By: Ryan Gagne | Follow Me On Twitter @keepingthestats
Realistically, hockey fans know that the Boston Bruins are one of the most decorated teams in NHL history since they were the first American franchise in the league in 1924. Furthermore, they are among just five teams to win at least six Stanley Cup titles.
Despite all the successes, the Bruins have experienced many setbacks, including losing in the Stanley Cup Final 14 times. Statistically, those 14 losses are an NHL record, with the Detroit Red Wings a close second with 13. Considering the Bruins have only won 30% of their appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, it’s time to revisit their worse performances in the series.
10. Philadelphia Flyers 4 – Boston Bruins 2 (1974)
The Bruins finished as the top team in the league with 113 points, thanks to a 52-17-9 record. After beating two Original Six teams (Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks) in the first two rounds, Boston faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final.
Historically, the Flyers would become the first expansion team (post-1967) to capture the Stanley Cup after edging the Bruins in six games. Even though Philadelphia only outscored Boston 15-13 in the matchup, they did take a 3-1 series lead after four games. Interestingly, Flyers’ netminder Bernie Parent would shut out the Bruins in Game Six to win the championship on home ice.
9. Chicago Blackhawks 4 – Boston Bruins 2 (2013)
The sting of losing in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final still haunts Bruins fans a decade later, as their performance in that series is one of the worse in franchise history. Despite some people’s opinions that this series should rank higher on the list, the Bruins have had tougher eliminations.
Surprisingly, Boston entered the Stanley Cup Final as underdogs, finishing 15 points behind the Blackhawks during the regular season. Although the Bruins only lost four games en route to the Final, they grabbed an early 2-1 series lead before dropping three straight to end their season. Unfortunately, the Bruins were 1:16 away from forcing a Game Seven before an epic collapse in just 17 seconds ruined any chances of prolonging the series.
8. Montreal Canadiens 4 – Boston Bruins 2 (1978)
During the 1978 season, in an intense battle for Prince of Wales Conference supremacy, the Montreal Canadiens finished 16 points ahead of the Bruins. Interestingly, each team lost only a single game in the playoffs leading up to the confrontation in the Stanley Cup Final.
Even though the Bruins rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to tie it after Game Four, the team failed to overcome the potent Canadiens offense in Games Five and Six, losing each contest by identical 4-1 scores. Interestingly, they finished the series as they started it when they lost 4-1 in Game One. Statistically, Boston surrendered four goals in three losses, getting outscored 18-13 in the matchup.
7. Montreal Canadiens 4 – Boston Bruins 1 (1946)
In 1946, the Bruins would meet the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history and the first time since the end of World War II. Furthermore, these two regional rivals have a lot of animosity toward one another, which stems from the Canadiens’ dominance in those early years.
After the Bruins finished five points behind the Canadiens in the regular season, the two teams would meet in the Stanley Cup Final. Interestingly, Boston was on the verge of being swept until a 3-2 overtime win in Game Four gave the team a bit of life.
Unfortunately, Montreal won the next game 6-3, improving their record to 2-0 against the Bruins in the championship series. As the highest-scoring team in the regular season, the Canadiens outgunned the Bruins 19-13 in five games.
6. Montreal Canadiens 4 – Boston Bruins 1 (1953)
The Canadiens are back on the list since they are one of the Original Six teams with which the Bruins built a substantial rivalry over 25 years. During the 1953 season, these two teams finished second and third in the standings, with Boston upsetting the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in the Semi-Finals.
Although there wasn’t a significant difference between the teams before the championship series, the Bruins were no match, with the Canadians winning another Stanley Cup in five games. After tying the series in Game Two, the Bruins would lose three straight, two via shutout by Gerry McNeil, as Montreal almost doubled up Boston 16-9 on the scoreboard.
5. Edmonton Oilers 4 – Boston Bruins 1 (1990)
For the second time in three seasons, the Bruins took on the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final, losing previously in 1988. Interestingly, this would be a different matchup since Wayne Gretzky had left for Los Angeles, and that year’s team was on a mission to show they could win without The Great One.
