of the 2010s. There was certainly a lot to pick from.
Some will look back at this decade as more disappointing than successful with only one Cup win in three chances. The franchise definitely had its highs and lows. But when you actually look back at it, the Bruins treated the world to some incredibly riveting hockey moments over the past 10 years.
This was really fun to go back and look at some of the big goals since 2010. Out of all of the lists, this was the toughest to narrow down because it’s such a tough distinction between importance and skill. This ranking is mainly comprised of importance, but I did find a way to get some skill in the honorable mentions.
When it comes to honorable mentions, this list has the most by far.
Michael Ryder OT Goal vs Canadiens, Game 4 2011: At this point, the Bruins looked completely down and out. The B’s were behind 2-1 in the series and trailed 3-1 halfway through the second period in Montreal. And then after Andrew Ference’s goal and infamous middle finger, the B’s slowly started to change the course of the series.
What really changed it: Michael Ryder’s goal in overtime to secure the 5-4 win and tie the series up as it headed back to Boston. It’s often overlooked, but Ryder’s presence in 2011, especially against Montreal, was as important as any. This goal was his biggest moment.
David Pastrnak vs Blue Jackets, Game 5 2019: This goal is one of those that will get overlooked as time goes on because the Bruins didn’t win the Cup in 2019 (sorry for mentioning), but it’s importance in the moment was huge. The Bruins and Blue Jackets were knotted at 2-2 in the series. In Game 5, the B’s were up 3-1 on Columbus with 8:44 left in the third and then less than three minutes later, the Jackets came back to tie the game.
With the Bruins on their heels, Brad Marchand dished a pass across to David Pastrnak on an odd-man rush and No. 88 slid it in the smallest opening between Sergei Bobrovsky’s outstretched leg and the post to re-take the lead with 1:28 remaining in the game.
Everyone dismisses the Blue Jackets as a worthy opponent, but they really did give the Bruins some fits through the first five games. It was Pastrnak’s goal that completely changed the series.
Miroslav Satan 2OT goal vs Sabres, Game 4 2010: A lot of people forget about 2010, and that’s understandable. But the series with the Sabres is one of the most underrated over the past 10 years. The Sabres were the favored team by far — they had Ryan Miller at his peak and a core that seemed destined to win the Cup.
At this point, the Bruins led the series 2-1 and they had home-ice for Game 4. It was a heart attack-inducing double overtime game and it ended with Miroslav Satan — famously dubbed “Miro the Hero” by Jack Edwards in that series — dangling Miller and sliding it past him for the win and the 3-1 series lead.
Marco Sturm OT goal vs Flyers, Winter Classic 2010: This was a really hard one to leave off this list. The 2010 Winter Classic was a great game at an amazing venue. This was back when the Winter Classic was still pretty new and everyone watched. The Bruins being centerstage in this was a big deal.
And then Marco Sturm tipped one right past Michael Leighton in overtime to secure the 2-1 win as Fenway Park was sent into bedlam.
What’s also crazy is this was literally the Bruins’ first day of the new decade. It became a trend-setter for things to come during the 2010s.
10. Marc Savard OT-winner vs Flyers, Game 1 2010
I debated with myself for awhile as to whether or not this should be on the list. The Bruins had their historic collapse in this series and Game 1 overtime winners typically don’t mean a heck of a lot. This one was special for a number of reasons and for that reason, it had to be on this list.
For one, it was Marc Savard’s first game back in two months after sustaining a concussion. The simple fact that Savard even played in this game was big enough.
But then he roofed home a rocket from the left side of Brian Boucher and right over the Flyers goaltender. It was such an odd goal, that it looked as if it was meant to go in. There was no way that puck wasn’t going in.
The Garden erupted. Savard infamously banged his stick, threw it into the crowd and jumped up into the glass, as the B’s took the 1-0 series lead and Savard reestablished himself as a force on the offense. This one was just too iconic to leave off.
9. Adam McQuaid game-winner vs Penguins, Game 4 2013
It feels like time and time again, the Bruins are always the ones with their backs against the wall. But in this instance, they were the ones with the upper-hand — up 3-0 on the favored Penguins with the potential series-clincher in Boston.
