The Saturday matinee between the Montreal Canadiens and hometown Boston Bruins may have felt a little too familiar for the Toronto Maple Leafs faithful.
Okay, it wasn't Game 7, and instead of the Maple Leafs in front by three goals with more than 10 minutes remaining in regulation time, Montreal was only two goals ahead. But the Canadiens appeared comfortably in front.
They enjoyed a 3-1 lead early in the third period and the Bruins didn't seem interested in mounting a comeback in front of their stunned and unusually subdued fans. In fact, Boston didn't have a shot on goal in the third period until the 8:29 mark, a 43-foot slapper from Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton.
This come-from-behind victory came 10 days before the one-year anniversary of the Bruins miracle comeback over the Maple Leafs, when the Bruins scored three times in the final 10:42 to tie the game. Then Bergeron scored in overtime for the dramatic victory.
"Yeah, it was a little similar," Bergeron said. "Hopefully, we don't have to do that a lot. We need to play like that for sixty minutes."
The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs have been packed with comebacks this spring. This was the 30th time in 52 post-season games that a team has overcome a deficit to win. This was the 11th time a team has comeback from a two-or-more goal deficit to win.
In the first four games of the second round, first Boston, then Pittsburgh and Minnesota each found themselves behind 2-0 only to tie the game and then lose. No lead is safe anymore.
"We didn't play sixty minutes," said Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban, whose team lost for the first time in the 2014 playoffs after winning its first five outings. "Are there positives we can take? Sure. I thought we played better than last game. But we only played 50 minutes. We need to play 60 minutes."
Twelve of Boston's 22 goals in this playoff run have been scored in the third period, which should come as no surprise. The Bruins were the best third-period club in the league. Nobody was even close to Boston's production in the final 20 minutes.
3rd-period goals in regular season
1. Boston 104
T2. Chicago 90
T2. Philadelphia 90
4. St. Louis 85
5. Pittsburgh 84
3rd-period goals in playoffs
T1. Boston 12 (seven games)
T1. Los Angeles 12 (seven games)
3. Chicago 11 (seven games)
4. Minnesota 10 (eight games)
5. Montreal 8 (six games)
"We take a lot of pride in how we play in the third period," Bruins defenceman Torey Krug said. "We feed off the energy in the building and our veteran players always seem to come through with big goals."
The Bruins did come through. But now the Canadiens have two days off to lick their wounds. They were taught a lesson on Saturday to never count out Boston, just like the Maple Leafs did a year ago.
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