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Boston Bruins and New York Rangers Playoff History
The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers will meet for the tenth time in history in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York took out the Washington Capitals to set up the showdown. Both of those matchups went the full seven games.
Since the NHL expanded to 12 teams in 1967-68, the Bruins and Rangers have met just three times in the Stanley Cup playoffs. All three of those occurred in a four year span between 1969-70 and 1972-73. That said, Boston and New York and facing off against each other in 2013 for the first time in over 40 years.
In 1969-70, Boston placed first with 40 wins and 99 points over the 76 game schedule. New York finished fourth but just seven points behind the Bruins. The teams met in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with Boston winning the series in six games. The Bruins outscored the Rangers 25 to 16.
In his last full season as Head Coach of the Bruins, Harry Sinden stood behind the bench. On the other bench was Emile Francis for the Rangers. Boston was led offensively in the playoffs by Phil Esposito with 27 points in 14 games. The Rangers were led in the series by Rod Gilbert with nine points in six games.
The Bruins advanced to the semi-finals against the Chicago Black Hawks and easily swept that series. They then met up with the East Division champs, the St. Louis Blues, in the finals. Once again, it was a four game sweep for Boston as the captured their first Stanley Cup championship since 1941.
1971-72 Stanley Cup Finals
The Bruins and Rangers were 1-2 in the East and 1-2 in the 14 team NHL. Boston finished with 54 wins and 119 points over the 78 game schedule. The Rangers won 48 and totalled 109 points. To reach the finals, Boston beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the quarter-finals, four games to win. In the semis, it was a sweep over the St. Louis Blues. The Rangers took out the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the opening round the swept the Black Hawks in the semi-finals.
In the finals, with Tom Johnson behind the Boston bench and Emile Francis behind the New York bench, the Bruins won the series four games to two to capture the Stanley Cup championship. Both Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito contributed 24 points each in the team’s 15 playoff games. The Rangers were led offensively by Bobby Rousseau with 17 points in 16 games.
Montreal led the East Division in 1972-73 while the Bruins placed second and the Rangers placed third. Boston finished with 51 wins and 107 points over 78 games. The Rangers won 47 and totalled 102 points. The three had the best records in the NHL. The league had just expanded to 16 teams and it was the first year for the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames.
It was the Rangers turn in 1973. New York beat the Bruins four games to one, outscoring their opponents 22 to 11 in the series. Jean Ratelle led the Rangers in the post season, as he had during the regular season.
For Boston, it was the unlikely duo of Gregg Sheppard and Derek Sanderson leading the way with just three points each over the five games. Phil Esposito played just two games and assisted on just one goal. Bobby Orr played all five but had just two points. Esposito had led the NHL during the regular season with 55 goals, 75 assists and 130 points.
New York was once again coached by Emile Francis. In the playoffs, Bep Guidolin was behind the Boston bench. Guidolin replaced Tom Johnson mid-season.
As mentioned, the Rangers and Bruins met six times in the Stanley Cup playoffs, previous to the 1967 NHL expansion. Boston entered the NHL in 1924-25 while the Rangers came a few years later in 1926-27. The only other time they competed in the Stanley Cup finals was in 1928-29. That year, the Bruins won two games to none to win their first ever championship.