BOSTON – It was 57 years ago this month that the Red Wings and Boston Bruins last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs – April 4, 1957 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium.
The heavily favored Red Wings had finished in first place in the six-team league, eight points ahead of the Bruins, who came in third. Yes, back then, four teams reached the playoffs with the No. 1 seed facing off against No. 3, while the No. 2 seed played No. 4 to decide who would play in the Stanley Cup finals.
Unlike this year, the first two games of the ’57 series were played in Detroit. But it was no surprise that the Bruins skated back to Boston with the series tied 1-1 after stealing Game 1 in the best-of-seven showdown. The Bruins posted a 7-4-3 regular-season record against the Red Wings, which was Detroit’s worst against any team that year.
Following 4-3 and 2-0 victories on their home ice, the Bruins returned to Detroit with a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5 on April 4.
The Wings took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission when Alex Delvecchio scored his team-leading third goal of the series. But the Bruins got the equalizer when little-known Buddy Boone tied it in the second period. For Boone – who until that point hadn’t played in a regular-season game – the goal was the first of his NHL career.
Detroit regained the lead when 31-year-old Ted Lindsay brought the Olympia crowd to life scoring 30-seconds into the third period. But the Bruins took over from there, scoring three times on goalie Glenn Hall in a span of less than nine minutes to build a 4-2 lead.
Detroit center Metro Prystai made things interesting when he scored his second goal of the series with 2:01 left, but the Red Wings couldn’t manage to overtake the Bruins, who won the game and the series.
Of the 18 Red Wings who played in the ’57 series nine are in the Hockey Hall of Fame: Al Arbour, John Bucyk, Delvecchio, Hall, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly, Lindsay, Marcel Pronovost and Norm Ullman.
Also in the Hall of Fame is linesman Matt Pavelich, the younger brother of Red Wings forward Marty Pavelich, who worked the Wings-Bruins series with Frank Udvari and George Hayes, who are also enshrined in Toronto.
The ’57 series was the first NHL postseason assignment for Matt Pavelich. Following Game 5, Marty Pavelich retired as a four-time Stanley Cup winner during his 10 NHL seasons, all with the Red Wings.