The Boston Bruins turned back Toronto’s comeback with a rally of their own.
Trailing by three goals in the third period and still by two with less than 90 seconds left in their season, the Bruins scored twice in a span of 31 seconds to tie it and then eliminated the visiting Maple Leafs on Patrice Bergeron’s goal at 6:05 of overtime to win 5-4 in Game 7 on Monday night.
“It was one of the crazy ones I’ve been part of,” said Bergeron, who assisted on Milan Lucic’s goal with 1:22 in regulation and scored to tie it with 51 seconds left in the third.
Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots for Boston, which led the best-of-seven series 3-1 before the Maple Leafs won two in a row to force a seventh game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.
Toronto opened a 4-1 lead in the third period, but Nathan Horton cut the deficit to two midway through the third period and then Lucic and Bergeron scored in the final 1:22 with Rask on the bench for an extra skater.
“Anything can happen,” Lucic said, “and that’s exactly what happened.”
Cody Franson scored twice, and former Bruin Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Toronto. James Reimer made 30 saves for the Maple Leafs.
But it was the one he missed that left him sprawled in the crease, face down, while the Bruins celebrated.
“I was trying to be pretty even-keeled,” said Reimer, who was teary-eyed in the locker room after the game. “There was time left, they could come back and they did. When you’re up 4-1 you’d like to be able to hold onto that lead.”
The win completed a whipsaw of a weekend for Boston, which won Games 3 and 4 in Toronto to put the Maple Leafs on the brink of elimination, but failed to clinch at home Friday and again in Game 6 when the series returned to Toronto.
“They had us on the ropes and we’re glad we’re done with them,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Rangers 5, Capitals 0: Led by Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 saves in a second consecutive shutout, and goals from some unlikely sources, visiting New York beat Washington in Game 7 to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
New York contained Alex Ovechkin again and completed its comeback after trailing in the series 2-0 and 3-2. It is the first time New York won a Game 7 on the road in its history.
Arron Asham put New York ahead in the first period, before Taylor Pyatt and Michael Del Zotto made it 3-0 early in the second on goals 2:10 apart.
Ryan Callahan added a goal 13 seconds into the third period, and when Mats Zuccarello scored with about 131/2 minutes remaining, thousands of red-clad fans streamed to the exits.
Ovechkin was held without a point in Games 3-7. The Russian wing led the NHL with 32 goals but he heads into the offseason after the longest playoff point drought of his career. He had a goal in Game 1, an assist in Game 2, and that was it.