Monday, February 13, 2012
Following a loss to the Quebec Nordiques on November 11, 1982, the Boston Bruins record stood at 7-6-3. The Bruins rebounded with a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres two nights later on the 13th. Goaltender Pete Peeters was the winner, making 25 saves on 27 Buffalo shots.
The Bruins won their following game 7-3 over the St. Louis Blues with Mike Moffat in the Bruins goal. On November 16th, the Bruins got their redemption against the Nordiques with a dominant 7-4 win with Peeters back in goal. He was again the winning goaltender on November 18th in a 3-1 win over the Islanders in a game that was not as close as it sounds, as Boston led 3-0 with seven minutes remaining.
Moffat took the loss against Pittsburgh on November 20th before Peeters won his fourth consecutive start after making two Bruins first period goals stand up in a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames as the Bruins held the Flames to just 17 shots, an especially low amount in the wide open style of the 1980's.
A tie with the Flyers on the 24th halted Peeters winning streak, but extended his unbeaten streak to five games, which continued the next day with a 1-1 draw against the New York Islanders, who were in the middle of their Stanley Cup dynasty and would go on to win another championship at the end of the season.
Peeters earned his second shutout of the season with an 8-0 pounding of the Hartford Whalers on the 27th to close out November.
December began with a 3-3 tie against the Nordiques on the 2nd followed by a come from behind 6-4 win in Montreal against the Canadiens, highlighted by Barry Pederson's hat trick. Peeters unbeaten streak now reached 10 back in Boston on the 5th as Pederson recorded his second consecutive hat trick in another 6-4 victory.
A contentious, fight filled game against the Nordiques on December 7th saw Moffat take the loss in a 10-5 win for Quebec, although Peeters started the game and allowed the first five Quebec goals.
Moffat got the win in a high scoring 8-5 Bruins win against Montreal on the 9th and again on the 11th 4-2 over the Chicago Blackhawks. Moffat's attempt at a winning streak was curtailed with a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.
Peeters got the start against Buffalo and resumed his unbeaten streak, now at 11 games, with an easy 8-1 shellacking of the Sabres on the 16th. Peeters third shutout arrived on the 18th in a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Hartford fell victim to Peeters and the Bruins once more on the 23rd by a score of 5-1. After two days off for Christmas, the New Jersey Devils received the same treatment in a 5-2 Bruins win in Boston, their final home game for 18 days.
Boston's seven game road trip began in St. Louis in fine style on the 28th as Boston scored a goal in each period for a 3-0 win, Peeters fourth shutout and Peeters 15th decision without a loss. 1982 came to a close on December 31st as the Bruins extended Peeters unbeaten streak to 16 in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota North Stars, which was not decided until Keith Crowder scored an empty net goal with seven seconds remaining.
January 2nd saw Moffat take the loss in a 6-4 defeat to the Jets in Winnipeg. It was at this point that the Bruins record stood at 23-10-6 thanks to the Bruins five game winning streak in the latter half of December.
The rest of the road trip saw Peeters in goal for each of the four remaining games with a 4-1 win in Chicago, a 2-2 tie in New Jersey, a narrow 2-1 win in Montreal with the extended road trip concluding with a 6-4 win in Toronto to extend Peeters unbeaten streak to an even 20.
The schedule makers now rewarded the Bruins with ten of their next 13 games at home in the Boston Garden. Now fully on a roll, Peeters shutout the Nordiques 2-0 on January 13th and duplicated that feat on the 15th over the New York Rangers by the same 2-0 score.
Minnesota stopped Peeters shutout streak at 168:05 with a goal early in the second period, but his unbeaten streak reached 23 games with a come from behind win thanks to Tom Fergus' goal with just 14 seconds left in the game to give Boston a 4-3 win on the 17th.
Three days later Peeters third shut out in his last four games arrived in the form of a 4-0 win over Buffalo. It was also Peeters 6th consecutive victory.
Marco Baron extended the Bruins winning streak to seven as he got the start for the Bruins on the road in a 3-1 win in Detroit against the Red Wings on January 22nd.
Peeters' personal winning streak resumed in a 3-1 win in Manhattan against the Rangers on the 24th before the club returned home to Boston on the 29th, where a 7-3 defeat of the visiting Red Wings saw the Bruins winning streak reach 9 straight victories and Peeters personal winning streak at 8, while his unbeaten streak was now at 26 games.
