Today in Bruins History: April 25th, 1972, Orr Leads Bruins to Sweep Blues in Semifinals

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

On April 25th, 1972, the Bruins looked to complete the sweep against the St. Louis Blues and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. In Games 1-3, the Bruins were outscoring the Blues by a staggering 23-5, an impressive feat that would be more impressive with a game four win.

The Bruins started game four off with a bang when Phil Esposito scored his eighth goal of the playoffs and pushed Boston in front 1-0. Eight minutes later, Johnny Bucyk scored on the man-advantage to extend the lead to two. The assists went to Fred Stanfield and Esposito; it was also Bucyk’s seventh goal of the playoffs. As the Bruins controlled most of the opening 20, the Blues answered with a goal by Terry Crisp with 1:44 left in the first, and it was 2-1 for Boston after one period played.

(Photo Credit: Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Second-period action was underway in game four, and Bucyk and the Bruins did not take their foot off the gas pedal. Just 4:44 into the period, while on the powerplay, Bucyk added his second goal and eighth of the series to make it 3-1 Boston. The assists went to Fred Stanfield and Bobby Orr. After a combined three penalties y both teams occurred in the following 12 minutes of the period, Phil Esposito would score his second goal and ninth of the season to extend the Bruins lead to 4-1. Again, Bobby Orr would get the assist making it his second of the game. After 40 minutes played in game four, Boston was ahead 4-1 and had complete control.

(Photo Credit: Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

What was already an eventful night for the boys in the black-and-gold, they wanted to cap off the night with a series sweep win and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the third period looked to be the Blues’ period as they scored two goals and trailed by just one with 4:35 left in regulation. The first goal was scored by Andre Dupont at the 9:50 mark, and Chris Evans scored the second goal at the 15:25 mark. So, with the final minute of game four approaching and the Blues’ hopes of keeping the series alive were dwindling, the Blues pulled goaltender Jacques Caron for the extra man.

Despite the Blues having the extra man, Bruins forward Wayne Cashman scored on the empty net and put the nail in the coffin. Orr picked up his third assist on Cashman’s goal making it his 15th assist through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Orr broke the record for most assists by a defenseman in a single playoff with one round to go. So that was it; behind Orr’s three assists and both Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk scoring two goals, the Bruins held on 5-3 and completed the series sweep to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.

(Photo Credit: Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

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