Editor’s Note: May 10 marks the 50th anniversary of Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr’s iconic, 1970 Stanley Cup Final-clinching goal against the St. Louis Blues. In the lead up to the anniversary, NESN.com is remembering that team and Orr’s goal, which will include NESN’s airing of the “1970 Stanley Cup Playoff Rewind” on Saturday, May 9, at 8 p.m. ET. On May 10, NHL Network will air “The 1970 Bruins: Big Bad & Bobby” a documentary celebrating that team. Click here for more Bruins coverage.
The 1969-70 Bruins are a team that, to put it simply, never will be forgotten in Boston.
Bobby Orr. Derek Sanderson. Phil Esposito. Gerry Cheevers. Johnny Bucyk. Whether fighting or finesse is your preferred brand of hockey, they could do it all and they could do it well.
This Sunday marks the 50 years since that team winning the Stanley Cup, ending a 29-year drought.
So, let’s look back at that team.
With the documentary set to air Sunday and the “1970 Stanley Cup Playoff Rewind” on Saturday, here are three things you might’ve forgotten about the 1970 Bruins.
1.It was that group’s third crack at the postseason
The “Big Bad Bruins” really came to be during the 1967-68 season. Bobby Orr was blasting onto the scene, and the acquisitions of Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge in the blockbuster trade with the Chicago Black Hawks was what really pushed the Bruins to the next level after they stumbled for much of the 50s and 60s.
But they were swept by the Canadiens in the quarterfinal of the 1968 playoffs, and after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1969, they fell to Montreal in the semifinal.
Despite that, it was clear that at some point the Bruins would break through, and it was in 1970 that came to fruition.
2.Anything but a win over the St. Louis Blues would have been stunning
This is by no means an effort to minimize what the 1969-70 Bruins did, but the NHL didn’t create the West Division until the 1967-68 season.
So all of the sudden, there were six expansion teams thrown into the league, and for a while they were regarded as vastly inferior to the East. Because of that, whichever team from the East got through to the Stanley Cup Final was considered the heavy favorite to win it all. In fact it wasn’t until 1974, when the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, that a West Division team claimed a championship.
Still, the Blues weren’t a slouch. They had skill, but largely were bolster by some of the game’s best goaltenders at the time in Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall.
But clearly it was not enough, as the Bruins outscored the Blues 16-4 in the first two games and ultimately swept the series.
3.They finished that postseason with 10 straight wins
The Bruins really were an absolute wagon in the 1970 postseason.
After dropping Games 3 and 4 of the quarterfinal to the New York Rangers, Boston would not lose again the rest of the way. They rattled off 10 straight wins to conclude the season, and in addition to their sweep of the Blues in the Final, they also broke out the brooms against the Blackhawks.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the team Boston defeated in the semifinals.