January came to a close on the 31st with a 2-2 tie against Winnipeg, tying Peeters personal best 27 game undefeated streak set while with the Flyers during the 1979-80 season when they went an NHL record 35 games without a loss, with Phil Myre sharing in the streak. The Bruins finished January with a 10-1-2 record, with their only loss coming back on the 2nd.
Peeters set a new personal best with his 28th decision without a loss on February 3rd following a 5-3 win over the Nordiques. Baron then extended the Bruins undefeated streak to 14 with a 7-4 win over the Whalers on the 5th.
The Sabres fell again to Boston and Peeters the next night by a score of 5-1 and Peeters reached the rarified air of a 30 game undefeated streak on February 10th as the Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-3 as the club's unbeaten streak reached 16.
Finally on this date in 1983 the Bruins would host the Vancouver Canucks with Peeters once again getting the start. After a scoreless first period Vancouver would break out on top with a power play goal two minutes into the second period. Mike Krushelnyski evened the score for Boston at 10:25 and Rick Middleton's goal less than four minutes later would give the Bruins the lead, which Middleton would extend to 3-1 with three and a half minutes left in the game to extend the Bruins winning streak to five games, their undefeated streak to 17 games (15-0-2 since January 5th) and Peeters personal record to 31 games without a loss, the second longest such streak in NHL history, one behind only former Bruins goaltender (and current head coach!) Gerry Cheevers' 32 game run set in 1975-76.
Having a head coach who had been through such a streak on his own must have been helpful for Peeters, as Cheevers must have had a unique insight on how to handle Peeters and deflect some of the mounting pressure and attention during his run of excellence. Either that, or Cheevers simply kept running Peeters out there in a secret hope he'd tire him out to protect his own league record!
The Bruins record was now 38-10-8 but Peeters would come one short of tying Cheevers when he allowed two goals by Gilbert Perreault and Phil Housley, while Middleton's 30th was all the Bruins could get by Buffalo's Bob Sauve before Brent Peterson's empty net goal made the final 3-1 for Buffalo, ending Peeters undefeated streak, during which he had a record of 26-0-5 and a goals against average of 1.94 and six shutouts.
"It's not a great disappointment," Peeters said following the game. "It's not something that's going to set me on a downfall. I'm happy with my teammates because I really believe they gave it all they had. [The streak] meant more to them than it did to me."
Peeters would finish the season with a 40-11-9 record to lead the Bruins to a league best 110 points, although this was three seasons before the debut of the President's Trophy, which is now awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points. Pederson would lead Boston in scoring with 46 goals and 107 points, which would place him 6th overall in the NHL.
In the playoffs, Boston would eliminate the Nordiques in four games 3 games to 1 and barely outlast Buffalo with an overtime winner in Game 7 before facing the battle-tested three time defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders, who ended the Bruins season in a back and forth six game series, which oddly saw each game decided by a minimum of three goals!
At the conclusion of the season, Peeters was named the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL best goaltender for the 1982-83 season as well as a First Team All-Star. He would go on to play three more seasons with the Bruins before moving on to the Capitals and later returning to his original club, the Flyers. His career record over 13 seasons was 246-155-51, but his 40 win season would stand alone as his best, as he never even reached 30 wins in any other year. At the time of his retirement in 1991, Peeters held the second and third longest unbeaten streaks in NHL history at 31 and 27 games, neither of which have been equalled in the nearly 30 years since his astounding 31 game run in 1982-83.
Today's featured jersey is a 1982-83 Boston Bruins Pete Peeters jersey. This jersey has been modified for Peeters with nearly an extra foot of length added to the mid-section from below the Bruins crest down to the waist stripes, giving it truly unusual proportions when compared to the average player's jersey. Peeters would then pull the jersey down as far as possible in a surreptitious effort to decrease the size of the "five hole" between his legs!
Eventually the league caught onto Peeters' modified jersey and outlawed his alterations. See if you can detect the seam just below the crest or the #1 on the back.
In today's video section, proof of Peeters colorful career, as he gets into a fight with the North Stars Don Beaupre while he was a member of the Flyers. Note the Flyers skaters wearing their short-lived long pants.
In our next clip, Peeters takes a shot to the head and is knocked out cold while with the Capitals.