Face it New England, we have been spoiled as sports fans. The immense success this past decade includes a Stanley Cup in three appearances, two World Series championships, three Super Bowl titles in five years and an NBA Finals appearance unfortunately with 0 championships. As the decade comes to a close, I’ve decided to look back at some of the success and shortfalls since 2010.
In 2010, the Celtics and Lakers played in the NBA Finals for the 2nd time in three years. As anyone who argues about the Celtics failures know, the C’s won the finals in 2008 which has been their only championship since 1986. Game one was a Lakers win 102-89. Kobe Bryant was in the peak of his career scoring 30 points for the 10th time in 11 games. The Celtics got out rebounded 42-31 and were outscored in 2nd chance points 16-0. Boston tied the series in game two thanks to a 103-94 win. Rajon Rondo had a triple-double of 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Ray Allen sealed the win with 8 3-pointers. Games 3-5 were very close with the average margin of victory around 6 points.
The series took a turn for the worse in game 6. Kendrick Perkins tore his PCL and MCL which put the C’s in scramble mode in what was a runaway 89-67 win. The Lakers outscored the Boston bench 24-0 going into a winner take all game 7. Kobe was clutch with 10 points in the 4th quarter which was part of his game high 23 points. Kendrick Perkins Absence was felt in the game with the C’s getting out rebounded 53-40. With time winding down the ropes were setup around the court sealing the 83-79 win and an NBA Finals Championship.
2011: For the first time since 1989-90, the Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup Final. Their opponent was the Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins, who were coming off the epic collapse against Philadelphia took on a machine in Vancouver which had a record of 54-19-9 and leading the NHL in goals with 262 goals and allowing 185 goals, those two stats both led the league.
Game one was a defensive battle with both teams getting held scoreless through two periods which was the first time this happened since 1984. Raffi Torres scored with 19 seconds left giving Vancouver the 1-0 series lead. Alex Burrows’ overtime goal just 11 seconds in put Vancouver in the driver’s seat in the series up 2-0. Boston was in must win mode in game three and they suffered a major blow in the first period. Nathan Horton was carted off the ice after a blindside hit.
While the team didn’t have Horton, Boston went OFF! 8 goals in two periods including Mark Recchi with two goals in the steamroll effort by the Bruins. Game four was a 4-0 shutout by the Bruins but Vancouver won a 1-0 nail biter in game 5. Boston evened the series up at 3 after a 5-2 win meaning it was winner take all in game 7. Boston had a pair of goals scored by Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. With as storied of a history as the Bruins have had, this was the first game 7 for Boston’s hockey team and Tim Thomas made it count with a 37 save shutout giving the Bruins the 4-0 win and the teams sixth Stanley Cup Title.
2013 was an important year in Boston sports as you may remember from the previous decade article. The Bruins traded Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders meaning Tuukka Rask is the B’s starting goalie. Boston won game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs in a heart stopping win. The Bruins blew through the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chicago came into the series on fire setting a record for the most games without a regulation loss and earned their second Presidents trophy as the NHL team with the most points.
Game 1 went into the morning in what was the 5th longest game in Stanley Cup Final history. Milan Lucic scored the first two goals of the series and Patrice Bergeron scored his sixth goal of the playoffs but that wouldn’t be enough to stop the charging Blackhawks as Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya score goals about four minutes apart.
The game went to overtime, then double overtime and then triple overtime. In the early morning hours, Andrew Shaw scored a goal sealing the 4-3 Chicago win.
Game 2 went to overtime, but this was just a one overtime game with Daniel Paille scoring the game winner for the Bruins sending the series back to Boston tied at 1.
The cup final was in Boston for the first time in the series and the Bruins won game 3, 2-0. Game 4 was a shootout. The Blackhawks kept scoring, but the Bruins stayed in the game throughout including a pair of goals netted by Patrice Bergeron. Jonny Boychuk scored his sixth goal of the postseason tying the game at 5 sending the series to its 5th overtime period. In OT, Brent Seabrook scored the game-winner about halfway through the period sending the series back to Chicago tied at 2 wins apiece.
Game 5 was won by Chicago via the 3-1 final thanks to a pair of goals by Patrick Kane. Game 6 was in TD Garden along with the Stanley Cup. With a win, Chicago wins their fifth cup. We all remember how this ended but it started pretty well with Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic scoring goals for Boston and Jonathan Toews getting Chicago on the scoreboard looking like a 2-1 victory would punch the Bruins ticket to a game 7. Tuukka Rask had other plans giving up goals to Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland in the third period, just 17 seconds apart winning the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup.
2019: It took six years or Boston to get back to the cup final and it was a friendly road from the standpoint, the Bruins didn’t have to take on the cream of the crop in the east. Tampa Bay was bounced in the first round by the Bruins opposition in the conference semifinals, the Columbus Blue Jackets who lost to the Bruins in 6. The Hurricanes got dominated by the Eastern Conference Champion Bruins setting up a matchup against St. Louis.
The Bruins came into the series following a ten day layoff so it took a little time to get things going as the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Connor Clifton, Charlie McAvoy, Sean Kuraly and Brad Marchand score the Bruins four unanswered goals giving the Bruins a 4-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.
In game two, the B’s and Blues needed overtime, which is when Carl Gunnarson scored the game winner after reportedly telling his coach Craig Berube that he needed one more chance after his potential game winner in the third period hit the post. After the OT winner by Gunnarson, the series went back to St. Louis even at one win apiece.
The magic number in game three was four. That was the number of points Torey Krug had in the 7-2 victory (1 Goal, 3 Assists). Game four saw B’s Captain Zdeno Chara leave the game with fractures in his jaw. Unfortunately for the Bruins, the Captain wasn’t the only thing they lost as they would lose game four 4-2. After St. Louis won game five 2-1, the Bruins won a must win game on the road 5-1. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 of St. Louis’s 29 shots setting up a game 7 for the cup in the Garden between the team many had picked in the Bruins and the team playing with house money, St. Louis.
Jordan Binnington stopped 32 of the Bruins 33 shots. Ryan O’Reilly got the scoring started for the Blues in the 1st. Right before the first period ended, Alex Pietrangelo scored a goal to put the Blues up 2-0 going into the 1st intermission. Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford scored for St. Louis, to put the road team up 4-0 in the 3rd period with five minutes left. Charlestown’s own Matt Grzelcyk put the Bruins on the board but it was too little, too late as St. Louis would win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
This was a perhaps depressing look down memory lane this decade, but would you rather have a team like the Bruins that are 1-2 in three cup final appearances or a team like Montreal that hasn’t made the cup final since 1992. The Celtics still have the most championships in Basketball while the Knicks are trying to be the most irrelevant team in sports. This shows that it can be worse.
As we know New England does have a baseball team and a football team. Next article I’ll have a more upbeat tone with Lombardi trophies and World Series trophies o’plenty.