Not since 1998 has an NHL team won back to back Stanley Cups. When the Detroit Red Wings hoisted the Cup at the end of the ’98 season, it was the most recent time any team could be labeled as a dynasty.
Neither the Boston Bruins nor the Chicago Blackhawks are going to be playing for their second consecutive championship this year, so Detroit can rest easy. However, with a chance to win their second Cup in three years, the Bruins are flirting with a chance to become a hockey empire.
One of the greatest things about the NHL is parity. Unlike the NBA, MLB or NFL, there is still the element of surprise come postseason. Juggernauts may make the playoffs every year, but only so often does a team consistently bring home championships on a yearly basis. Not since the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers essentially took over the league in the 1980s, winning the majority of the Cups that decade, has a team become the dominant face of the league.
This is why it’s so important for Boston to finish this journey with four more wins.
Granted, Chicago winning its second Cup in four years would qualify as a dynasty as well, but the Bruins winning twice in three years just seems much more significant.
One of the biggest reasons for this is how close the core of this Boston team was to being taken apart.
Do you really think the majority of the Bruins roster would’ve taken the ice together at the beginning of next season if they had fully collapsed against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round? Milan Lucic admitted he was worried about this very concept as they fell behind 4-1 in Game 7 of that series.
Of course, by now we all know what happened next. Boston rallied, finished off the Leafs, and went on to win eight games in nine chances.
Oh, what a difference a couple weeks makes. Did any fan in the TD Garden honestly think, down by three with minutes to go against Toronto, that they’d be lining up to buy tickets to Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in a month?
From facing an entire roster shakeup to being on the verge of creating a hockey legacy, Bruins fans must be feeling bipolar.
So here we are. Boston has a chance to get back to the top of the mountain just two years after they toppled the Vancouver Canucks. The majority of this team is signed beyond next year, and now that they’ve gotten this far it’s safe to say most of them aren’t going anywhere. You can bet everything you have that they’re dying to add another ring to their collection.
Game 1 is Wednesday night, and an opportunity to create a legacy awaits the Bruins.