You may have heard once or twice or a hundred times that the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Blackhawks is the first Original Six match-up since 1979 when the powerhouse Canadiens defeated the Rangers in five games.
For the Scotty Bowman-coached Habs — stacked with future Hall of Famers like Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, and Guy Lapointe — the 1979 championship was their fourth straight.
However, it wasn’t an easy season in Montreal, as you can read all about in this Sports Illustrated article from May of 1979.
After all, the Canadiens had finished second to the New York Islanders—by one point—in the NHL’s overall standings, a sure sign to skeptics that the foundation of their dynasty had decayed. Then, in the Cup semifinals, the beleaguered Canadiens had barely scraped past Boston by the margin of an overtime goal in the seventh game. And when the New York Rangers had soundly trounced them 4-1 in the opener of the finals—right there in the Forum—well, sacrebleu, the word on rue Ste-Catherine was, “Those players, they do not deserve to wear the uniform that the Rocket wore.”
For the Rangers, they’d have to wait until 1994 for their next appearance in the Final (where they beat the Canucks in seven games for their first title since 1940.)
After 1979, the New York Islanders would win the next four Cups, followed by the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty.