Ok, I might be jumping the gun a little, but the Bruins took one step closer to being an Eastern Conference Finalist with their 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. The Bruins have been through quite a wild ride since their last trip to the NHL Conference Finals, and it's hard to believe that the last time we saw them there, it was 1992. We'll look at some of the more amazing things that have happened since the Bruins were in the Conference Final, and we'll piece together some pretty amazing history over the last two decades. Honestly, even I had no clue it had been eighteen years since the Bruins played for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
- Since Rick Bowness led the Bruins to the Conference Final, the Bruins have employed nine different coaches, including both Pat Burns and Mike Keenan. Thankfully, Keenan's legacy lasted all of 74 games.
- The Bruins have worn eleven different jersey styles over those eighteen years. From 1992-95, they wore jerseys with a thick white sleeve and hem stripes. They also wore the throwback jersey in 1992-93 in honour of the NHL's 75th Anniversary. In 1995-96, the Bruins changed to half-stripes on the sleeves, and also changed their road logo as the "B" went from yellow to black. They also introduced the Pooh bear jersey as an alternate. In 2006, the Bruins introduced an alternate jersey based on their 1967-74 black road jersey. Of course, there was the shift to the Rbk EDGE jerseys that saw the Bruins adopt a new design and logo as serifs were added to the "B". In 2008, the Bruins unveiled another alternate jersey. And they also wore a new yellow jersey for their Winter Classic game this past season. Phew!
- In those eighteen years, the Bruins only missed the playoffs five times: 1996-97, 1999-2001, and 2005-07.
- In those eighteen years, the Bruins were eliminated in Round One eight times. The Buffalo Sabres swept them in 1993; the New Jersey Devils needed five games in 1995; the Florida Panthers needed five games in 1996; the Washington Capitals used six games in 1998; the Montreal Canadiens needed six games in 2002; the New Jersey Devils repeated their five-game win in 2003; the Montreal Canadiens needed all seven games in 2004; and, the Canadiens needed all seven games again in 2008.
- Eight players have led the Bruins in scoring over a season during those eighteen years: Adam Oates (1992-96), Josef Stumpel (1996-97), Jason Allison (1997-98, 2000-01), Joe Thornton (1999-00, 2002-03), Sergei Samsonov (2001-02), Patrice Bergeron (2005-06, 2009-10), Marc Savard (2006-09) and David Krejci (2009-10).
- Adam Oates was the highest scoring Bruin in one season over that time. His 45 goals and 97 assists in 1992-93 were good for 142 points. Second place? Adam Oates in 1993-94 with 112 points.
- Cam Neely's 50 goals in 1993-94 were the highest total for one Bruin in one season over the last eighteen years. Adam Oates' 45 goals in 1992-93 would be second-best, and Glen Murray's 2002-03 campaign with 44 goals would be third-best.
- 2008-09 would be the best season for the Bruins statistically over the last eighteen years as they posted a 53-19-10 record for 116 points in 82 games. On the flip side, their worst season came 1996-97 as they posted a 26-47-9 mark for just 61 points in 82 games. For comparison's sake, the Bruins were 27-18-3 for 57 points in the strike-shortened 1994-95 season in just 48 games.
- The Bruins changed divisions once in the last eighteen years, jumping from the Adams Division to the Northeast Division in 1993.
- The Bruins changed arenas once over the last eighteen years, moving from historic Boston Garden in 1995 to what is now called TD Banknorth Garden.
- The last time that the Bruins played in the Conference Finals, there were just 22 teams in the NHL. Winnipeg, Hartford, and Quebec were still a part of the NHL, and the Minnesota franchise was called the North Stars. The expansion San Jose Sharks finished a league-worst 17-58-5 for 39 points under head coach George Klingston.
- The last time that the Bruins played in the Eastern Conference Final, they eliminated the Buffalo Sabres in the opening round in seven games. They eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in a four-game sweep in Round Two before running into an upstart Pittsburgh Penguins team that swept them out of the playoffs.
- The last time that the Bruins played in the Eastern Conference Final, Ray Bourque led the Bruins in regular-season scoring with 21 goals and 60 assists. In the playoffs, however, Adam Oates led the way with five goals and 14 assists.
However, a lot has changed since the Big Bad Bruins played for a berth in the Stanley Cup. It's been a long time since this Original Six franchise has taken a run at a Stanley Cup, and it's refreshing to see the teams with long histories writing new pages in their biographies.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!