Patrice Bergeron and Raymond Bourque.
Start any hockey sentence with those two names and Bruins’ fans faces will light up like a goal horn in OT (thank you Brad Marchand for the most recent heroics)! And now those names will be forever linked again thanks to No. 37 inching closer to No. 77’s all-time playoff games-played record for the franchise.
In fact, the entire list is filled with the kind of company you’d want to keep in Black N’ Gold, with names like Cashman and Krejci right behind where Bergeron now perches. I think it’s even fair to predict that Bergy, before his estimable career is over (here’s hoping 4-5 more years of Recchi and Jagr like puck luck, health and happiness), will surpass Mr. Bourque as the most seasoned playoff performer in team history.
Well, we certainly have the highlights to prove it! Let’s take a look back at the most celebrated moments, from fantastic fights to game-winning goals, for both Bergeron and Bourque in their historic Cup quests dating back forty-plus years — some to remember but certainly none to forget!
RAYMOND BOURQUE – 1980 QUARTER FINAL VERSUS ISLANDERS
There’s no better way to endear yourself to your playoff teammates as a newbie (or perhaps better put, new “B”) than by dropping the gloves and giving it all you got against your opponent!
And that’s exactly what the B’s future-captain did against the Islanders Garry Howatt during a fight-filled first-round playoff series in late April of 1980. Little did Boston know back then what a true fighter they had in this rambunctious, rough-and-tumble rookie.
RAYMOND BOURQUE – 1988 STANLEY CUP FINAL VERSUS EDMONTON
It wasn’t a pretty goal, or a pretty sight… quite literally, when the Boston Garden lights went out on not just Ray Bourque, but the entire arena during game four of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Oilers (my Dad was there, he tells me, but I can never see him in the clip above, hehe).
I guess the power-grid wasn’t well-oiled enough in this one, unlike Edmonton, as the game would be suspended midway through the second period with the B’s subsequently dropping the “pick up game” to be swept out of Cup contention by hockey’s hottest team.
RAYMOND BOURQUE – 1990 STANLEY CUP FINAL VERSUS EDMONTON
In a rematch of two years previous between the Bruins and Oilers, Bourque got game one of the 1990 SCF off to a rousing start with a trademark between the hashmarks goal. It was one of the few celebratory moments for the B’s in another tough-luck battle that ended with Edmonton winning sports’ greatest trophy in five games.
From here, Bourque’s quest for Stanley Cup glory in Boston would only be downhill, unfortunately, with the B’s never making it past the ECF and losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Penguins and Canadiens on multiple occasions (he’d later be traded to the Avalanche where he’d triumphantly win in 2001). However, one final indelible Bourque playoff memory was etched into my young mind in the clip below:
RAYMOND BOURQUE – 1994 QUARTER FINAL VERSUS MONTREAL
One of hockey’s greatest traditions, in fact one of sport’s greatest traditions, the handshake line was front-and-center and on full display in all its star-studded glory after game seven of the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals between the B’s and Habs.
This was a series that historically the B’s should have lost but somehow managed to pull it out in seven grueling games, all of which featured Bourque versus Roy — two titans of their generation and arguably their respective city’s most heralded star players battling against each other for all to see. And these few seconds of competitive camaraderie, right after the series concluded, are a moment I shall never forget between the legendary Bruins defenseman and the inimitable Canadiens goalie!
PATRICE BERGERON – 2004 QUARTER FINAL VERSUS MONTREAL
Welcome to the big show, Mr. Bergeron! And just like the parting memory for Ray, Patrice welcomed in his own Bostonian fanfare against Montreal and in OT, GWG fashion. Not a bad way to begin your (soon-to-be) longstanding playoff career in Beantown, am I right?
PATRICE BERGERON – 2011 STANLEY CUP FINAL VERSUS VANCOUVER
While there were many goals for Bergy in the 2011 playoffs that led to the B’s ultimately winning The Cup, perhaps none were ever so “clinching” as the Game 7 shorthanded breakaway goal at the end of the second period against Roberto “pump my tires” Luongo.
That definitely left the Canucks deflated and truly put the Bruins in “we’re gonna win” mode! Bergeron opened up the score to 3-0 at that point and based on the celebration both on the ice and on the bench (not to mention back in Boston), you just knew it the B’s were going to win and it was going to Boston’s year –finally– on top of the NHL!
PATRICE BERGERON – 2013 CONFERENCE FINAL VERSUS PITTSBURGH
While I’m the confident the B’s still would’ve beaten Pittsburgh in five, six or even seven games this year, ANY double-OT GWG deserves a mention when putting together a list of the most clutch playoff Bergy strikes. So here it is, in all its Jaromir Jagr assisted glory!
PATRICE BERGERON – 2013 QUARTER FINAL VERSUS TORONTO
The game-tying goal with the goalie pulled. The game-winning goal in overtime. Perhaps two of the most celebrated, heralded and hyped goals in Bruins playoff history! AND… against the Leafs! Need we say more?
PATRICE BERGERON – 2018 STANELY CUP FINAL VERSUS ST. LOUIS
You can know a lot about a player because of their successes, their wins, their triumphs. But the leadership, values and heartfelt emotion of Patrice Bergeron are even more front-and-center after a tough loss. And none were as tough for Bergy than Game 7 of the 2018 SCF at home against the Blues.
Sure, it’s hard to watch, remember and relive. But Bergy’s love for the game, for the Bruins and for Boston are as big as they come… which is why hoisting The Cup another time (ideally “times”) is on his radar for this year and “B”-yond!
PATRICE BERGERON – 2020 QUARTER FINAL VERSUS CAROLINA
And the most recent Bergy proud playoff memory from just last year… yet another double-OT GWG, this time against the Hurricanes in 2020! Here’s hoping for many more as the 2021 “Quest for the Cup” continues!