Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

Rangers vs. Bruins, 1972

As happens with the NHL in general, the meetings between Beantown's Bruins and Madison Square Garden's Rangers usually take a backseat to those of other, more popular sports. But these two storied "original six" franchises have built up their fair share of enmities in the past. And of course, there are few arenas more intense for grudge matches to be waged and bragging rights to be claimed than the hockey rink. In 1972, a flashy Rangers squad came up against the defending champions, the Bruins, in the Stanley Cup finals. The championship pedigree of the Bruins — and the sterling play of Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr — proved to be the difference, as Boston clinched the series in six games. The rivalry ebbed with the fortunes of both sides: Boston's next cup win would not come until 2011, while the Rangers' four-decade run of Stanley Cup futility ended with a famous Game 7 victory in 1994. But things are heating up again. The Rangers and Bruins are currently No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the NHL's Eastern conference. With both clubs bolstered by impressive arrays of young talent — not to mention some of the most passionate fans in North American sports — these two titans of the Northeast may be slugging it out at the top for years to come.