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Marchand, Recchi bridge generation gap in Final

by Tal Pinchevsky /
With his goal in Game 2, Bruins’ forward Mark Recchi became the oldest player to score in the Stanley Cup Final. With two more goals in Game 3, Recchi built on that record while making a considerably younger linemate a part of hockey history.

With an assist on Recchi’s second goal Monday night, Bruins’ rookie Brad Marchand contributed to a fascinating piece of Stanley Cup lore. Recchi, the oldest active player in the League at age 43, is 20 years, three months, and 10 days older than Marchand, an age disparity that is among the widest ever between two players combining for a Stanley Cup Final goal. To put things in perspective, Recchi was drafted by the Penguins one month after Marchand was born.

Since 1997, the only two players who have come close to matching this distinction are Jiri Fischer and Igor Larionov, who was the oldest player to score in the Cup Final before Recchi got his Game 2 marker. In 2002, Larionov, 41, took a pass from Fischer, 21, and found the back of the Carolina Hurricanes’ net to help lead the Red Wings to the Cup. At 19 years, seven months, and 28 days, their mammoth age gap still couldn’t match Recchi and Marchand.

This mix of youthful energy and veteran leadership has boded well for previous Stanley Cup champions. In fact, since 1997, teammates with at least a 15-year age difference who have combined for a Cup Final goal have gone 6-2 in the series. In 2004, 40-year-old Dave Andreychuk finished his career by setting up 24-year-old Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards for the game-winner in Game 4 of the Final. Five years later, 38-year-old Bill Guerin set up 22-year-old Conn Smythe winner Evgeni Malkin in Game 2.

While these goals don’t occur often, 21-year-old Alex Tanguy helped lead Colorado to the 2001 Cup by finishing separate passing plays from Ray Bourque (40) and Dave Reid (36)

If anyone can draw any meaning from young and old combining for a Cup Final goal, it’s probably Recchi. In the 2006 Final with the Hurricanes, a 38-year-old Recchi scored off an assist from 21-year-old Eric Staal. Even on that team, Recchi was the oldest player on the roster. 

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