1975 Sabres/Canadiens Playoff Series

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by ChrisK97, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. ChrisK97

    ChrisK97 Registered User

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    This is an interesting series in retrospect considering it was Montreal's last postseason defeat for the rest of the 70s with basically the same cast of characters that dominated the rest of the decade and had also won a Cup in ‘73. (Ironically, Buffalo gave the Habs fits in the ‘73 Playoffs, so maybe that experience proved vital here)

    Boston never beat them in the 70s with a handful of great teams, but the Sabres go figure did.

    Buffalo on the surface wasn’t exactly as stacked as the ‘71 Bruins team Montreal famously beat nor as seasoned as the ‘72 Rangers that beat Dryden in his “rookie” season, but they somehow found a way in ‘75.







    It was a classic home cooking series the first 5 games. Buffalo lost badly twice at the Montreal Forum (7-0, 8-2), but won 3 one goal games, two of them in overtime.

    Then they bucked the road trend by clinching the series at Montreal no less!

    So how did Buffalo pull this off?

    And theoretically, could Montreal have matched up better with Philly in ‘75 considering this was essentially the same team that did beat them in ‘76?

    Little did anyone know at the time, however, how long it would be before the Habs would be sent to defeat again in the spring
     
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  2. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    Second year I watched hockey, that's right, the Habs spanked the Sabres handily during the first two games. I seem to remember the series becoming more physical upon the return to Buffalo. Interestingly, the Sabres were never as good as that year despite also having a great number of the same players for a few years after, if memory serves correctly.

    I don't think the Sabres were as steady in goal the years after though.
     
  3. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    I remember watching that series as a nine year old. It was the first and last time I ever wept over a hockey game, when Buffalo sent Montreal packing in game 6. This video is amazing to me, as I hadn't seen any highlights since.
     
  4. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    1973 & 1975 Buffalo could skate with the Canadiens much better than any of the 1970, Bruins teams could.
     
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  5. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    The French Connection was one of the top two or three lines in hockey in the latter half of the 70's.
     
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  6. Normand Lacombe

    Normand Lacombe Registered User

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    Buffalo had home ice and won the first two games at the Aud. It was in games 3 and 4 at the Forum that the Sabres were routed, 7-0 and 8-2.

    The goaltending for the Sabres was never truly in good hands. Gerry Desjardins and Roger Crozier had the fortune of playing for a team that finished 2nd in the NHL in goals scored in 74-75, behind Montreal. In this series Desjardins posted a .830 SV% in 5 games, with Crozier posting a .872 SV% in 3 games. Fortunately for Buffalo, they were able to score goals at opportune times to outlast Montreal. It also helped Buffalo's cause that Dryden, Robinson and Savard did not play to their lofty standards in the series.
     
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  7. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    Me bad, long time ago, but I did remember the Habs winning handily at the Forum. That save % for Buff is pretty low for a team that won that round.
     
  8. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    The Sabres also had a pretty good regular season record vs the Habs in the mid/late-70s, right?
     
  9. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    Yes, Buffalo was one of the few arenas the 70s Habs had a tough time playing in.
     
  10. TatTar

    TatTar Registered User

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    Good topic, as a Habs fan I remember it was hard at the time. The '73 series was only real fight we had in the playoffs. As we walked thru Philly and Chicago. Don't know why Sabres were able to play over their heads against us? Imlach experience playing against us all those years in the '60s? Maybe he knew Frank Mahovlich's weakness in '73?
     
  11. TatTar

    TatTar Registered User

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    Thinking more about this, the small ice at the Aud may have affected the Habs skill
     
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  12. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    Good point, I think the Aud was even a tad smaller then the Boston Garden?
     
  13. double5son10

    double5son10 Registered User

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    " Montreal and Buffalo, meanwhile, approach the playoffs with peculiar perspectives. The Sabres, now the biggest, fastest and youngest team in the game, rudely whipped the Canadiens four times this season but failed to beat the Flyers in any of their four confrontations. "Playing Montreal is no trouble for my kids," said Buffalo General Manager Punch Imlach, "because we're basically a skating club, like the Canadiens. We also have a lot of young French-Canadians who always give an extra burst against Montreal. But when we go against Philadelphia, we never know what to expect, a battle or a hockey game." "
    ...BUT IN THE NHL, IT'S BRAINS

    Also,
    " In the wake of the painful defeat, Scotty Bowman mused that the Canadiens had to adopt a more structured style of play to keep pace with the changes occurring in the NHL. "We tried to go open and full out against the Sabres, and it didn't work," he said. "
    from 100 Years of Glory by Darcy Jenish. Jenish's book also talks about how Montreal had no one that could check Perreault. Henri Richard was hurt (and 38 yrs. old). Addition of Doug Jarvis the following season helped solidify the Canadiens' checking line.

    Big game of the series was game 5. After the two blowout wins Montreal went into Buffalo and laid a big, fat defensive egg. Outshot 45-19 to lose 5-4 in OT. Game 6 was the Gilbert Perreault show. Though he didn't score he controlled play and seemed to have the puck on a string whenever he was out.
     
  14. TatTar

    TatTar Registered User

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    Yeah, the NHL back then should have forced teams to have a standard ice surface. Playing on small ice gave big, physical teams like Buffalo and Boston an advantage over skilled teams like the Habs. But playing a slower physical team like Philly; they never had the advantage. I think more Buffalo than Boston.
    Also explains why Sabres were able to dominate the USSR in SuperSeries '76. It was difficult for skill to play there.
    Buffalo and Montreal each went in opposite directions after that series. What happened to Buffalo in following years? I can't remember them in playoffs. They must have falled off sharply. We played Islanders and Philly played Boston in '76 Semis I remember. In '77 and '78 can't remember who we played in semis. Boston in Finals of course, and semis in '79. I know it wasn't Buffalo. We didn't play Sabres again until '83 I think. They kicked our butts again but likely was due to Aud.
     
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  15. frisco

    frisco Some people say that there's a woman to blame...

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    Other than the fact that the Sabres may have been more skilled than the Habs.

    My Best-Carey
     

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