The Boston Bruins joined the National Hockey League for the 1924-25 season. The Pittsburgh Penguins came along much later, as one of six teams to enter the league for the 1967-68 NHL season. In the 2012-13 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins and Penguins will meet for just the fifth time in NHL post season history. Boston won the first two matchups while Pittsburgh has won the last two. The teams last met in the playoffs in 1992.
It took over a decade before Boston and Pittsburgh met in the post season. In 1978-79, Boston finished first in the Adams Division and third overall in the NHL, behind just the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens. The team had 100 points over the 80 game regular season schedule. The Penguins placed second in the Norris Division, behind the Montreal Canadiens, with 85 points. The Bruins were coached by Don Cherry and the Penguins were coached by Johnny Wilson.
To reach the quarter-finals series, the Bruins had a bye through the prelimary round while the Penguins took out the Buffalo Sabres, two games to one. In the showdown, the Bruins swept the Penguins in four games, outshooting their opponents 16-7. Boston then went on to the semi-finals, where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games.
Boston was led offensively in the playoffs by Jean Ratelle and Rick Middleton. Providing the most offense for the Penguins was an unlikely duo made up of Orest Kindrachuk and Colin Campbell.
1979-80 Preliminary Round
The Bruins and Penguins met in the opening round of the 1979-80 Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston prevailed, three games to two. Boston finished the regular season second in the Adams Division and fourth overall in the NHL with 105 points over 80 games. The Penguins placed fourth in the Norris with just 73 points.
Don Cherry had moved on to become head coach of the Colorado Rockies. In his place as head coach of the Bruins was Fred Creighton for the first 73 games of the regular season. Creighton was let go with General Manager Harry Sinden taking over for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Johnny Wilson coached his final year in the NHL behind the bench of the Penguins.
After eliminating Pittsburgh, Boston fell in the following round to the New York Islanders in five games. In the playoffs, Boston was led by Peter McNab and Ray Bourque. Bourque was in his first NHL season. Pittsburgh was led offensively by Rick Kehoe.
1990-91 Eastern Conference Final
Over a decade passed before the two teams met again in the post season. Boston was once again a powerhouse in the regular season, placing first in the Adams and fourth overall in the NHL with 100 points in 80 games. Pittsburgh placed first in the Patrick Division with just 88 points. Mike Milbury was head coach of the Bruins while Bob Johnson was behind the bench of the Penguins.
To reach the Conference Final, Boston beat the Hartford Whalers four games to two and the Montreal Canadiens in seven games. Pittsburgh ousted the New Jersey Devils in the opening round, four games to three, and then took out the Washington Capitals in five games. Pittsburgh took the Conference Final with a four games to two victory over the Bruins. Pittsburgh then went on to beat the Minnesota North Stars in six games in the finals to capture their first ever Stanley Cup championship.
The Bruins were led by Ray Bourque, Craig Janney and Cam Neely. Pittsburgh, despite their somewhat mediocre showing in the regular season, was stocked with stars like Mario Lemieux, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens and Jaromir Jagr. Jagr had just been selected fifth overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.
1991-92 Eastern Conference Final
The same scenario as the year before was set up for the 1991-92 Eastern Conference Finals. Boston dropped in production during the regular season, finishing second in the Adams with 84 points. The Penguins reached their status quo, placing third in the Patrick with 87 points. In the Conference Final, the Penguins swept the Bruins while outscoring their opponents 19-7. Both teams had new coaches with Rick Bowness behind the bench for Boston and the legendary Scotty Bowman as head coach of the Penguins.
To set up the series, Boston beat the Buffalo Sabres, four games to three, in the opening round before sweeping the Montreal Canadiens in four. The Penguins also went seven games in the opening round, ousting the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh followed that up with a four games to two victory over the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh moved on to capture their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship with a sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals.
Boston was led in playoffs by newly acquired Adam Oates and Joe Juneau. The Penguins added Ron Francis to their already impressive roster that included Lemieux, Stevens and Jagr.