Photo by: Mike Powell via Getty Images
Many great teams lie smoldering in the wake of the illustrious post-season history of the Edmonton Oilers. However, one team was vaporized - the Boston Bruins. In two post-season series, both Stanley Cup FInals, the Bruins and Oilers played 9 games. The Oilers won 8 of them. In those 9 games, the Oilers scored 38 goals, the Bruins scored 17.
The first matchup came in the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals. The Oilers swept the Bruins in 4 games, the closest the Bruins came to a win was the famous Fog Game's cancellation with a tie score. The Oilers won convincingly, outscoring Boston by a 2:1 margin for the series and in each game:
Game 1: 2-1
Game 2: 4-2
Game 3: 6-3
Game 4: 6-3
The final tally was Edmonton 18, Boston 9 and the series wasn't even that close.
The second meeting was even more lopsided. In 1990, the Oilers, without Wayne Gretzky or Paul Coffey, met the Bruins in the Finals once again, taking the series in 5 games. The Bruins managed a win in game 3, but the Oilers outscored them 20-8 for the series:
Game 1: 3-2
Game 2: 7-2
Game 3: 1-2
Game 4: 5-1
Game 5: 4-1
Game 2, probably my favorite post-season game in Oilers' history, was Jari Kurri's shining moment, his statement game and birthday gift to Edmonton.
In 9 post-season games against the Bruins, the Oilers have averaged 4.2 goals per game and have given up just 1.9 goals per game for a goal differential of 2.3 goals per game - complete and total domination.
The regular season series is a different story. To the degree that the Oilers have dominated the Bruins in the post-season, the Bruins have returned the favor during the regular season. They have played 64 times since 1979 and the Bruins have won 41 of those matchups. The Oilers' all-time record vs. the Bruins is 17-38-6-3, or 17-41-6 excluding the Bettman point. Their points percentage is .336, easily Edmonton's worst in franchise history. The Oilers next lowest points percentage is .469 against the Minnesota Wild.
The Bruins haven't just squeaked out those 41 wins in 64 games, they've received full value from them. The Oilers have given up 237 goals in those 64 games while scoring just 184. On a per game basis, that's 2.88 GF/G and 3.7 GA/G. The goal differential is -0.82 per game, the biggest (worst) in Edmonton's regular season history. The next worst? Minnesota again, at -0.49.
The numbers in table form:
The Bruins have owned the Oilers in the regular season. Obviously, no Oilers' fan in their right mind would trade the Stanley Cups for the regular season results, but beating Boston tonight is a fine way to begin a new tradition.