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This Date in Bruins History: B's suffer multiple Stanley Cup Final losses

This Date in Bruins History: B's suffer multiple Stanley Cup Final losses

The Boston Bruins have played four games on May 18 in their history, and three of them were in the Stanley Cup Final.

The first one came in 1978 against the rival Montreal Canadiens. After losing the first two matchups of the series to the Canadiens in Montreal, the Bruins returned home to the old Boston Garden for Game 3. The Bruins scored twice in the first period and third period, including goals from Rick Middleton and Terry O'Reilly, to earn a 4-0 victory. The B's won Game 4 in overtime but lost the next two matchups as the Canadiens won their third consecutive Stanley Cup title.

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The second Stanley Cup Final game played by the Bruins on May 18 was against the Edmonton Oilers in 1988. It was the series opener, and Oilers superstar Wayne Gretzky opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the second period. Cam Neely equalized for the Bruins later in the period, but Keith Acton's third-period tally proved to be the winner as Edmonton escaped with a 2-1 win. The Oilers went on to sweep the series at home after Game 4 in Boston was unable to be completed due to a power failure at Boston Garden.

The third Stanley Cup Final game the Bruins have played on May 18 was again versus the Oilers two years later. The Bruins had just lost Game 1 of the series in triple overtime when Oilers forward Petr Klima scored the winning goal in the longest Cup Final matchup in league history. The Bruins were determined to even the series and take back the momentum, but the Oilers dominated in a 7-2 victory, led by a hat trick from Jari Kurri. Boston did win Game 3, but Edmonton won the next two matchups to clinch their fifth Stanley Cup title in seven years.

The other Bruins game played on this date was Game 6 of the 1999 Eastern Conference semifinals, where Boston was eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-2 loss on the road. The Bruins did not appear in another Stanley Cup Playoff game until 2002.

Talking Points: Jake DeBrusk, Steven Kampfer give Bruins needed spark in win

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USA Today Sports Images

Talking Points: Jake DeBrusk, Steven Kampfer give Bruins needed spark in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk was benched for most of the first period after he admittedly didn’t step in front of a shot early in the game. The message was received by DeBrusk, who went out and scored two power play goals within 18 seconds of each other in the third period to win the game for the Black and Gold.

Credit to DeBrusk, who has consistently responded when challenged by Bruce Cassidy over the years just as he did on Sunday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

DeBrusk becomes just the fourth player to crack double-digits in goals for the Bruins this season behind the big three on the Perfection Line, and finished with four shot attempts in 12:44 of ice time. He’s still clearly working on the small details of his game, but DeBrusk is also still responding in the right when pushed by the B’s coaching staff.

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BLACK EYE: How far has Jimmy Vesey fallen from a few seasons ago when a handful of NHL teams were vying for him in the “Vesey Sweepstakes?” Vesey, who has just four goals and 11 points in 36 games for the Sabres this season, had an awful turnover to David Pastrnak in Friday night’s loss in Buffalo and then was almost completely invisible in the Sunday night loss in Boston.

Vesey finished with one shot on net, one hit and one penalty in a completely forgettable 8:49 of ice time. He had company in the non-factor department with Kyle Okposo also registering something pretty close to a zero in the game against Boston as well.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were merely okay after the first two periods and had managed just two shots on net in the opening 20 minutes, so it wasn’t looking all that great 40 minutes into the game. But then the B’s managed to kick into higher gear in the third period once they got a tripping and hooking double-penalty called on Johan Larsson that gave the B’s an extended four-minute power play.

Once that happened DeBrusk scored the two goals in 18 seconds of time and the B’s had themselves a two-goal lead in the third period that they wouldn’t give up. They outshot the Sabres by a 9-7 margin in the third and certainly didn’t sit back on their lead.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give credit to Steve Kampfer for stepping up and getting it done in his role as the spare D-man that had to spend some time in the AHL before getting bumped back up when injuries hit in Boston. Kampfer had a couple of assists including a secondary helper on the game-winning goal for Jake DeBrusk, and was active in pretty much all departments in his 19:26 of ice time for the Black and Gold.

Kampfer finished with the two assists, four shot attempts, three hits, two takeaways and a blocked shot for his efforts. He will continue to get work as Connor Clifton went down with an injury during the win on Sunday night.

BY THE NUMBERS: 234-113-48 – the Bruins home record after playing their final game of the 2010s where they racked up 516 points. The total ranked them seventh overall in the NHL in home wins and sixth overall in home points.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s a privilege to put on the Bruins sweater every night. And you might not have your A-game, but you’ve got to bring your B-game to help your team win and be a good pro. So that’s a little bit of the message between periods. I didn’t think there was enough of that of late.” –Bruce Cassidy, on what the message was behind benching Jake DeBrusk in the first period.

Connor Clifton exits Bruins-Sabres game with upper body injury

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File Photo

Connor Clifton exits Bruins-Sabres game with upper body injury

BOSTON – The Bruins will be minus another member of their defensemen corps for at least the rest of Sunday night’s game as Connor Clifton exited in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Clifton played seven shifts and 5:52 of ice time with one shot attempt and two hits in the Sunday night Atlantic Division tilt with the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden, and never came out for the second period at all.

The Bruins are already down both Torey Krug (upper body) and Charlie McAvoy (upper body) to injuries after both were taken out in Monday night’s win over the Washington Capitals, and neither player is expected to return for Tuesday night’s game with the New Jersey Devils.

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Krug skated on his own ahead of Bruins morning skate at Warrior Arena on Sunday, but McAvoy did not take the ice at all with the B’s hoping he’d be ready to skate in the next couple of days. As it is, both Krug and McAvoy are day-to-day while Bruce Cassidy said that he doesn't think Clifton's injury is serious postgame.

“He had an upper body injury. He’ll get checked out,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll see how it is. I don’t think it’s [serious] but we’ll see. It’s a testament to [Zdeno Chara] and [Brandon] Carlo…a lot of minutes, tough minutes.”

Clifton has two goals in 29 games this season and has been a constant as a bottom-pairing defenseman for the Black and Gold. He even got into it physically with Sam Reinhart during Boston’s win in Buffalo on Friday night.