Game 4 was a tight, 0-0 contest for most of the game. Many forget that the Penguins were good enough to come back in this series and Game 4 needed to be the put away game. That’s when Adam McQuaid took a pass from Marchand and sniped one right over Tomas Vokoun’s glove for the 1-0 lead and the eventual game-winner.
It was McQuaid’s most iconic moment in Boston and it was the knockout punch that ended up knocking the Penguins straight out of the playoffs.
8. Jake DeBrusk game-winner vs Maple Leafs, Game 6 2019
The Bruins were on the brink of elimination against the Maple Leafs in Game 6 this past spring. For a split second, it felt like this would be the year the Leafs finally decoded the Bruins and advanced past the first round. It was entirely possible.
With roughly 12 minutes remaining in the second period, David Krejci slid a pass toward Jake DeBrusk, who tipped it past Frederik Andersen to make it 3-1. As DeBrusk spun on his knees toward the boards, the goal looked big. But no one knew how big it would become until the Leafs cut the lead to one in the third and made a huge final push for it in the final moments of the game.
The Bruins won Game 6, beat the Leafs in Game 7 and finished them off. It all started with this game-winner from DeBrusk.
7. Jake DeBrusk game-winner vs Maple Leafs, Game 7 2018
Oh, look at that: DeBrusk ranked consecutively on this list for goals against the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins went on to lose to the Lightning in five games in 2018, but their first round win over the Leafs was a huge statement for the Bruce Cassidy-coached Bruins. The B’s entered the third period of Game 7 down 4-3 and went on to score four goals in the final 20 minutes to win 7-4.
The highlight, and eventual game-winner, was Jake DeBrusk cutting hard to the net on Jake Gardiner. No. 74 took the extra space given by the Toronto defender’s incorrect pivot and slid it through Andersen’s legs to make it 5-4 and completely changed the course of that game.
It also won the Bruins the series.
6. Brad Marchand shorthanded goal vs Canucks, Game 3 2011
This goal is a perfect example of one with copious amounts of skill and even more importance.
The Bruins were down 2-0 to the Canucks at this point in the Stanley Cup Final. Though the B’s were actually winning Game 3 2-0 at the time, anything was possible — the Canucks were good enough to come back.
Midway through the second period, the Canucks went on the power play and the momentum started to tilt. That was the case until Marchand put the puck between both Henrik and Daniel Sedin, around a nonchalant Alex Edler, beat Ryan Kesler to the net, and put it over an outstretched Roberto Luongo for the 3-0 lead. No. 63 jumped into the arms of Ference, as the Garden exploded.
The Bruins went onto win 8-1 and that was the game where the Bruins proved they belonged.
And Marchand’s shorty was exactly where the pendulum shifted in favor of the Bruins.
5. Zdeno Chara shorthanded goal vs Canadiens, February 2017
This will be the one that causes some controversy. “Evan: how could a random, regular season goal in 2017 even be on this list, let alone number 5?!”.
Allow me to explain.
The goal itself doesn’t really matter — a shorthanded goal to go up 3-0 in a mid-February game is far from iconic. But it’s what this goal, and game for that matter, came to represent as the years have played out since.
At the time, the Bruins were struggling. They had just fired Claude Julien and promoted rookie Bruce Cassidy. The team appeared to be on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight year. The core of Bergeron, Chara, Krejci and Marchand looked old and worn down. The thought that those four could lead the Bruins back to another Stanley Cup seemed distant — it appeared as if they couldn’t even get them back to the playoffs.
The B’s had won the first two games under Cassidy, but this 4-0 win over the Canadiens felt different. You just felt that the ship would be righted, the core was back and along with it, so to was the team. The Garden faithful were as loud as ever.
So why this goal? Because it came from Chara and a lot of those previous assumptions came from his celebration — pumping his fists with his mouth wide-open as he skated towards the glass. The captain hadn’t shown that much emotion in a very long time.
When that goal went in and Chara’s mouth opened wide with exuberance, you just knew that the Bruins were back.
