Fittingly, Boston forward Marco Sturm enjoyed hockey's version of a walk-off home run when he provided the dramatic moment in a wintry setting in a venerable baseball stadium on Friday.
Sturm slammed home the overtime winner after taking a perfect pass from teammate Patrice Bergeron to give the Bruins a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
"It's just one of those memories that is always going to be — for right now anyway — on the top of my list," said Sturm, who praised Bergeron for finding him with the pass.
"I knew where he was going to be," Bergeron added.
The Bruins became the first home team to win an outdoor game and hope to break the trend of the past two Winter Classic winners, Pittsburgh in 2008 and Detroit last year, that went on to lose the Stanley Cup final.
"If we get there, then we'll try to change that," said Boston's Mark Recchi, who sent the game into overtime thanks to his power-play goal with two minutes and 18 seconds remaining in the third period.
The Bruins come-from-behind win snapped the Flyers win streak at four games. When they departed last week to begin a six-game road trip that concludes in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, the Flyers were struggling and in 14th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference. They have since climbed to ninth.
Late heroics overshadows Syvret's marker
The goals from Boston subdued the fact that Philadelphia's Danny Syvret earned his first NHL goal.
Performing on the big stage of the outdoor Winter Classic, the 24-year-old defenceman slammed in a seeing-eye shot through a bunch of players early in the second period.
Syvret, a 2005 Canadian junior team player from Freelton, Ont., near Hamilton, was playing in his 44th NHL game. For the milestone, he can thank Bruins goalie Tim Thomas for letting his emotions get the best of him.
Moments before Syvret fired his shot at the Boston goal, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell bumped Thomas. When Hartnell sidled up beside the Bruins goalie for a second time on the shift, Thomas went to push Hartnell, taking himself out of position to stop Syvret's shot.
As much as Thomas, who was named to the United States Olympic team after the game, was to blame for the Philadelphia's only goal, he was outstanding. He stopped Flyers forwards Claude Giroux and Aaron Asham on breakaways and moments before Sturm's game-winner, Thomas stoned Philadelphia's Daniel Briere and Braydon Coburn.
"Timmy always battles," Bergeron said. "He never stops battling."
Thomas was relieved to see Recchi deflect in a pass from Boston defenceman Derek Morris for the game-tying goal.
"You could feel the energy when we tied it up with two minutes left," Thomas said. "At that point I was very grateful because the [Philadelphia] goal was basically I lost my cool and wasn't following the puck.
"So when we tied it up, it was very exciting. But I wanted to take that one step further. I think everybody on our bench wanted it so bad. When Marco scored the winner, that one of the most incredible feelings that I can remember."
Fists fly in Beantown
Philadelphia's Dan Carcillo, who was seen enjoying New Year's Eve in the early-morning hours in Beantown, thumped Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton in a first-period fight.
There was even a puck that was flipped out of play that banked off the 37-foot-high (11.2-metre-high) Green Monster on one bounce, making 4 Yawkey Way in Boston a hockey address for one afternoon anyway.
The sellout crowd of 38,112 fans, many of whom made the trip from Philadelphia, was revved for the game in style. Local rockers the Dropkick Murphys performed their Shipping Up to Boston song. Singer-songwriter Daniel Powter of Vernon, B.C., sang O Canada and the legendary James Taylor followed with his rendition of the U.S. national anthem.
The fans from teams received another treat when Hockey Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke led their respective teams, the Bruins and Flyers, out of the dugouts and onto the ice surface.
Late in the game, during a television timeout, actor Denis Leary and a local firefighter led the crowd in singing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline, a tradition at Boston Red Sox games.
Philadelphia netminder Michael Leighton, who made his fifth consecutive start, had a shutout streak of 151:10 snapped with the Recchi goal.
Both teams had 25 shots on goal.