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Recap of Bruins’ Stanley Cup appearances since 1972

06.01.11 at 10:16 am ET
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The Bruins will begin their first Stanley Cup finals since 1990 Wednesday in Vancouver. Their last appearance was in 1990. Their last title came in 1972.

The Bruins have been in five Stanley Cup finals since ’72, and WEEI looks back at all of them.

1974: Bruins vs. Flyers

The Bruins finished the 1973-74 regular season first in the East Division, with Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman finishing 1-2-3-4 in scoring in the NHL. They were heavily favored against the Flyers, although the Flyers finished first in the West, just a point behind the Bruins.

The Bruins won Game 1 by a 3-2 count, with both Orr and Cashman scoring a goal and recording an assist. In Game 2, the B’s led 2-0 after one period thanks to goals by Cashman and Esposito, but three third-period Flyers goals ‘€“ two by center Bobby Clarke ‘€“ cost the Bruins the game and home-ice advantage.

The Flyers took Games 3 and 4 at the Spectrum, holding the Bruins scoreless after the first period of both Games 3 and 4.

The Bruins protected home ice with a 5-1 Game 5 victory thanks to two goals from Orr, but in Game 6, Rick MacLeish scored his 13th goal of the postseason for a 1-0 win and the title. Goalie Bernie Parent was named MVP of the playoffs.

1977: Bruins vs. Canadiens

Although the third-seeded Bruins had won the Adams Division during the regular season, they were no match for the top-seeded, defending champion Canadiens in the 1977 finals. The Canadiens outscored the Bruins 16-6 in the four-game sweep.

Boston’€™s only lead of the series came in Game 4 at the Garden, with Bobby Schmautz scoring midway through the period for a 1-0 advantage. Montreal tied the game on a Jacques Lemaire goal early in the second, then Lemaire finished the Bruins off with an overtime goal.

Right winger Guy Lafleur won the Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) with nine goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.

1978: Bruins vs. Canadiens

The 1978 Stanley Cup finals offered the Bruins another shot at the Canadiens. The only differences were that the Bruins were seeded second, and this time they weren’€™t swept.

The Bruins scored first in Game 1 in Montreal, then gave up four unanswered goals, two to left winger Yvon Lambert. The Bruins matched the Canadiens goal for goal in Game 2, and regulation ended with the game tied 2-2. Lafleur, the longtime Bruins killer, then beat the B’s with a goal late in the first overtime.

The Bruins evened the series by winning both of their home games: a 4-0 thrashing in Game 3 and a thrilling Game 4 in which Boston took a 3-2 lead into the final minute of the game, gave up a game-tying goal to Lafleur, then won on a Schmautz goal six minutes into overtime.

The Canadiens won Game 5 at the Montreal Forum with four goals in the first and second period. Boston took a 1-0 lead in Game 6 at the Garden, then gave up four goals in a row. The Canadiens won the finals on Boston’€™s ice in back-to-back years, their third of four consecutive championships. Defenseman Larry Robinson was named MVP after scoring four goals and recording 17 assists in the playoffs.

1988: Bruins vs. Oilers

Both the Bruins and Oilers finished the regular season second in their division, but the Oilers enjoyed a far easier path to the finals, losing just two playoff games in the first three rounds to the Bruins’€™ six.

The Bruins, unable to match the offensive firepower of the Oilers, did not win a single game in the finals. They were tied 3-3 late in the second period of Game 4 at the Garden, but fog and a power failure forced the game to be suspended. The game would have been rescheduled for the end of the finals had it been necessary, but the Oilers won Game 5 at Northlands Coliseum to win the series 4-0. It was Edmonton’s fourth Stanley Cup in five years.

Wayne Gretzky was named MVP after setting two playoff records with 31 assists in 19 playoff games and 13 points in the finals.

1990: Bruins vs. Oilers

The Bruins returned to the finals to once again take on the Oilers. The only difference was a Game 3 Bruins victory. Otherwise, it was the same story: The Bruins couldn’t keep up with the Oilers on offense, getting outscored 20-8.

The Oilers swept the Bruins at the Garden in Games 1 and 2. Game 1 went to three overtimes before Oilers left winger Petr Kilma ended the longest playoff game in NHL history with a goal 15 minutes into the third overtime. The Oilers blew out the Bruins 7-2 in Game 2.

The Bruins got one game back on the road with a 2-1 Game 3 victory, but the Oilers won Game 4 at Northlands Coliseum 5-1, then beat the Bruins for a third time at the Garden in Game 5 to clinch the title. Edmonton goaltender Bill Ranford was named playoff MVP.

Read More: Bobby Orr, Bruins, Canucks, Phil Esposito
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