The 1991-92 Boston Bruins struggled at times through an up and down season. The team was coming off a difficult Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins the season before and trying to adapt to playing without their best player, Cam Neely. Neely was injured in Game 3 of that series by a questionable hit by known villain Ulf Samuelsson. The Bruins’ power forward would play just nine games in the ‘91-92 season.
In Neely’s absence, the Bruins finished just 36-32-12 and in second place in the Adams Division. The leading scorer was captain Raymond Bourque with 81 points. Much of the offensive slack had to be handled by center Adam Oates, who was acquired in February, and winger Vladimir Ruzicka (39 goals). The Bruins had a tough hill to climb without their future hall of famer.
In the first round, Boston faced Buffalo and took a 3-1 series lead, but lost Game 5 at home 2-0 and traveled back to Buffalo to try to wrap up the series. However, the Bruins were embarrassed 9-3 in Game 6, allowed five power-play goals, and looked dead in the water. But the Bruins would advance to the second round as winger Dave Reid scored a third-period goal to win Game 7 in Boston 3-2.
Round two was a matchup with the hated Montreal Canadiens, who were the Adams Division Champions. The underdog Bruins would dominate the series, sweeping the Habs four games to none behind a brilliant series from goaltender Andy Moog. Moog would allow just eight goals in the series with a .922 save percentage.
And then it was on to a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Penguins. Pittsburgh was not the team from the previous season, finishing in third place in the Patrick Division. However, Mario Lemieux (131 points) and Kevin Stevens (123 points) still presented a difficult task for Boston. The Bruins were seeking revenge for their fallen star and for being eliminated by Scotty Bowman’s club the year before.
The Bruins had their chance to take a 1-0 series lead in Game 1. A Glen Wesley goal late in the second period gave Boston a 3-2 lead. But the Penguins would rally as Shawn McEachern scored to tie it in the third, and Jaromir Jagr scored the winner in overtime. The loss seemed to take the wind out of head coach Rick Bowness’ club as the Bruins would lose Game 2 5-2 in Pittsburgh and then suffer back-to-back 5-1 losses at home to end their season. Pittsburgh would go on to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
The 1991-92 Bruins were two years removed from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance and trying to make another run without Cam Neely. After a valiant effort, the team would succumb to a great hockey club, much the same as they did in 1988 and 1990 against a loaded Edmonton Oilers team. The Bruins would not win a cup with this core group but would provide great memories in the old Boston Garden that Bruins fans still cherish today.