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The key to Boston’s Game 7 victory lies in one word: resilience

Having collected many third-period comebacks throughout the regular season, the Bruins had the necessary confidence to recover.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Marchand’s empty-netter sealed the deal, but it was Boston’s experience in down-late situations that helped them through the first round.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

As Game 7 headed into the third period Wednesday night, there was something in the building that told us we might not have seen the last of Boston this season. There was a bit of ease knowing that, in six regular-season games, Boston was able to recover from a deficit and win, forcing OT or a shootout in five more. A bit concerning was the seventeen losses they suffered when trailing after two periods, but that accounts for all but three losses on the season. In short, there was almost always time - and confidence - for a comeback.

Fast forward to the playoffs, and a different picture came into focus. Toronto, having won 31 of 35 games when leading after two, were determined to be a tough team against whom to rally. They had won all three games where they led after 40 minutes in the series against Boston thus far. So, you’d be forgiven if there was a little seed of doubt heading into the third period last night.

Just not if you asked the Bruins.

Torey Krug: “Didn’t matter how long it was going to take. We were going to do the job. You know, it’s kind of how we were all season long. You know, coming back, you know, in games, losing guys to injury. It was just kind of like the definition of our season, so it didn’t matter. We were going to break them, and we were going to out-will them and we did.”

Tuukka Rask: “It was only a one goal game, so you win a period it’s either overtime or you win a game. We just decided we’re going to win it. There was no ifs ands or buts. We said we’re going to win it and we went out there and played like we wanted to win. We were down, we scored a goal, we scored another one and never looked back. We didn’t give them a whole lot there, like we did in the first two periods. It was a great character win again.”

Zdeno Chara: “I’m very proud of this group. We showed that resiliency the whole season. We were behind a number of times this season going into the third and we were able to come back. And I think that’s just a reflection of this team. How we are able to never give up and keep pushing.”

Brad Marchand: “That was one of the most incredible games I’ve ever been a part of. It was so back and forth; the intensity from the crowd and the emotion was a lot of fun to be part of. But, even after they got the lead a couple times, we just – we knew that we have the resiliency in the room to continue to come back, we’ve done it all year, so we just try to draw on that. It doesn’t always go your way, but luckily tonight it did... we’ve done it all year. It was only one goal; we didn’t have to cheat to win; we just wanted to continue to play our game. We were getting opportunities and we just figured it was a matter of time and luckily, again, it went our way.”

Kevan Miller: “[The mood in the locker room] was pretty calm. We knew what we had to do. We knew that we were going to get our chances. And we need to make sure that we stuck to our gameplan and play the way that we know how to play.”

David Pastrnak: “Obviously everybody’s nervous, you know, but we try to put it behind. We’ve been through this whole season, you know, and we’ve been down by one or more goals in the third, so we knew we can come back if we scored the next one.”

Jake DeBrusk: “I think we had our leaders talk in the room here, I think they talked about past experiences and how we don’t want to break up this group we have a special group in here and I honestly believe that, just have no doubt and play like our lives depend on it and obviously you do in a game seven but when you’re down going into the third period against a team like that it’s tough to overcome but character showed through.”