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One Minute Remaining: Decades of history between Blackhawks and Bruins

by Harvey Wittenberg / Chicago Blackhawks

While this is only the seventh time in Blackhawks history that they have faced off in the playoffs against Boston, it all started in 1926-27 when Chicago joined the NHL.

The Bruins won that first series in two games based on total goals (10-5). In 1938, when the Hawks won their second Stanley Cup despite a losing record, Boston had the best regular-season record, but lost in the semis to New York. The Bruins won the Cup in 1939 and established an NHL record with 74 points in 48 games, which was broken this season by the Blackhawks, who collected 77 points.

In 1942, the two rivals met in the quarterfinals, and the Bruins won the deciding game 3-2. In 1970, in the last game of the regular season and one of strangest games in NHL history, the Hawks captured top point honors in the league by beating Montreal 10-2 and edging out Boston at the top of the league table. The Canadiens pulled their goalie with 12 minutes left in the game in an effort to score enough goals to get in the playoffs, but failed. It also marked the first time that a team went from last the year before to first place. However, the Bobby Orr-led Bruins managed some payback in the playoffs by beating the Hawks in the semis.

Revenge was sweeter for the Hawks in the 1975 playoffs against the Bruins in a best-of-three series. Boston had finished second in their division with 94 points, while Chicago was third in the Smythe Division with 82. In the opener in Boston, the favored Bruins crushed the Hawks 8-2, led by the NHL's top scorer, Orr, and there seemed little hope that the Hawks had any chance when they returned to the Stadium for Game 2. A late goal by Jim Pappin tied the match at 3-3, and Ivan Boldirev scored 7 minutes into overtime to tie the series.

Going back to Boston for the deciding game, the Hawks' most unlikely goalscorer, Keith Magnuson, tallied in the opening minute as Chicago outlasted the Bruins 6-4 with goalie Tony Esposito facing more than 50 shots. The last time before this year that the two clashed was in 1978, when the Bruins prevailed.

So in the first Original Six finals since Montreal met New York in 1979, hockey fans are getting an old-fashioned taste of tradition that started way back in the 1927 playoffs.

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