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On This Date in Sports April 19, 1970: Oh Brother I Scored on Thou

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Stanley Cup Semifinals turn into a sibling rivalry as Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins faces Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks. Phil Esposito had long been a star in the NHL, winning scoring titles and MVPs. Tony, meanwhile, was coming off a sensational rookie season in goal. The opening game at Chicago Stadium sees Phil Esposito score a hat trick as the Bruins win 6-3 on the way to a series sweep.

Growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Phil Esposito, and his younger brother Tony were destined for NHL stardom. While Phil made his NHL debut at the age of 21 with the Chicago Black Hawks after playing in the minors, Tony Esposito played college hockey at Michigan Tech, leading the Huskies to National Championship in 1965. After college, Tony Esposito played one season with the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Hockey League before debuting with the Montreal Canadiens in 1969. The Chicago Black Hawks would pick him up following the season after appearing in 13 games for the Canadiens, who failed to protect him from the intra-league draft.

While Tony Esposito waited for his chance to shine in the NHL, Phil Esposito became one of the league’s biggest stars. After he was traded from Chicago to the Boston Bruins in 1967, Phil Esposito became one of the NHL’s top scorers, winning his first scoring title in 1969 and the Hart Trophy given to the NHL’s MVP. In 1970, Phil Esposito led the NHL in goals with 43 goals, as the Bruins finished second in the Eastern Division with a record of 40-17-19. Meanwhile, the Chicago Black Hawks finished in first place with a record of 45-22-9. A big part of the Black Hawks division championship was the play of Tony Esposito, who had a breakout season with a record of 38-17-9, with a 2.17 Goals Against Average and a .932 save percentage. Tony Esposito would win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Top Rookie and the Vezina Trophy as the league’s Top Goalie.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Boston Bruins needed six games to beat the New York Rangers, while the Chicago Black Hawks swept the Detroit Red Wings in four straight. At the time, all the established original six teams played in the East, while the six expansion teams in their third season were in the Western Division. The Black Hawks and Bruins would face off in the NHL Semifinals, with Game 1 at Chicago Stadium. The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Phil Esposito put two pucks past his brother. In the second period, Phil would complete the hat trick as the Bruins won the opener 6-3. Two days later, Phil Esposito scored another goal as the Bruins beat the Black Hawks 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead. In Boston, the Bruins continued to control the series-winning Game 3 by a score of 5-2; they would complete the sweep with a 5-4 win in Game 4.

The Bruins would sweep the St. Louis Blues to win their first Stanley Cup since 1941. Phil Esposito would win the Stanley Cup twice in his career, while Tony Esposito came close in 1971 but lost a heartbreaking seven-game series to the Montreal Canadiens. Both Esposito would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, with Phil Esposito scoring 717 career goals, while Tony Esposito won 423 games in goal.