A look back at the Boston Bruins’ previous five Stanley Cup championships:
Bruins defeated New York Rangers, 2 games to 0
The Bruins completed a perfect postseason with their win in the finals over the Rangers, going 5-0 en route to a championship. Led by defenseman Eddie Shore — who had a team-high 28 penalty minutes in the playoffs — and stellar goaltending from Cecil “Tiny” Thompson, the Bruins outscored New York, 4-1, in the best-of-three series to claim their first Stanley Cup. The series was the first time that two American-based teams met in the final.
Bruins defeated Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 1
In the first best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins emerged as league champions for the first time in a decade. Goalie Frank Brimsek stole the show with a performance incredibly similar to the one put on by Tim Thomas against Vancouver, as he limited the Leafs to just six goals in five games. Coach Art Ross’ squad relied heavily on center Bill Cowley, who led the Bruins with 14 points in the postseason. The 1939 Finals was the last time scores from the winning team’s playoff run were engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Bruins swept Detroit Red Wings, 4 games to 0
Captain Dit Clapper and company swept the Wings as the Bruins won their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Milt Schmidt, just 23 at the time, led the Bruins with 11 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins closed out the series at Detroit Olympia on April 12 with a 3-1 victory, as Schmidt’s longtime linemate, Bobby Bauer, buried the game-winning goal. Defenseman Des Smith was mistakenly engraved as “Wes Smith” on the Cup. It wasn’t corrected until the revered trophy was redone during the 1957-58 season.
Bruins swept St. Louis Blues, 4 games to 0
The Bruins put an end to a 29-year drought and a string of five consecutive losses in the Stanley Cup Finals when they swept the Blues in 1970. The Bruins dominated the series, outscoring St. Louis, 20-7, in the four games. Goal No. 20 produced arguably the most famous photograph in the history of sports, as Bobby Orr flew through the air after burying the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 4 at Boston Garden. For his efforts, Orr was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Bruins defeated New York Rangers, 4 games to 2
After a disappointing opening-round loss to the Canadiens in 1971, the Bruins rebounded by winning their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. The Rangers erased a 5-1 lead in Game 1, but Ace Bailey helped the Bruins avoid disaster with a go-ahead goal late in the game. The Bruins failed to close out New York at home but took care of business at Madison Square Garden in Game 6. Orr led all players in the series with eight points and was awarded his second Conn Smythe in what proved to be the Black and Gold’s last championship for nearly four decades.
This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal.