Found May 25, 2013 on
Boston Sports Then & Now:
Jean Ratelle was the leading offensive threat on a team that made the Finals.
I’ll admit, I think I’m taking the Boston Bruins’ Game 4 loss to the New York Rangers than most fans, at least judging from the fairly mild reaction on Twitter, and in some conversations with fellow B’s backers. The general mood seems to be that we’re still up 3 games to 1. My mood on the other hand says “Could this team ever do anything the easy way?” With the combination of Tuuka Raask slipping on the ice, the too-many-men on the ice penalty that set up the tying goal and the memory of 2010 against Philadelphia still burned into my senses, I did what I usually do in these situations—go dig for a historical analogy to make me feel better. And sure enough, there was some therapy in the spring of 1977.
It’s ironic, because we just did a feature on that spring and how the respective current seasons of the Sox, B’s and C’s seem to mimic that year. Apparently the Bruins are really into this whole Spirit of ’77 thing, because in that year’s quarterfinal playoff series they won the first three games, then made sure to give New England a collective heart attack and finally went on to clinch.
The series was in the quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings. The playoffs were seeded without regard to conference in those years, and the Bruins were a legit contender for the Stanley Cup. They went three-deep in quality at center, with Jean Ratelle, Peter McNab and Gregg Shepard. Boston got quality work on the right wing from Terry O’Reilly, and Brad Park was a first-team All-Star at defenseman. And if you wanted some experience from the team’s Stanley Cup runs of 1970 and 1972, “the Chief”, John Bucyk was still skating away at age 41.
Los Angeles was not in Boston’s class. The Kings were barely above .500, and while center Marcel Dionne may have been the best player on the ice, there was no depth and goaltending had been an issue all year long. Boston, on the other hand, had reliable Gerry Cheevers in net and a substantial size advantage on Los Angeles.
Los Angeles goalie Rogie Vachon became every Boston fan’s nightmare with an incredible Game 5.
The series went to script in the first two games at the Garden, as Los Angeles simply could not stop the relentless Bruin attack, and Boston won 8-3 and 6-2. The Bruin defense started to struggle when the series went west for Game 3, but they scored enough to compensate, grabbing a 7-6 win. This series was all but over, and it was time to get ready for the team for Pennsylvania in the semi-finals (In ’77 it was Philadelphia, whereas this year it’s Pittsburgh).
Game 4 of the ’77 quarters didn’t have the mix of bizarre and maddening circumstances from Thursday night in New York, but the Bruin defense again let Los Angeles skate freely and a 7-4 win sent the series back east.
Then came the nightmare that every hockey fan fears—when the goalie of your inferior opponent gets into a zone and just can’t be beat. The Bruins played their best defensive game of the series, but Los Angeles goalie Rogie Vachon played the game of his life. In the words of Cheevers, “Vachon did everything but stand on his head to make great save after great save.” Los Angeles led 2-1 late in the game and finally scored an empty-netter to clinch it.
Now it was time to get nervous, with a Game 6 on the road and a return to old Los Angeles Forum, where the Kings had scored 14 goals in the previous two games. Boston came out blazing and built a 3-0 lead. Finally, New England could breathe a sigh of relief, right? Wrong. Los Angeles came all the way back and tied the game 3-3.
On this night though, the quirks of fate would go Boston’s way. Los Angeles defenseman Dave Hutchison was clearing the puck when he broke his stick. The puck fluttered off, created a turnover, and Boston, playing on the power play, quickly pounced and scored. Cheevers made it stand up and the series was finally over 4-3.
Boston went on to sweep Philadelphia, before being swept in turn by a Montreal team that was one of the best to ever play the game. It was a season where the Bruins won the real race, which was to be the runner-up. But in answer to my question of Thursday night, “Could this team ever do anything easy?”, the answer is apparently, “No, They never have. But they’ll do it eventually.”
BEST OF MAXIM
Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask gave up an easy goal in the second period of Thursday night's Game 4 against the New York Rangers when he tripped himself up and couldn't recover in time to stop Carl Hagelin's backhand shot on the net.
Bruins defender Johnny Boychuk deflected Hagelin's shot and really slowed it down, while Rask was positioning himself for a quick...
Think about this, Torey Krug has played in a grand total of five Stanley Cup Playoff games, all in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Boston Bruins are 4-1.
