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EXCERPT | May 8, 1972

Bruins Beatdown

Boston mauled New York in the Stanley Cup opener

Call it the Boston Massacre. The Rangers opened the Stanley Cup finals as one of the NHL's most artful teams. They ended Game 1 bloodied, bruised and on the short end of a 6--5 score. Mark Mulvoy reported for SI.

The Bruins have a marauding, one-punch-knockout style that emphasizes body contact and goal scoring at the expense of everything else. The Rangers, on the other hand, float like butterflies, avoid physical conflict whenever possible and work harder to prevent goals than score them.

For half of Game 1 in steamy Boston Garden the Bruins bounced the Rangers all over the ice—and the scoreboard. Not that the Rangers were entirely meek. Gary Doak, a former Bruin, drew a penalty and then shoved and sassed an official and was sent to the showers. The teams traded early goals, but with four minutes remaining in the first period Ken Hodge and Phil Esposito barreled past two Rangers defensemen and Hodge flipped the puck over flailing Rangers goalie Ed Giacomin. A minute later Don Awrey was penalized for elbowing Rod Gilbert, a particular target of the Boston hitters, and the Rangers pressed their power play furiously. But the Bruins' anti--power play proved better. In an outrageous display of bravado, first Derek Sanderson and then Hodge scored for the Bruins while they were shorthanded. The crowd shrieked its joy; hated New York was being humiliated. The Rangers looked not only bruised but crushed as they skated off the ice.

The Bruins led 5--1 before the Rangers finally rallied. Boston, behind Conn Smythe winner Bobby Orr, went on to win the Stanley Cup in six games.

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Photograph by NEIL LEIFER

BRUISING START The Rangers and center Walt Tkaczuk (here scrubbing the face of Awrey) got a few shots in but couldn't subdue the even more physical Bruins in Game 1.

PHOTO

MANNY MILLAN

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PAUL BERESWILL

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DAVID E. KLUTHO

THREE PHOTOS

JOHN BIEVER (RODRIGUEZ, LEE, DITKA)

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HEINZ KLUETMEIER (DEMENTIEVA)

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JOHN D. HANLON (CLARKE)

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HECTOR AMEZCUA/SACRAMENTO BEE/AP (HORRY)

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BRAD SMITH/ISIPHOTOS.COM (FINDLEY)

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