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Just How Ridiculous Was That Series?


Your Pittsburgh Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Leading Scorer, Paul Martin
Your Pittsburgh Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Leading Scorer, Paul Martin
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. What a series. The Bruins played incredibly well, they got some very fortunate bounces, and altogether put a whooping on the Penguins. How bad was it? Well, there's Nick Cotsonika's stat up above there. What are the other teams? Well, let's take a look:

2003 Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim

The plucky 2003 Minnesota Wild were coached by Jacques Lemaire to two comebacks from 3-1 in the first and second round, knocking out Colorado and ending Patrick Roy's career in the first round and then taking out Vancouver in the second round. However, they showed up to the western conference finals and Anaheim, along with that asshole J.S. Giguere held the Minnesota to 1 goal en route to a 4-game sweep. 10 years later, and Minnesota hasn't won a playoff series since. Pascal Dupuis was on that Wild team.

2002 Philadelphia Flyers vs. Ottawa

The Flyers were the second seed going into the playoffs, but got womped by Zdeno Chara and the Ottawa Senators. In game 1 of the series, the Flyers scored their first goal of the series at 7:47 of overtime on Patrick Lalime. Adam Oates assisted on Ruslan Fedotenko's goal and put the Flyers ahead 1-0. But that was it for Philly. Ottawa rattled off 3 3-0 wins in a row, and in game 5 Boucher started instead of Chechmanek. The Flyers forced overtime but lost 2-1 after Keith Primeau took a penalty in overtime.

1952 Montreal Canadiens vs. Detroit

This is a series that has left its mark on the NHL. Montreal and Detroit squared off in the 1952 Stanley Cup Finals. Boston had taken Montreal to 7 games in the semifinals while Detroit swept the Maple Leafs after Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw an octopus on the ice, starting a tradition that's annoyed the rest of the NHL for over 60 years. In the finals, Montreal held home ice advantage. A little-known player by the name of Gordie Howe played in his first Stanley Cup Finals, scoring 2 goals en route to a 3-1 victory in Montreal. Montreal scored one more goal in the series (in game 2 in Montreal) and never led, getting shutout by Terry Sawchuk in both games in Detroit.

1935 Boston Bruins vs. Toronto

Yes, it's true. The Bruins were the first team to be held to 2 goals or fewer in a series going at least 4 games. However, it wasn't a 7-game series unlike all of the others above. The Leafs won the best-of-5 series 3-1. It was a pre-original-6 matchup for the ages between some of the biggest names in hockey.

General Managers Conn Smythe vs. Art Ross.

Coaches Frank Patrick vs. Dick Irvin.

Captains Hap Day vs. Dit Clapper. What a time to have been alive and a hockey fan. Dit Clapper and Red Beattie got the goals for Boston. Toronto lost in the cup finals to the Montreal Maroons.

Time Trailing and Leading and Tied

There's a lot to be said about holding a team to only 2 goals. Then there's the time trailing, leading, and tied. The Bruins:

  • Led for 153:07
  • Were tied for 122:02, over half of which was in game 3.
  • Trailed for 0:00. 0.0 seconds.

That last bit means that's it's what refers to as an "annihilation." It's happened 16 times before. It's the 10th time since the 1967 extension. However, usually it's like the 2009 matchup between Detroit and Columbus - early in the playoffs. The last time it happened as late as the conference finals was 1978. That's also the only post-'67 time. All of the others happened in the postwar 6 era, where semifinals were also the first round of the playoffs for some teams. It's pretty incredible stuff.

Onwards to Chicago!