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Beantown is the home of an iconic NHL franchise. An original six team that suits up in the legendary black and gold uniforms with the famous “B” logo, the Boston Bruins take to the ice with a tenacity that keeps the home crowd on their feet. Claiming six Stanley Cup championships to their credit, the Bruins are on the prowl for a seventh chance to hoist the prized trophy.
Joining the NHL in 1924, the Bruins were the first team based in the United States. It wasn’t long before they captured their first Stanley Cup in 1929 over the New York Rangers. Known as a tough blue collar team that matched their city of Boston, the Bruins were a formidable opponent that consistently remained at or near the top of the standings each year.
However, by the mid-1960s the Bruins had gotten off track. Having not won a Stanley Cup since 1941 and not been in the playoffs since 1959, the rebuilding of the Bruins was in full swing. Enter Bobby Orr. The Canadian-born offensive defenseman joined the team in 1966 and revolutionized the game. Injecting the Bruins lineup with his signature combination of strength, speed, play-making ability, and heart, Orr became an instant star. Once the Bruins brought in Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge from Chicago, Boston suddenly had a star-studded team to cheer on each night. The Bruins made it to the playoffs that year (and every year after until 1997, an NHL record for longest streak), but lost to their biggest rival, the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is among the biggest in all of sports.
Boston would lose to the Canadiens again the following year in the second round of the playoffs before finally winning another Stanley Cup in 1970. The finals against the St. Louis Blues is best remembered for Bobby Orr’s overtime goal in game four of the series to complete the sweep. Orr, tripped after the goal, was famously photographed flying through the air with his arms outstretched in celebration. Boston would claim another Stanley Cup two years later.
Subsequent teams were always in contention, but a generation of fans grew up without a title. Great players in Ray Bourque and Cam Neely spent most of their careers in Boston without being able to win the big one. The Boston faithful would have to wait until 2011 when the team, led by Zdeno Chara, Patrice Burgeron, and backstopped by Tim Thomas, would get the best of the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
Today’s squad is still looking to recapture the magic of 2011. Veteran captain Zdeno Chara still patrols the blue line in the black and gold. Along with him are star players in Brad Marchard, David Pestrnak, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron, and goaltender Tuukka Rask. Jaroslav Halak inked a deal with Boston to serve as the backup.
Picking up Rick Nash from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline, Boston was primed for a playoff push. Matching up against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, the series was extended to seven games before the Bruins put the Leafs away with a 7-4 victory. They would, however, see their season come to an end in Tampa Bay as the Lightning proved to be too strong of an opponent, beating Boston in five games.
Bruce Cassidy’s first full season behind the bench was promising, with a second place finish in the Atlantic Division and escaping the first round of the playoffs. He has laid a foundation for success in Bean Town from which future teams can build. Having no shortage of talent on the roster, Cassidy aims bring the B’s back to champion status in the near future.
Plenty of banners hang from the rafters at TD Garden, reflecting greats of the past who have been immortalized in Bruins lore by having their numbers retired. Among this group are Johnny Bucyk, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, and the incredible Bobby Orr. Additional information pertaining to the history of the Boston Bruins can be obtained by clicking here.