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Stanley Cup Finals 2011: 7 Trivial Tidbits to Encourage Bruins Fans

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 13:  ]A Boston Bruins fan celebrates after receiving a stick signed by Michael Ryder (not pictured) #73 of the Boston Bruins after they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in Game Six of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5 to 2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Al DanielCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2011

Omens have no bearing on athletic competition. But so long as Vancouver Canucks supporters are percolating their optimism with the help of the Olympic omen (more specifically, that the Canadian franchise might win the Stanley Cup the year after its city hosted the Winter Games), here are some similar plus-signs for Boston Bruins fans to snack on.

 

1. In the 30 years since the NHL playoffs became a 16-team, two-conference, four-round bracket, only four teams have won the Cup in Game 7. And they all happened to whet their appetites for Lord Stanley’s finest champagne by playing a do-or-die game for the Prince of Wales Trophy.

Those four teams were the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning, 2003 New Jersey Devils and 1994 New York Rangers.

Like this year’s Canucks, the opponents those teams vanquished―the 2006 Edmonton Oilers, 2004 Calgary Flames, 2003 Anaheim Mighty Ducks and 1994 Vancouver Canucks―required six games or fewer to win the Western Conference pennant.

 

2. Sure, goaltender Tim Thomas fell short of the medal he wanted in the 2010 Olympics, culminating in a classic title tilt at what is now called Rogers Arena. But unlike the forthcoming Game 7, he did not see any action that day.

Conversely, Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand all have a favorable history of playing big games in this building.

Naturally, Bergeron was a member of the Canadian Olympic team that denied Thomas’ Americans the gold medal. But a lesser-known fact is that both Marchand and Lucic led their country to victory in the 2007 20-and-Under Super Series against Team Russia.

The Super Series was meant to duplicate the famed 1972 Summit Series, though this one was a more one-sided Canadian triumph with seven victories and one tie.

In the series finale on September 9, 2007, the team secured its unbeaten streak with a 6-1 victory in Vancouver—team captain Milan Lucic’s hometown.

 

3. Two of the Bruins’ series clinchers this spring have occurred on a Friday, both being in the second and third rounds. Meanwhile, the first round was won on a Wednesday.

Tonight’s Stanley Cup series finale will be played on a Wednesday—which equals an opportunity for a pair of Wednesday clinchers to sandwich the Friday wins.

If that isn’t enough, the two rounds that culminated on Fridays featured the Bruins and a US-based team.

The two Wednesday series finales are against teams from the Great White North (and whose nicknames are words for the citizens of that country).

 

4. New England’s most recent Game 7 road victory was when the Red Sox upset the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. That, too, was played on a Wednesday (although the final out was technically carried out on Thursday).

Ditto for the Sox's subsequent, curse-breaking World Series clincher against the St. Louis Cardinals the following week.

 

5. As longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy noted (http://articles.boston.com/2011-06-14/sports/29657788_1_bruins-coach-claude-julien-td-garden-stanley-cup/2), there is supposed to be a lunar eclipse during Wednesday night’s game.

The same celestial phenomenon occurred when the Red Sox ended their aforementioned World Series drought.

 

6. The last time the Bruins traveled to Vancouver on the eve of a game with the series tied, they eschewed the ice and lost the next night. This time, they touched down on Tuesday and immediately conducted one last practice session.

 

7. Tomorrow, the day the team flies back to New England, is the 12th anniversary of the most recent Bruins-related championship party—the 1999 Providence Bruins Calder Cup parade.

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