The 5 Best Boston Bruins of the 1990s

Michael SmithContributor IIINovember 6, 2013

The 5 Best Boston Bruins of the 1990s

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    The Boston Bruins were one of the NHL's elite teams in the early part of the 1990s, but they faded as the millennium neared.

    The B's lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers in 1990, and in the conference finals two years in a row in 1991 and 1992 to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That was as close as they would get to the top of the league in the last decade of the 20th century.

    Boston was led by their captain, Ray Bourque, and the oft-injured Cam Neely. But who were the other stars that made Boston make the playoffs every year of the decade except 1996-97?

    Here are the top 5 Boston Bruins of the 1990s.

     

     

     

     

     

     

No. 5: Jason Allison

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    Jason Allison starred for the Bruins in the late '90s after being traded from the Washington Capitals.

    According to hockey-reference.com, Allison scored 83 points in 1997-98 and 76 points in 1998-99. He also led the team with a plus-33 in the 1997-98 season.

    His best season actually came in 2000-01, when he scored 95 points (36 goals), according to hockey-reference.com.

    A tall center, Allison was a force on the puck and was part of the Bruins teams that made the playoffs in '98 and '99.

    After his time with the Bruins, Allison played two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But he will always be remembered for his productive years with Boston.

No. 4: Sergei Samsonov

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    Drafted eight overall in 1997, Sergei Samsonov made the immediate jump to the NHL and had an impact from the beginning.

    The small, but speedy Russian had 22 goals and 47 points in 1997-98, which earned him the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie.

    He improved his numbers to 25 goals and 55 points the next season, according to hockey-reference.com. He continued to be an integral part of Boston's offense for the next several seasons.

    He eventually moved over the 70-point mark for the B's, but that was in the next decade. But Boston fans will remember the impact the 5"8' winger had in the late '90s.

No. 3: Adam Oates

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    The head coach of the Washington Capitals spent six seasons in the 1990s with the Bruins, and they were the most productive years of his storied career.

    The St. Louis Blues traded Oates to Boston in 1992, and Oates adapted quickly. According to hockey-reference.com, he scored 30 points in his first 20 games with Boston, helping lead the club to the playoffs.

    In his first full season with Boston in 1992-93, Oates led the league with 97 assists and finished third overall with 142 points (a career high).

    He scored 112 points the next year, and 53 in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, according to hockey-reference.com.

    In his last full season with Boston, in 1995-96, Oates scored 25 goals and 92 points. Always a gifted playmaker, Oates retired with the 5th-most assists in NHL history at the time with 1,079.

    Oates was traded to Washington during the 1996-97 season, and had several more productive years in the league before moving into coaching.

No. 2: Cam Neely

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    Despite never playing a full 82-game season, the beloved right-winger scored 50 or more goals three times for Boston in the 1990s before knee injuries forced him to retire in 1995.

    The knee-on-knee hit he received from Pittsburgh's Ulf Samuelsson cost Neely almost all of the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons, and yet he was still one of Boston's most prolific scorers between 1990 and 1995.

    Between 1989 and 1991, Neely scored 106 goals. If it wasn't for the devastating injury, he could have been one of the highest-scoring wingers in league history.

    He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005 and has been the president of the Bruins since 2010.

     

No. 1: Ray Bourque

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    The only player on this list to play for the Bruins for the entire decade, Ray Bourque was the only option for the No. 1 spot on this list.

    The longtime captain of the club, Bourque is the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history.

    Bourque, along with Neely, was the catalyst for the Bruins' early success in the early '90s. His calming defensive presence on the blue line was matched by his great scoring ability. He scored at least 80 points six times during the decade, and tallied 90 points twice.

    Bourque only missed the playoffs one time during his 21 years with Boston. In 2000, the Bruins gave him the chance to win the Stanley Cup and traded him to the Colorado Avalanche where he won the Cup the following year.

    Bourque is the second-greatest Bruin ever (behind Bobby Orr). Even though he was getting older as the '90s progressed, his play remained steady. He had 38 points in 65 games during the 1999-00 season, his final year with Boston. He was 39-year-old during the final year.