How Bruins can make history by bringing third straight title to Boston

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

How Bruins can make history by bringing third straight title to Boston originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

Yes, the Celtics spoiled the city's chances at a Boston Slam. But three out of four ain't bad, right?

That's an understatement, of course. The Bruins, who advanced to the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes, have the chance to raise Boston's incredible sporting success to historic heights.

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If the Bruins defeat the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues to win this year's Stanley Cup, Boston sports teams will hold three of the Big Four (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) championships at the same time, as the 2018 Red Sox are the defending World Series champions and the 2018 New England Patriots are reigning Super Bowl champs.

According to Boston Sports Info on Twitter, only two other cities have accomplished a similar feat, and both did so more than 80 years ago.

As you can see, Detroit's 1935/1936 teams and New York's 1927/28 teams both had much shorter paths to their titles. (The 1927 New York Giants didn't even play in a championship game.) They also had far less competition, as the NHL had fewer than 10 teams in both years.

So, if we're talking about the "modern era" -- after the NFL-AFL merger in 1966 and the NHL and NBA's expansion to 20-plus teams in the 1970s -- Boston can become the first city ever to complete the title three-peat if the Bruins win the Cup.

That's pretty remarkable, considering it's hard enough for one sports region to hold two consecutive titles. The last to do so was the Bay Area (the 2014 San Francisco Giants and 2014-15 Golden State Warriors), which has six professional sports teams compared to Boston's four.

Boston already has double-dipped twice in the 21st century -- in 2003/04 (Patriots and Red Sox) and 2007/08 (Red Sox and Celtics) -- but the Bruins can had a historic third scoop in 2018.

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