4. Nathan Horton OT-winner vs Canadiens, Game 7 2011
The Bruins-Canadiens 2011 first round playoff matchup may have been the most exciting series of the decade for the Black and Gold. The Habs won the first two games; the Bruins won the next three.
Game 7 was a great hockey game — B’s scored the first two, Canadiens answered with two of their own, Chris Kelly put Boston ahead, and then P.K. Subban tied it with under two minutes remaining.
That set the stage for an incredibly exciting overtime. Just under six minutes into it, Milan Lucic gloved a puck down and tossed it up top to Nathan Horton. No. 18 teed up a slapper that somehow found its way through three Canadiens, deflected off one of them, and skipped past Carey Price. The goal instantly became historic.
What’s crazy about the goal is Jack Edwards’ recounting of it. He explained on Bruins Beat that when the puck went in and he was making the famous “The Bruins…knock out Montreal!” call, he thought he was going to pass out from excitement.
I think many Bruins fans can look back and relate.
3. Patrice Bergeron game-tying goal vs Maple Leafs, Game 7 2013
Let me explain why this goal is here and not Bergeron’s OT-winner later in this game.
Every goal scored to bring the Bruins back in this game could be ranked on this list. I decided to pick the most iconic and memorable one.
It has to be the Bergeron tying-goal. The OT-winner was iconic, but after the comeback was complete, it was a foregone conclusion that the B’s were winning that game. There was no possible way the Maple Leafs were coming away victorious in overtime. Heck, Rich Peverley almost won the game with 14 seconds left in regulation.
But back to the tying goal. That puck had eyes. It was a simple wrist shot from the point that somehow went through a lane of about five people — one of whom was Zdeno Chara screening James Reimer.
Everything about that goal was unique: the way in which it was scored, Chara in front of the net, the work done by all six guys on the ice at the time (Milan Lucic in the corners was the unsung hero of this sequence).
The goal also saved Claude Julien from losing his job.
In my eyes, and I think in the eyes of most, this goal was the one that actually won the game for the B’s.
2. Nathan Horton game-winner vs Lightning, Game 7 2011
Bruins-Lightning Game 7 in 2011 has to be the most nail-biting game of the decade for both sides. It was an unbelievable hockey game. It may seem hard to believe in today’s game, but zero penalties were called on either team.
The refs stood back and let the game play out.
With roughly seven minutes remaining in the third period, Andrew Ference of all people broke through the Lightning’s mind-numbing 1-3-1 and found Krejci cutting through the middle and into Tampa’s end. That’s when No. 46 found Horton streaking to the net.
The pass found its way through Eric Brewer and Steven Stamkos and onto the stick of Horton, who tipped it past Dwayne Roloson.
What’s iconic about this is it ended up winning the game for the Bruins, which sent them to the Stanley Cup Final. That game was so low-scoring that whoever scored the first goal was winning that hockey game.
And there was Horton sending the B’s to the Final.
Side note: Horton only played three seasons for the Bruins. But his impact in that time was one of the biggest reasons the B’s were such a dominant squad from 2010-2013. He had such a knack for the big moments.
1. Patrice Bergeron game-winner vs Canucks, Game 7 2011
How could it not be this?
There’s a lot to unpack with this goal. First, we’ll address the skill of it. The most unsung aspect of this sequence was Brad Marchand’s protection of the puck against Sami Salo. Then there was, of course, the pass.
The pass from Marchand to Bergeron somehow went through Salo, Henrik Sedin, Christian Ehrhoff, Alex Burrows, and also Mark Recchi who appeared to go for the puck as well.
Bergeron’s shot surprised everyone, mainly Luongo, and the Bruins reacted as if they had won the Cup with that goal (they eventually did).
The significance of it at the time, in some ways, meant they’d won the Cup. Throughout the series, the team that scored first had always went on to win. The Bruins struggled mightily to score in Vancouver and to come right out in the first period and be the first ones on the board in Game 7 was a statement.
It wasn’t quite Bobby Orr’s Cup-winner in 1970, but it still was the eventual Cup-winner and the most memorable goal of the 2010s for the Bruins.