Bobby Orr

Ranking the Bruins' Top 10 individual playoff performances

Ranking the Bruins' Top 10 individual playoff performances

With six Stanley Cups in their franchise history, the Boston Bruins have enjoyed plenty of epic postseason performances.

Bobby Orr and Tim Thomas are Boston's only members of the Conn Smythe Trophy club since the award only came into existence in the mid-1960s, but there have been plenty of massive playoff performances from the Black and Gold.

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Some of them are an entire body of work in the postseason like the ridiculous 13 goals and 27 points that Phil Esposito put up in 1970 for the Bruins while losing out on the Conn Smythe to No. 4.

Some are individual performances like David Pastrnak’s three-goal, six-point game in 2018  that broke a Wayne Gretzky record for the youngest player to author that kind of a prolific game in the postseason. But all of them are greatness personified as big-time performers stepping up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Click here for the 10 best postseason performances in Boston Bruins franchise history.

This Date in Bruins History: B's, Bobby Orr beat Rangers to win Stanley Cup

This Date in Bruins History: B's, Bobby Orr beat Rangers to win Stanley Cup

Bobby Orr scored two Stanley Cup-winning goals in his legendary Boston Bruins career.

The first came in 1970 and produced one of the most iconic moments in NHL history. It was Orr's flying goal in overtime of Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues, a tally that clinched a championship for the Bruins.

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Orr also scored the game-winning goal in the 1972 Stanley Cup Final versus the New York Rangers. The Bruins and Rangers played Game 6 of the series at Madison Square Garden on May 11, 1972. Orr's power-play goal in the first period was the difference in a 3-0 win for the Bruins. The great defenseman evaded a Rangers player at the blue line with a spin move, and then he fired a shot that found the back of the net to open the scoring. Bruins forward Wayne Cashman scored two insurance goals in the third period to help the Bruins win their second title in three years.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, it would be their last Stanley Cup championship until 2011.

Overall, the Bruins have only played only four games on May 11 in their history. Here's a recap of the other three games on this date:

1978, Semifinals: 6-3 win vs. Flyers
1991, Prince of Wales Conference Finals: 5-3 loss at Penguins
1994, Eastern Conference Semifinals: 5-3 loss vs. Devils

This Date in Bruins History: Bobby Orr scores to win Bruins a Stanley Cup

This Date in Bruins History: Bobby Orr scores to win Bruins a Stanley Cup

Back in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins were leading the St. Louis Blues in the series 3-0 and had a chance to close out the title at the Boston Garden. A win and sweep would give the Bruins their first Stanley Cup title since 1941.

The two teams both played hard in the contest and with the game tied up at 3-3, they headed into overtime. That's when one of the most memorable goals in the history of the NHL occurred.

Just 30 seconds into the extra period, legendary Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr took a pass from forward Derek Sanderson in front of the crease. He deposited the puck into the back of the net to give the Bruins the victory in the game and the series to kick-start an excellent decade of hockey in Boston.

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And the title itself is immortalized in the form of a photo that sees Orr stretched out parallel to the ice just after the puck went into the back of the net, letting out an exultant roar.

And Orr obviously remembers that moment fondly.

"When I look back, I did see it go in. So, I jumped and Noel [Picard] helped me a little bit," Orr said of the iconic goal and photo. "You know, he had his stick under my skate and he lifted my leg but I was helping a little bit because I did see it go in."

The most recognizable moment in Bruins history may never have happened if not for the decision-making of Bruins head coach Harry Sinden. At the beginning of the overtime period, he opted to start with the Sanderson line ahead of Phil Esposito's line despite Esposito being the team's top scorer. And there was a reason for that.

"I was nervous that we'd be a little overanxious to score that goal," Sinden said. "Great lines like Esposito's line, [Fred] Stanfield's line, if there's a fault to them, it's that once in a while, they get overexcited and take chances and take risks."

Obviously, the decision paid off as it was Sanderson who delivered the key assist to Orr. And half a century later, Sanderson remembers the moment well.

"Bobby Orr had a Cinderella year, not that it was a fluke," Sanderson said. "For him to get that goal, that's what I was happiest about."

But while Orr's goal will live on forever in the minds of Bruins fans and NHL lore, the most important thing for Orr wasn't scoring. It was getting the championship.

"Growing up in Canada, my dream was to play in the NHL and be on a Stanley Cup team. It was great that we got a photo like that, but the event itself and everything surrounding the life of a professional athlete and being the champion was obviously a great thrill."