Bobby Orr’s goal wins a Stanley Cup.
When you ask any number of hockey fans what some of hockey’s most iconic moments are, lists will differ some. Invariably, however, each list is going to include the Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for the Boston Bruins against the St. Louis Blues in 1970. That goal gave the B’s their first Stanley cup since 1941.
The series against the Blues wasn’t much of one, really. The Bruins won the first three games by a combined score of 16-4. That the Stanley Cup would return to Boston seemed less than a dream and more of an inevitability, even as Game 4 went to overtime tied 3-3.
The overtime scenario provided the drama. Boston’s greatest hockey star and still one of the very greatest players to ever play the game provided the storybook ending.
Orr started his iconic play with a dish to Derek Sanderson, then he bolted to the net unimpeded. Sanderson passed it out and Orr swept the puck under Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall to clinch the Cup.
Orr was in his fourth NHL season and just 21 years old during the 1969-70 campaign.
Leading up to that goal, Orr had 19 points in just 14 playoff games. He also had just come off a season in which he led the NHL with 120 points, becoming the first defenseman to win the Art Ross Trophy. Orr also won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Norris Trophy as best defenseman.
So it was only fitting that No. 4 scored the winner that would end the 1970 Stanley Cup Final and win Boston’s first Stanley Cup title since World War II.
While this goal would have never been forgotten in Boston sports lore, it may not have reached icon status without it leading to one of the most famous photographs in sports history.
As Orr scored, he was tripped up. He went flying, but he already knew the puck was in. Orr didn’t wait to celebrate as he flew through the air. He was only up for a second, but Boston Herald photographer Ray Lussier snapped a shot of Bobby mid-flight and kept him there forever.
45 years ago today, and it still never gets old. pic.twitter.com/yHUbw05KF0
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 10, 2015
That photo is framed in bars and basements in Boston and all over the world (including in the house I grew up in, in Chicago).
That still photo also has been immortalized in bronze (photo above) outside TD Garden, the look of unmistakable joy frozen on Orr’s face forever as Bruins fans go to watch their favorite team.
It was part of one of the best of the NHL’s awesome “History will be Made” ads, which asked “What if Bobby didn’t fly?”