(Photo Credit: NHL 19)
The NHL’s “Opening Night” is officially upon us with the Boston Bruins dropping the puck on the 2018-2019 campaign against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. The nationally televised game on NBC Sports will mark the debut of Wednesday Night Hockey (in place of rivalry night), with the network hoping its re-branding will give a boost to ratings just like adding Patrice Bergeron back to the B’s power play.
(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)
Fun fact: this won’t be the first time the B’s & Caps have clashed in a coveted contest on Day 1 of the season. Nor will it be the first time the B’s have battled the previous year’s top team and current keeper of Lord Stanley’s silver chalice. But exactly how did all those games go? Do we want history to repeat itself or do we want the Bruins to go all Doc Brown / Marty McFly (better than McSorley, am I right?) and start an all-new space-time continuum puck path? Let’s open up the Bruins “Opening Night” past to take a look at some of these results, perhaps even flexing our flux capacitor mental muscles to predict just how well game one will go for the boys in Black N’ Gold!
Opening Night History Overall:
The Boston Bruins overall record on “Opening Night” (hereafter referred to as O.N.) is: 41 WINS, 35 LOSSES & 17 TIES dating back to December 1st, 1924 — the team’s inaugural game as a franchise in which the B’s defeated the Montreal Maroons 2-1 at home (but then felt marooned for the remainder of the month losing every other game). Since then, the B’s best streak of consecutive O.N. wins was from 1987-1995 (8 in a row), and there worst streak was from 1939-1946 where they were winless in, you guessed it, 8 consecutive games with 6 losses and 2 ties. More recently (since the 2012 lockout), the B’s are 5-1 on O.N. with last year’s entertaining tilt against the near-champion Predators proving the future in Boston is bright with a capital “B”.
Opening Night History vs Washington:
Speaking of the Capitals…the Caps and B’s have battled it out twice before on O.N. with both contests being in Boston (at the original Garden and later the T.D. Garden). The first was played on October 8th, 1987 in which the unforgettable Willi Plett (heavy sarcasm inferred) alongside no-names like Bourque, Wesley & Neely led the B’s to a 4-3 “W” over the Mike Gartner-led Capitals squad. The follow-up came on October 1st, 2009 in which Alexander Ovechkin, the big “O”, forced the B’s to take a big “L” 4-1. With the lifetime O.N. series at 1-1… what will the outcome be for this crucial 2018 opener? If the B’s play anything like they did in the preseason vs. Washington, then you can wash up a win for Boston!
Opening Night History vs Defending Cup Champs:
However, winning against the previous season’s Stanley Cup winner on O.N. has been anything but easy for the Bruins over the last 95 years of professional hockey, during which the B’s took on the top ranked team in the NHL a near-record 10 times, going a paltry 2W-5L-3T. The majority of those games came during the “Original Six” era, where the odds were pretty good that if you didn’t win it all, you’d be seeing the champs right out of the gate the next season.
(Photo Credit: Pinterest)
The first time that happened for the B’s was on November 10th, 1932 when Eddie Shore and Tiny Thompson helped the team earn a tie against the Maple Leafs, 1-1. The Bruins would battle the defending-champ Leafs another two times in 1948 & 1964, winning and losing a game respectively. Boston would face Cup-clinching teams from Montreal on O.N. an impressive 6 times between 1935 and 1959, at first losing to the aforementioned Maroons before the familiar foe the Montreal Canadiens (in their smarmy bleu, blanc et rouge) beat them 3 times, with the B’s stealing a win and a tie once. It would be another four decades before a team defending its title opened their season against Boston with the New Jersey Devils skating into town on October 8th, 2003 and earning a 3-3 tie against the B’s “J-squad,” as Jumbo Joe & Jeff Jillson did all the scoring against the legendary Marty Brodeur.
Opening Night History on October 3rd:
As for O.N. on October 3rd… well, that’s only ever happened twice before in the storied history of the Bruins franchise. But the B’s are an undefeated 2-and-0, so “they got that going for them…which is nice,” to paraphrase golfing greenskeeper guru Karl Spackler. On 10/3/91, the B’s geared up against the New York Rangers winning 5-3 at home. Then, just 22 Shawn Thornton years later on 10/3/13, the Bruins bested the Bolts on Garden ice, winning 3-1 behind one of the most impressive short-handed penalty shot goals you’ll ever see scored. You can guess who lit the lamp (it may take you a few chances)… or just watch the highlights below!
So, now that you’re all caught up on your O.N. Bruins history–from Maroons to Marchand, from marquee match-ups to mismatched markers, from crowns to Caps and everything in between… how are you feeling THIS October 3rd? How does 10/3/18 look to you?
I tell you what… I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right about now!