EDITOR’S NOTE — On May 10, 1970, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 29 years. The Bruins won it at the expense of the St. Louis Blues, who were swept in the final for the third straight year.
The Game 4 win at the Boston Garden went to overtime and ended when Bobby Orr, a budding superstar, scored the winning goal and then flew through the air with his arms flung out in what would become one of the most memorable images in the history of the National Hockey League.
Orr is 71 now and watching intently as the Bruins and Blues meet again for the Cup, with Game 1 coming up Monday night. It is the first time the Blues have made it back to the final.
Orr shrugs off the renewed attention of his famous moment , telling the Boston Globe: “Well, I don’t come home at night and say, ‘Well, let’s throw it on.'”
“I’m excited for what the Bruins have done. For today’s Bruins and today’s fans. We had our time 49 years ago with St. Louis. I still have wonderful memories. And I am happy for them all now,” he told the newspaper. “I think this series features two of the best stories in hockey this year.”
The Associated Press is resending its story from Game 4 written by the AP’s Larry Eldridge as it was published May 11, 1970, in The Brunswick (Ga.) News.
Trailing most of the way, the Bruins gained a tie on Bucyk’s goal with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time. Then just 40 seconds into the sudden death overtime period, Orr banged home the winning tally.
That did it. The Bruins had beaten the St. Louis Blues 4-3, sweeping their best-of-seven National Hockey League final playoff series and winning the coveted cup for the first time in 29 years.
Bedlam broke loose in Boston Garden as fans raced onto the ice. NHL President Clarence Campbell presented the cup to the winners, and Bucyk was given the honor of skating it around the rink to a deafening ovation.
The tumultuous celebration continued in the jam-packed dressing room, with players pouring champagne on everybody in sight for more than an hour.
“None of these guys have their names on that cup yet,” coach Harry Sinden said when asked why this celebration was so wild. “They may get there again in the future, but the first time is always the best.”
A few second later the fully dressed Sinden was tossed in the shower along with general manager Milt Schmidt as the celebration continued.
“My greatest thrill ever,” said one player after another — even such frequent individual award winners as Orr and Phil Esposito.
“I’ve waited 15 years for this,” said Bucyk, the elder statesman of the team who celebrates his 35th birthday Tuesday. “And I wanted it for these fans. They’ve been waiting even longer. They deserve it.”
For quite a while, it looked as though the Blues were going to spoil the party as they battled to avoid being swept out of the finals a third straight time.
Boston’s Rick Smith and St. Louis’ Red Berenson traded first period goals, but Gary Sabourin put the Blues on top early in the second session and they held the 2-1 lead until Esposito scored at the 14:22 mark to knot the count again. It was Espo’s 13th goal and 27th point of the playoffs — both records.
Larry Keenan’s power play goal snapped the tie 19 seconds into the third period, and the later it got, the more defensive the Blues became as they tried to protect their lead. The Bruins kept on the attack, however, and Bucyk finally scored from in close to tie the game at 13:28.
The tie held through regulation time, then the Bruins came out flying for the extra session.
“Harry told us that S.t Louis has a history of coming out real strong in overtime,” Ken Hodge said. “We didn’t want to take a chance on being beaten that way, so we turned the tables on them. We went right in, we forechecked, we kept the pressure on them. We knew they must be tired.”
Weren’t the Bruins tired too after playing three periods in hot, steamy Boston Garden with the temperature outside reading 91 degrees?
“Yes, but there’s a difference between being tired when you’re three up and when you’re three down,” he said.
Sinden agreed that his strategy called for coming out fast and furiously.
“There was no way we were going to sit back in that overtime period,” he said. “We had come this far with a gung-ho type of hockey, and we were going to die by going into their end or win by doing it.”
The Bruins took the opening faceoff into St. Louis ice and kept it there until Orr’s decisive goal.
The 22-year-old defenseman outraced Keenan for a loose puck, passed it to Sanderson, took a return pass and scored.
“Two kids came through,” the 23-year-old Sanderson said. “Bobby had a lot of anticipation. He figured he could beat Keenan to the puck or at least check him. With the confidence and guts he’s got, he walked in, got the puck, gave it to me and I gave it back.”