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Before Bruins-Blues Stanley Cup Final, A Look At Boston's Championship Dominance Over St. Louis

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Blues are headed to the Stanley Cup Final. St. Louis sports fans are elated.

The Blues are going to face the Boston Bruins. St. Louis sports fans must be miserable.

That would be a reasonable way to feel for any longtime fans of St. Louis sports, as the history of championship meetings between the two cities has been decidedly lopsided for quite some time.

Here's a look back at all of the championship meetings involving Boston and St. Louis, as well as a stray nugget or two about the two cities intermingling in the sports world.


1970 Stanley Cup Final
Boston Bruins Sweep St. Louis Blues, 4-0

You'll likely hear this 11,000 times between now and Monday, but the last time that the Blues were in the Stanley Cup Final, they played against the Bruins. The series ended with a moment you might remember:

Stanley Cup Winner Bobby Orr's flying goal 1970 by Bruins fan on YouTube

People recall that goal from time to time.

Bobby Orr's score, which is one of the most famous goals in history, has been frozen in time with a statue outside the TD Garden.

That final goal came in overtime, but that was the only game of the series that was close. The Bruins won 6-1 and 6-2 in the two games played in St. Louis, before winning Game 3 by a 4-1 score.

That marked the third straight Stanley Cup Final appearance for the Blues, all of which came in their first three years of existence. They went 0-12 in their three appearances, though, getting swept by the Bruins and getting swept twice to the Canadiens.


Super Bowl XXXVI
New England Patriots: 20
St. Louis Rams: 17

Ty Law
Ty Law returns an interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI. (Photo by Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images)

Prior to kickoff on Feb. 3, 2002, Rams receiver Ricky Proehl leaned in toward a camera and stated confidently, "Tonight, a dynasty is born." Proehl proved to be very correct, just not in the way he wanted.

The Rams were looking to win their second Super Bowl in three years, as "The Greatest Show On Turf" looked poised to dominate the NFL for years to come. The underdog Patriots weren't given a chance by anybody.

But then Ty Law picked off a Kurt Warner pass, returning it 47 yards for a touchdown to give New England the lead. Tom Brady dropped a picture-perfect touchdown pass to David Patten for another touchdown before halftime.

The Rams being the Rams, they stormed back in the fourth quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns to tie the game at 17-17. But, well, you know what happened next. Brady created his own legacy, Adam Vinatieri drilled the game-winning field goal as time expired, and a dynasty was indeed born.

The Rams never made it back to the Super Bowl before the team relocated to Los Angeles following the 2015 season.

Super Bowl LIII
New England Patriots: 13
Los Angeles Rams: 3

Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Does this one count? Probably not. But it warrants mentioning.

The Rams, after missing the playoffs for 12 straight years, found some new success under new head coach Sean McVay in 2017. A year later, they were in the Super Bowl. There, though, the league's No. 2 scoring offense mustered just three points total. The Patriots won 13-3. Any St. Louis sports fan who managed to stick with the team after the move had to be quite perturbed with that development.


1957 NBA Finals
Boston Celtics defeat St. Louis Hawks, 4-3

1958 NBA Finals
St. Louis Hawks defeat Boston Celtics, 4-2

1960 NBA Finals
Boston Celtics defeat St. Louis Hawks, 4-3

1961 NBA Finals
Boston Celtics defeat St. Louis Hawks, 4-1

Bill Russell
Bill Russell posing with his championship rings (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

You have to go back quite a ways to get some Boston-St. Louis basketball history, but it's definitely there. In fact, you have to go all the way back to a time when the 17-time world champs did not have a single title to their name.

The Boston Celtics and the St. Louis Hawks met in the NBA Finals four times between 1957 and 1961. The Celtics won three of those series.

The very first title won by the Celtics came at the expense of St. Louis' heartbreak, as the Celtics won in double overtime in Game 7, by just two points. A rookie forward named Tom Heinsohn led the way with 37 points for Boston, Bob Cousy played all 58 minutes, and Bill Russell pulled down 32 -- yes, 32 -- rebounds.

Speaking of Russell, well, this is where things really sting for St. Louis sports fans, because the St. Louis Hawks actually drafted Russell with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1956 NBA Draft. But the Hawks traded Russell right away, getting Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan from the Celtics ... in exchange for one of the single greatest basketball players of all time.

Russell went on to win 11 NBA titles, five MVPs, plus two NBA titles as a player-coach, while making 12 All-Star teams and 11 All-NBA teams. All of that came over the course of a 13-year playing career with the Boston Celtics.

Macauley played just three seasons for the Hawks. Though he did help deliver one championship, St. Louis probably would go back in time and hang on to Russell if given the opportunity.


2013 World Series
Boston Red Sox defeat St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2

Koji Uehara and David Ross
Koji Uehara and David Ross celebrate after defeating the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

2004 World Series
Boston Red Sox defeat St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0

Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz
Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz celebrate after winning the 2004 World Series in St. Louis. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

People tend to forget, because of the historic significance of the curse-breaking Red Sox in 2004, but the Cardinals were absolutely dominant that year. The Cardinals went 105-57, the best record in baseball and the best record in the NL by a country mile. The Cardinals carried a pitching staff that allowed the fewest runs in the majors while also having the National League's best offense. And after outlasting the Astros in an unforgettable NLCS, the World Series appeared to be there for the taking.

The Cardinals then promptly got swept, losing by a combined score of 24-12 over the four games.

St. Louis would get its World Series celebration two years later, and then again in 2011. But in a battle for teams looking to win a third World Series in the 21st century, the Red Sox rallied from a 2-1 series deficit to win the thing in six games in 2013. In one of the dumber decisions in sports history, Mike Matheny's team kept pitching to David Ortiz, who batted .688 with a 1.948 OPS in the series.

1967 World Series
St. Louis Cardinals defeat Boston Red Sox, 4-3

1946 World Series
St. Louis Cardinals defeat Boston Red Sox, 4-3

Spectators At The 1946 World Series
Spectators cheer at Sportsman's Park during Game 6 of the World Series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox in St. Louis. (Photo by APA/Getty Images)

If you're a St. Louis sports fan and a real old-timer, then you can certainly reminisce about the salad days of the St. Louis-Boston championship rivalry. Bob Gibson in Game 7? The best. Bob Gibson in any game? Incredible. (He pitched three complete games that series, going 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA.) And who could forget Enos Slaughter rounding third back in '46, as Johnny Pesky held onto the ball a tick too long?

That, though, was a long time ago, and so was the Hawks' victory over the Celtics in 1958.

Overall, in championship meetings between Boston and St. Louis, Boston teams have won seven of the 10 meetings. Boston has won four straight and six of seven, dating back to 1960. In the age of color television, Boston has not lost a championship meeting with St. Louis.


Again, Blues fans are no doubt thrilled to see the Blues back in the Cup Final for the first time in 49 years. They just probably would have preferred to see the Hurricanes. Or the Blue Jackets. Or literally anybody else but Boston.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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