Ranking The Top Boston Bruins
50 years ago, Bobby Orr led the Boston Bruins to a spectacular win in Game 4 against the St Louis Blues. It was the culmination of a fabulous season that resulted in 120 points and 33 goals for Orr – a season the NHL would never forget.
While the Boston Bruins delivered on expectations in that season, they were not the pre-eminent team of their time, tying with the legendary Chicago Blackhawks are 99 points during the 1969/1970 regular season. Overall though, it was the Chicago Blackhawks that pulled through with a higher number of wins.
To put things into perspective, one has to consider all the truly remarkable NHL teams like the Edmonton Oilers (1983/1984), the Montréal Canadiens (1967 – 1977), and even the New York Islanders (1981/1982). With the best-ever Boston Bruins team generally regarded as the 1969/1970 team by those in the know, it's worth taking a look at the performances of the team over time.
The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup many times, including 1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, and again in 2011.
The team competes in the NHL in the Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division. Formed in 1924, they were actually the first US team to join the NHL, and it took them just 5 years before they won the Stanley Cup when they trounced the New York Rangers for victory.
Legendary players from the early days include the likes of Frank Brimseck, Cecil Thompson, Eddie Shore, and Aubrey Clapper. The team performed superbly well in the 1940s and 1950s, albeit with little success over 5 occasions from 1943-1958. They made it to the finals in the said period, but lost.
Back in the 1960s, the Boston Bruins had a shocker of a decade. That they finished last 86% of the time (between 1960/1961 – 1966/1967) was extremely disappointing, and had it not been for the likes of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr, the team may not have become the superstars that we know them to be.
That 1969/1970 Stanley Cup Final win led to two other big wins. One player to emerge as a beacon for the Boston Bruins for many years was none other than defenseman Bourque. He joined the team in 1979 and he played a huge role for them throughout the 80s and 90s.
Spectacular Comebacks from the Boston Bruins
Their last Stanley Cup win in 2010/2011 was the stuff of legend. It took them decades to return to the big stage, and thanks to Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins goalkeeper) and his 238 saves, the Boston Bruins were victorious over the Vancouver Canucks in a blistering 7-game series.
The very next year, 2012/2013, the Boston Bruins returned to the Stanley Cup finals, this time losing to their nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks. When it comes to determining the best-ever Boston Bruins team, Stanley Cup wins are generally considered benchmarks for performance.
However, there was a time when the Boston Bruins performed superbly well, but failed to win the Stanley Cup finals. This occurred relatively recently, in 2013/2014. Their win-loss record at the time read as follows: 82 games played, 54 games won, 19 games lost, and 9 overtime losses. That translated into a .713 point percentage.
The NHL average for 2013/2014 was 82 games played, 41 wins, 31 losses, and 10 overtime losses, with a .562 point percentage.
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Which Boston Bruins Players Hold Great Records?
With so many great players in their midst, the Boston Bruins are truly America's team. The first US team to join the NHL, the players in this team wrote their way into the history books over the years.
Tuukka Rask scored 265 wins, surpassing the legendary Thompson in 2019 when he smashed a 1-0 victory against the Washington Capitals. He is also a first place contender for saves at 12,607+, and a first-place tie for save percentages at .921 Rask has 2406+ saves in the playoffs, substantially more than Cheevers at 2,220.
Bourque is clearly a legend in his time, with 5,950 shots on goal, way more than second and third place contenders for the title Esposito at 3,223, Bucyk at 3,087, and Bergeron at 3,047+
During the first 15 years of their history, the Boston Bruins dominated. Not only did they finish 8 times in first place in their league/division, they also made it to the finals of the Stanley Cup 4 times, and lifted the trophy twice during that period. 17 players from the Boston Bruins in that 15-year period became celebrated Hockey Hall of Famers.
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*Photograph courtesy of Bruce Bennett AP