Well March was a very kind month, wasn’t it?
After an impressive 15-1-1 mark last month, the Boston Bruins – despite their 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in their first game in April – find themselves atop the NHL standings and are in prime position to rest some guys, while also trying to attain the Presidents Trophy. So, in today’s Throwback Thursday Top 10, we look at the best Bruins’ months in team history.
Without further adieu, lets get to the list.
10. November, 1973
Still in the height of their popularity, the Big Bad Bruins were looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final after an early exit in the 1972-73 playoffs. They eventually did just that, but it was this November month that sparked the Black and Gold. Don’t believe me? In back to back games against the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings, they scored 18 goals, including a 10 spot against the hated Habs. Merci!
Highlighted by an 8-game winning streak, the Bruins rode the momentum the rest of the way en route to the top spot in the East Division. Unfortunately, lady luck rang out as the Philadelphia Flyers got their first taste of Lord Stanley defeating Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheevers, Johnny Bucyk and company in six.
9. December, 2008
The Bruins have had many big winning streaks during the Claude Julien era, and his first one put the Bruins back on the map.
Just one month prior to their December tear, the Bruins were starting to rack up some quality wins against teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings, just to name a few. That win over the Red Wings, the defending Stanley Cup champs, gave the Black and Gold some great confidence heading into the next month.
Highlighted by Tim Thomas’ goaltending and Phil Kessel’s hot streak, the Bruins only lost once in the month and started a 10-game winning streak, including back to back wins against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Surely, the rest of the NHL was put on notice and the Bruins were relevant again in The Hub of Hockey.
8. February, 1970
An interesting fact about the 1969-70 Stanley Cup winning Bruins – they never won more than four games in a row. But in February of 1970, Orr, Esposito, Bucyk, Derek Sanderson and the Big Bad Bruins were making their march towards their first Stanley Cup in 29 years.
Under the guidance of Harry Sinden, the Bruins only lost twice in February, both coming against the Blackhawks. Key wins against the Maple Leafs, Flyers and Blues propelled the Black and Gold to a second place finish in the East Division and eventually, that first Cup win since 1941.
7. March, 1978
With the Orr and Esposito era in the past, this crop of Bruins were young, brash and had a colorful coach in Don Cherry. All that came together in March of 1978 where the Bruins compiled an 11-2-3 mark and solidified the top spot in the Adams Division.
Terry O’Reilly compiled a career high 90 points and amassed 200 penalty minutes for the first time in his career, while 37-year old Jean Ratelle finished second on the team in scoring with 84 points. Still, the Bruins fell short, yet again, in the Stanley Cup Final against the hated Canadiens.
6. February, 1972
A year after the Big Bad Bruins were ousted by the hated Habs, new head coach Tom Johnson was at the helm and the B’s were out for redemption in 1971-72. A 12-1-1 mark in February highlighted by six straight road wins at the end of the month gave the Black and Gold enough momentum going forward.
The B’s went on to win the Stanley Cup that season. Thirty-nine years later…
5. February, 2011
Sure, the Bruins had a three-game losing streak during this time. But it wasn’t about the results and more about getting the pieces together.
During this time, Peter Chiarelli was looking to upgrade his team, and he did just that acquiring Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, and yes, even Tomas Kaberle. The B’s said goodbye to Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart during this time, but the additions, particularly Kelly and Peverley, provided a spark that the Black and Gold needed to make their run to the Stanley Cup.
Oh, and there was some good hockey going on as well. With Kelly, Peverley and Kaberle in the fold in time for their road trip, the B’s swept their six-game swing in Canada and Long Island to end the month. Oh, and there were a couple of other highlights too, including three fights in the first four seconds against the Dallas Stars and the high-scoring and penalty filled Bruins-Habs game (aka Price vs. Thomas)
4. March, 1939
At a time where the Stanley Cup Final ended in early spring, the Bruins were looking for any late season momentum in the spring of 1939. They got just that by capturing all six games in the month of March and finished the season on an eight game winning streak that began in the end of February.
Twenty year old Milt Schmidt came into his own and sparked the Black and Gold, while Bill Cowley led the Bruins with 42 points, including a career high 34 assists in 1938-39.
3. December, 1970
Unquestionably, this is the best Bruins team never to win a Stanley Cup, and perhaps the best team in NHL history never to taste Lord’s Stanley.
There were certainly no signs of a Cup hangover in December of 1970 when the B’s went on a 10-game winning streak. The B’s outscored their opponents 70-33 in this month and scored five goals or more on eight occasions.
In the middle of his best year ever, Orr and company had their eyes on the Cup. But then Ken Dryden came and the rookie led the Habs to an upset over the Bruins in the NHL Quarterfinals.
2. March, 2014
Fifteen wins, one regulation loss and one shootout loss this month is quite historic. Considering that they were red hot before the Olympic break, this run even makes it more impressive.
Highlighted by Patrice Bergeron’s seven-game goal streak, Jarome Iginla’s 13 goals and great goaltending by Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson, the Bruins surpassed the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings and are within striking distance of clinching home ice at least throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Not bad for a team who trailed the Pens by five points at the beginning of the month.
1. December, 1929
The month started with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. After that, the Bruins went on to record a team record 14-game winning streak, including a 10-game win streak that December, which was nearly broken by the current crop of talent 85 years later.
Under the guidance of Art Ross, the 1929-30 team were an astonishing 38-5-1. But even with guys like Dit Clapper, Cooney Wiland and goaltender Tiny Thompson leading the way – just to name a few – the Bruins fell to the hated Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.
Still, the win streak is still an impressive accomplishment.