The Boston Bruins’ season the last two decades has ended pretty early. Since 1990, the Bruins have fallen short of the ultimate goal for the franchise, which is a Stanley Cup. In fact, Game 7 of this season’s Eastern Conference finals was the closest Boston has come to the Cup in 21 years. But after a 1-0 triumph over Tampa Bay on Friday night, the team is finally one more step closer to ending its long drought.
By now, the Bruins are usually right on schedule with another postseason disappointment. Ever since Boston’s five-game defeat to Edmonton in the 1990 Stanley Cup Final, it had never even been to a conference final until this season. Last year’s 3-0 collapse to Philadelphia in the second round was the low point, and seemed to prove that the Bruins were cursed.
It didn’t always used to be this way, as Boston won five Stanley Cups before 1972. Of course, when Bobby Orr scored his famous Cup-winning goal in 1970, it had been 29 years since the team’s last title. But after that goal, and after winning the 1972 crown, it seemed like a new Bruins dynasty had been born.
Yet things went another way after Boston’s upset loss to Philadelphia in the 1974 finals. Following two championships defeats to the Canadians in 1977 and 1978, the Bruins were then steamrolled by the Oilers’ dynasty in 1988 and 1990.
Although Boston is one of the Original Six NHL franchises, and one of the most famous clubs in the sport, it only has two Cups in the last 70 years. Of course, this is hardly the greatest drought in Boston sports lore, thanks to the Red Sox — but even that hard luck franchise finally won it all years ago.
The Game 7 win over the Lightning was huge since it got the Bruins back in the Final. But there is still a long road ahead before the Cup returns to Boston, as the new Eastern Conference champions must go all the way to Vancouver. In fact, it will face a team that’s even more hard luck, as the Canucks have never won a title in their history, and have also waited four decades to win it all.
What’s more, the Canucks have been the best team in the NHL all season, and have only gotten stronger after the near collapse to Chicago in the first round. As such, although Boston is the most prestigious franchise in this series, it will be the decided underdog to start things off.
In addition, if there is a third Game 7 for the Bruins, it will be in Vancouver and not Boston. But this Bruins team has been more resilient than any other in two decades — and perhaps any in four decades — so one more challenge might not be overwhelming.
Championship History- “NHL Stanley Cup History, Game Results and Past MVP’s”
Boston Globe- “Next up: The Cup”