Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trivia Tag-up: Beware the Ides of May, Boston Bruins?

Until this year, the Boston Bruins held an 8-0 lifetime record in postseason games played on May 1 and a 9-0 overall on that date. (They edged the Ottawa Senators on May 1, 1995, late in a lockout-shortened and delayed regular season.)

Two weeks ago, the Montreal Canadiens chipped that trend and raised the initial upper hand in the 2014 Atlantic Division Final with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1.

Crossover New England puckheads and omen junkies can take consolation in that as the series meets its inevitable end Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

If the 15th day of the third calendar month is the Ides of March, then the 14th sunrise of the fifth month marks the Ides of May for the Spoked-Bs. The Boston franchise is 1-8 on that date with an active five-game losing streak entering Wednesday’s Game 7.

The lone exception witnessed captain Ray Bourque and Co. stamping that core group’s first of two Stanley Cup Final passports. The norm includes a Canadiens’ Cup clincher, the last playoff hockey game at the old Boston Garden and all three May 14 hockey games at the new TD Garden.

Bruins buffs who have the digestive organs for it are invited to revisit the rundown below. (Bold type denotes season-ending defeats for Boston.) Otherwise, skip the next eight lines:

1974: Game 4, Stanley Cup Final, 4-2 loss at Philadelphia

1977: Game 4, Stanley Cup Final, 2-1 loss to Montreal

1988: Game 7, Wales Conference Final, 6-2 win over New Jersey

1995: Game 5, Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, 3-2 loss to New Jersey

1999: Game 4, Eastern Conference Semifinal, 3-0 loss at Buffalo

2009: Game 7, Eastern Conference Semifinal, 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina

2010: Game 7, Eastern Conference Semifinal, 4-3 loss to Philadelphia

2011: Game 1, Eastern Conference Final, 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay

The only two series Boston won in these instances have been the 1988 and 2011 conference finals.

In fairness, that once-impeccable May 1 record carried a cornucopia of kickers. Four of those eight wins on that date granted the Bruins a 1-0 series lead, but did nothing to avert an eventual letdown in that series. Those included the 1991 conference final, the second round of the 1994 tournament and the aforementioned 2009 Carolina confrontation and 2010 Philadelphia flameout. 

With a win Wednesday, the Bruins can turn that altogether trivial hex on the Habs. Otherwise, we are looking at a mini-reprise of 1977 for the faithful of each franchise.