Wednesday, May 10, 2017
On May 10, 1970, at 5:10pm, one of the most dramatic goals in hockey history was scored at the old Boston Garden. The occasion was game four of the 1970 Stanley Cup final between the hometown Bruins and the St. Louis Blues. Boston was well in control of the final as they won the first three contests.
In game four, the two clubs ended regulation tied at three goals apiece. The Bruins pulled even with the Blues when Johnny Bucyk potted the equalizer late in the third period. As is usually the case in overtime, one player takes his place under the spotlight and becomes the hero. Forty-seven years ago this afternoon, the knight in shining armour for the Bruins faithful was Bobby Orr.
"Swooping in front of the Blues' net, Bobby Orr took a swipe past old Glenn Hall in a move so rapid that there was a slight delay in the roar from the stands until a few moments after the red light flashed," noted Boston Globe writer Tom Fitzgerald.
In his story, Fitzgerald quoted Orr's teammate, Derek Sanderson, who set-up the goal. "That Bobby is the only guy who could do something like that. He blocked the puck away from the guy (Larry Keenan) over by the boards, then got it into me in the right corner. I waited just a little until Bobby busted for that net and put it into him."
Orr's Cup-winning tally, scored forty-seconds into overtime, topped off a banner season for the native of Parry Sound, Ontario. In addition to the Cup, Orr took home the Hart Trophy (MVP), Art Ross Trophy (top scorer), Norris Trophy (top defenceman) and the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP).
Friday, May 5, 2017
On Saturday, April 29th, former Leaf, Tod Sloan, received his alumni jacket in recognition of the Toronto Maple Leafs 100th anniversary. The event was held at the Legion Hall in Sutton, Ontario.
Tod Sloan scored his biggest NHL goal in game five of the 1951 Stanley Cup Final. The Montreal Canadiens held a one goal advantage over Toronto late in the period three. With seconds remaining in regulation, Sloan tied the contest at the 19:28 mark of the third period.
A story in The Globe and Mail provided readers with this description of Sloan's equalizer. Max Bentley "worked his way goal ward firing through a maze of players. The puck bounced out, Smith (Sid) smacked at it and it hit the goalpost, the disc landing at Sloan's feet. Tod did the rest."
It "took the heart out of the Habs, cost them a victory they had locked up. It was like having a man steal home on you in the ninth to tie the score," noted another newspaper article.
Sloan's crucial tally sent the game into overtime. What came next is one of the most important moments in Toronto Maple Leafs history. In the extra-time, Bill Barilko scored the Cup-winning goal and by summers end, lost his life in a plane crash.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Exactly 50 years-ago this evening on May 2, 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens faced-off in game six of the Stanley Cup Final. The game was played at Maple Leafs Gardens. The Cup was on the line as the Leafs held a 3 to 2 games advantage over the Habs.
Going into the third period, Toronto was able to keep their opponent off the scoreboard and had a two goal lead. Ron Ellis and Jimmy Pappin found the back of the net for the home team. But at the 5:28 mark of the final frame, former Leaf, Dick Duff, brought the Canadiens to within one goal.
Toronto Daily Star hockey writer, Red Burnett, in his report the next day, brilliantly described the action after Duff's goal.
"From then until George Armstrong pounded a long shot into the Canadiens net with 47 seconds left, it was a tense, gripping duel between a desperate offence and a stubborn, clever defence.
"Coach Toe Blake lifted Worsley at 19:05 for an extra attacker after the Leafs were called for icing.
"Allan Stanley beat Beliveau to the faceoff and cleared him out of the way with his body to allow Kelly to relay the puck to Bob Pulford, who fed Army in the clear."