Krug scored (4g-1a—5pts) in that second round and that is the most by a rookie defenseman since Glen Wesley scored six goals during the 1988 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Wesley scored (6g-8a—14pts...
BOSTON — It was only one loss, but given the head coach’s track record, thoughts of another all-time historic meltdown started to creep into the minds of fans and pundits alike. It is, of course, absurd to think that a team with a 3-0 series lead is doomed after that series lead becomes 3-1, but not all teams have blown 3-0 series leads before.
The Bruins under Claude Julien...
The Bruins couldn't close out the sweep on Thursday night so game 5 is on for tonight. The Bruins played great in game 4 but Tuukka Rask blew the game for them because it really looked like he got drunk in between periods when he fell down on his butt and let in a goal.Game 5 is now at home though and the Bruins really need to cap off the series tonight or else Boston will spiral...
The Bruins are up 3-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. Why does it sometimes feel like it’s the other way around?
Boston’s history with 3-0 series leads isn’t the greatest, admittedly, but even a shaky closeout against the Maple Leafs in Round 1 shouldn’t be enough to derail the team’s momentum this postseason. After all, the Bruins didn’t even...
Tuukka Rask (courtesy of ESPN.com)
One game after a horrible gaff, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made up for it in Game 5.
Rask stopped New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan on a breakaway to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third period of Saturday’s game in Boston.
With the puck in the defensive zone, Carl Hagelin blocked a shot from Bruins forward Brad Marchand, and whisked a...
Boston Bruins all-world defenseman Zdeno Chara was lazy with the puck this time and it cost the Boston Bruins a goal. Rangers forward Derek Stephan was Johnny on the spot as he put the puck in the net before the Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask could get set on his post. Chara's untimely slipup/turnover caused the game to be tied again at 2-2.
Zdeno Chara gets...
No fight in the hand shanke line @pucknut9 RT @bruinsdaily: Best tradition in sports twitter.com/BruinsDaily/st…
— Eric J. Burton (@goon48) May 26, 2013
There is a new drinking game; every time the Boston Bruins fourth line/Merlot Line is mentioned drink a beer, or take a shot or you can take a drink. You would never make it through the game sober, unless you're drinking...
Since the Bruins went into overtime with the Rangers on Thursday, comparisons to Boston’s 2010 series against the Philadelphia Flyers started popping up.
NESN’s Billy Jaffe said this is a completely different situation, though. Jaffe said he’s tired of hearing about comparisons to that series.
Jaffe says the Bruins are playing much better now that they even were against the...
As the New York Rangers won game four against the Boston Bruins to stay alive in their playoff series, the Rangers got a gift goal in the second period as Bruins goaltender Tuuka Rask lost his balance.
Watch as New York's Carl Hagelin gets the goal as Rask falls on his behind before the shot is even attempted:
The New York Rangers visit the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals match-up starting at 5:30 p.m. The Bruins lead the series 3-1. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports.
Rangers Game Notes
TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN Radio (98.7 FM), XM 92
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Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Bruins –the better team throughout the series– sent the Rangers home today with a 3-1 win in Game Five. Torey Krug was an absolute killer in this series, and he scored the game tying goal in this game. That’s the season, so here’s the final goal breakdown of the year:
Rangers 1, Bruins 0
Lots of things done right on this shift.
The Boston Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers taking the series four games to one. For a box score, click here.
Excellent first 20 minutes and 1-0 lead at the break was a terrible, awful tease for the final 40 minutes of play to come. Second and third periods chock full of defensive mistakes, bad breakouts and uninspired play...
The New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins by the score of 4-3 in overtime, tonight. The Bruins lead the series 3-1. For a box score go to Yahoo! Sports.
...obviously coming back from 0-3 deficit is a near impossible task, but when you see what happened to Rask on the Hagelin goal, you have to wonder if there's a little magic going on here for the Rangers.
Yes, the Bruins had a few brain farts and gave away Game Four to the New York Rangers.
Yes, Tuukka Rask let in a goal that he soon rather forget. The slo-mo goal from hell was like watching a horror movie. You see the killer behind your lady and all you can do is scream….NOOOOOO!
However, this is not 2010, but don’t tell MSG Reporter Stan Fischler that: