It is a play every New England fan is well versed in. They have seen this clip in countless montages. That famous image is plastered in sports bars all over the region. Every time a fan walks into TD Garden they are reminded of the most famous goal in hockey history.
50 years ago the Boston Bruins were looking to complete a four game sweep of the St. Louis Blues in The Stanley Cup Finals. Over the first three games of the series,Boston outscored St. Louis by a combined score of 16 to 4.
Boston Garden was starving for a series victory that Mother’s Day matinee. They knew Lord Stanley was in the building, and they wanted Boston to reclaim hockey’s Holy Grail. On May 10th, 1970, Bobby Orr and the rest of The Big Bad Bruins were more than happy to oblige.
At the start of the period, Boston blitzed St. Louis. The Bruins pressured the Blues in their zone with multiple shot attempts. Orr corralled the puck near the boards looking to keep the ice tilted in Boston’s favor.
He found Derek Sanderson behind the net and immediately took off. Sanderson returned the favor and found Orr gliding right in front of Blues’ goaltender Glenn Hall. Orr fired the puck past Hall and into the back of net to claim Lord Stanley.
Right after Orr scored St. Louis defenseman Noel Picard tripped Orr as he started his celebration. Orr was in the air for barely a second, but that moment will live forever.
There are plenty of iconic Boston sports photos. Fisk waving the ball fair, Havlicek stealing the ball, Butler picking off Wilson at the goal-line are all incredibly memorable snapshots. However, the picture of Orr soaring with pure jubilation across his face is the most enduring photo in Boston’s rich sports past. An argument can be made it is the most memorable sports photograph of all time.
In December of 2017 Sports Illustrated ranked Orr’s flight as the 21st greatest sports photo of all time. What does the man himself have to say about that famous score?
“The goal, obviously, I loved,” Orr told CBC reporter Peter Mansbridge in an interview. “But growing up, every Canadian kid playing hockey dreams about being on a Stanley Cup team. And that was the thing. Being on The Stanley Cup team was the highlight.”
For 50 years now, that image has been ingrained in Boston sports lore. Hopefully older fans never stop telling younger ones about the time Bobby Orr flew into history.
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones