Gordie Howe

The last time the Red Wings played the Bruins in the playoffs, the world was pretty different


I don’t personally remember the series (it happened in 1957), but I know for a fact the Wings were expected to win the semifinal matchup after finishing the regular season with the best record in the league (granted, there were only six teams) while boasting the likes of Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

From a Sports Illustrated article dated March 18, 1957:

In the brash motor metropolis of Detroit, where all industry and seemingly all life revolves around auto-making, tradition is eyed with suspicion. “Last year’s sales records don’t sell 1957 models,” they tell you at the Detroit Athletic Club, social headquarters of the auto world.

The same attitude pervades an equally successful Detroit industry—that of producing championship hockey teams. Perhaps that is why no other city can claim a more consistently winning hockey tradition (if you will excuse the expression) than the one assembled by that city’s ever-changing Red Wings.

Yeah, Detroit’s economy has changed a bit since then.

Oh, and I’m not sure an NHL general manager could get away today with what Detroit GM Jack Adams said here:

“Hockey is the greatest spectator sport in the world—it’s a man’s game, but it’s best for women because the basic rules are so simple that it’s easy to understand.”

But I’d sure like to see one of them try! Just imagine the page views.

Anyway, the Bruins actually upset the Wings, 4-1, only to lose to Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final.

Get your game notes: Red Wings at Bruins

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins has words with Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden on October 14, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Detroit Red Wings starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Bruins and Red Wings are the only Original Six matchup in the 1st round. It is the first time these teams have met in the playoffs since the 1957 Semifinals, ending the second-longest postseason matchup drought among Original Six teams (N.Y. Rangers-Detroit – 1950 Stanley Cup Final). The Bruins now have faced every Original Six team in the playoffs in the past 3 years: Detroit (2014 1st rd.), Chicago (2013 Stanley Cup Final), N.Y. Rangers (2013 CSF), Toronto (2013 CQF) & Montreal (2011 CQF).

— Since the Presidents’ Trophy was introduced in the 1985-86 season, only eight of 27 teams (30%) have claimed both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season. Two Red Wings teams, in 2001-02 and 2007-08, accomplished that feat. The Bruins, who were the NHL’s top team this season (117 pts.), will look to emulate the most recent team to complete the double, last year’s Chicago Blackhawks. Only once has the feat been accomplished in back-to-back seasons: Colorado in 2000-01 followed by Detroit in 2001-02.

Winners of Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup in same season:

1986-87: Edmonton Oilers
2000-01: Colorado Avalanche
1988-89: Calgary Flames
2001-02: Detroit Red Wings
1993-94: New York Rangers
2007-08: Detroit Red Wings
1998-99: Dallas Stars
2012-13: Chicago Blackhawks

— This series features three of the longest-tenured active NHL players who have yet to win a Stanley Cup. For the Bruins, winger Jarome Iginla will be making his eighth trip to the playoffs in search of his first Cup, while the Red Wings’ wingers Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi are making their 14th and 10th trips, respectively. Here are the five most experienced players participating in this year’s playoffs – in terms of combined regular season and postseason games – who have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Player | Playoff Team | Games played without Stanley Cup win

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks, 1388* (1247 reg. season, 141 playoff)

Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins, 1379 (1310 reg. season, 69 playoff)

Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings, 1367 (1246 reg. season, 121 playoff)

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks, 1333* (1207 reg. season, 126 playoff)

Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings, 1245 (1159 reg. season, 86 playoff)

*includes Sharks’ Game 1 on Apr. 17

— Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posted a career-high 36 wins (36-15-6) and led the NHL in shutouts (seven) this season. However, he struggled in four games this season vs. Detroit. The Finnish goalie played all 240 minutes vs. the Red Wings, and went 1-3-0, with a 3.29 GAA and .871 save%.

— With Barry Trotz fired as head coach by Nashville on Apr. 14, the Red Wings’ Mike Babcock became the NHL’s longest-tenured coach (hire date: July 15, 2005). The coach on the other side of the partition, the Bruins’ Claude Julien, is second on the experience list (hire date: June 22, 2007). Babcock led the Red Wings to their 23rd consecutive postseason appearance despite the team losing 417 man-games to injury this season (second-most in the NHL, Pittsburgh – 529).

— The Bruins have played an NHL-high 54 postseason games since the 2010-11 season (when Boston won the Stanley Cup). Six Bruins – forwards David Krejci (whose 22 postseason goals during that span leads the league), Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly & Daniel Paille, & defenseman Johnny Boychuk – appeared in all of those games. Kelly and Paille are questionable for Game 1 with injuries.

PHT Morning Skate: Bruins-Red Wings finally drop the puck

Milan Lucic

We’re three days into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and now we’ll finally have all eight series underway after tonight. It could wind up being a case of saving the best for last when it comes to Boston and Detroit, a pair of other series drop the puck for Game 2 in Tampa and Anaheim.

After last night’s action that saw a triple-overtime winner by St. Louis and a comeback overtime win by Colorado, the bar might be set a little high tonight. It’s the most wonderful time of year.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Friday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens [Montreal leads series 1-0] (7:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The Lightning will look to bounce back after watching Dale Weise beat them in overtime of Game 1. If there’s someone they have to worry about though it’s Daniel Briere. While Briere isn’t the dynamic scorer he once was, his presence on the Habs’ fourth line made them a difference maker against the Lightning fourth line.

After all, asking young guys like Cedric Paquette to have to wrangle Briere is asking a lot for a bunch that doesn’t play much and may not have a lot of NHL experience. We’ll see how Tampa coach Jon Cooper makes adjustments tonight against Michel Therrien. One thing’s for sure, we’ll see Carey Price bounce back stronger which means Anders Lindback will need to counter equally to even up the series.

Game 1: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

This may be the series most fans are most curious about. The Bruins are the top team in the league and are favorites against the Red Wings, but there’s always something about Detroit that gives everyone pause. Making the playoffs 23 seasons in a row will help add to that, but the Wings have the weapons to be a perilous first round opponent for the Bruins.

Pavel Datsyuk is healthy and playing well and having him join younger guys like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco gives the Wings a lot of skill and speed. Detroit took three out of four this season from Boston, but the playoffs are a different animal and that means seeing more from Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and the best out of Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins will want to get physical, but the Wings resist and steer away from that type of play. If Boston is to roll through the East this season, they’re going to earn it against Detroit.

Game 2: Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars [Anaheim leads series 1-0] (10:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Ducks showed the Stars what playoff hockey was all about early in Game 1. After jumping out to a big early lead, it looked like they were ready to cruise, but the Stars found their legs late and gave them a scare before ultimately losing 4-3. Don’t expect the Stars to come in starstruck tonight.

The upside for Anaheim is they’ll likely have captain Ryan Getzlaf back in after he took a puck in the face late in Game 1. You may have seen what his face looked like after that from his brother on Twitter. That’s good news as they’ll need him to help keep Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin occupied and away from the Ducks net.

Expect the Stars to come out a bit tougher in Game 2 to help goalie Kari Lehtonen out. Leaving your goalie hung out to dry at the start of a playoff game isn’t something to be proud of and they’ll tighten things up to prevent it from happening again.