Sadly, the Bruins were no match for the Oilers, despite finishing the regular season as the only team in the league to collect more than 100 points. Although the series is famous for the triple-overtime clash in Game One, the Bruins only won a single game (Game Three by a score of 2-1), finishing the series with nine goals. Even though Boston gave up the least amount of goals during the regular season, they surrendered 19 in just 18 periods in the series.
4. Montreal Canadiens 4 – Boston Bruins 1 (1957)
During the 1957 season, the Canadiens and Bruins finished just two points apart in the standings. After each team lost a game in the Semi-Finals, these two iconic franchises would meet for the fourth time with a championship on the line.
Unfortunately, the Bruins would give up their chance to hoist the Stanley Cup by losing in five games, scoring six goals. Considering the Canadiens were the highest-scoring team in the league, it didn’t surprise anyone that they scored 15 goals in just five games and collected two victories by shutout. Additionally, the Bruins never scored more than two goals in any game, earning a 2-0 win in Game Four to avoid being swept.
3. Edmonton Oilers 4 – Boston Bruins 0 (1988)
The Boston Garden was one of the final Original Six-era buildings torn down, prolonging memories of some of the game’s greatest moments. However, as the facility aged, some quirks made headlines, like when the power went out during Game Four of the 1988 Stanley Cup Final. Although the NHL officially recognizes this series as a sweep for the Oilers, the two teams were tied 3-3 in Game Four when the lights went out.
Instead of continuing where they left off, the NHL restarted the game in Edmonton, which the home team won 6-3 to wrap up Gretzky’s last Stanley Cup victory. Furthermore, the Bruins were outscored 21-12 in the series, failing to win a game despite having the fourth most victories during the regular season. Interestingly, the Oilers created a new NHL tradition that year by posing as a team with the Stanley Cup at center ice after the win.
2. Montreal Canadiens 4 – Boston Bruins 0 (1977)
In 1977 the Canadiens orchestrated the most outstanding season in NHL history, becoming the first team to collect 60 wins and 132 points in an 80-game campaign. Although the Bruins finished 26 points behind Montreal, each team lost two games in the previous rounds before meeting for the sixth time in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ultimately, the Bruins were run out of the building in Game One, losing 7-3, before following up that performance by getting blanked 3-0 in Game Two. By the time Montreal won Game Three by a 4-2 score, the Bruins were down by three games and outscored 14-5. Even though Boston lost Game Four in overtime 2-1, the loss couldn’t come soon enough to put the fans and teams out of misery.
1. Detroit Red Wings 4 – Boston Bruins 0 (1943)
During the 1943 season, the Bruins would finish just four points behind the Red Wings in the standings, despite being the second-highest-scoring team in the league, just behind the Maple Leafs. However, their eventual Stanley Cup Final opponent would be the best defensive team in the league, surrendering just 124 goals in 50 games.
Moreover, when the two teams met in Game One, the Red Wings potted six goals for the third time all year while giving up two to a potent Bruins offense. Even though Boston would lose Game Two by a 4-3 score, it would be the final time that season that the Bruins would find the back of the net.
After a 4-0 shutout in Game Three and a 2-0 win in Game Four, the Red Wings would celebrate their third Stanley Cup championship on the road at Boston Garden. Considering the Bruins only scored five goals in four games, losing twice by shutout, the 1943 Stanley Cup Final is the worse showing the franchise has ever had in the championship series.
Historically, the last time the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup Final was 2019 against the St. Louis Blues. Although it was an evenly matched series, it will remain fresh on fans’ minds because it was the most recent heartbreak.
Interestingly, it is the only time in franchise history that the Bruins would lose the Stanley Cup in a Game Seven since they won their previous winner take all contest in 2011. Additionally, the 2019 series was the first time the club had lost a Stanley Cup Final when outscoring an opponent, this time 22-18.
Most fans only want to reminisce about the good times, but sometimes it’s worth remembering the bad times and what went right and wrong. As one of the Original Six franchises, the Bruins have a rich history of triumphant wins and heartbreaking losses.