Cinderella Story Ends; ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres Sweep ’78-’79 Atlanta Flames

Goaltender Don Edwards has been steady in net for the Sabres through three rounds.    via goaliesarchive.com

Goaltender Don Edwards has been steady in net for the Sabres through three rounds. via goaliesarchive.com

All good stories must come to an end. The 39th-seeded ’78-’79 Atlanta Flames may have had a bit of an easy draw, but they were certainly this tournament’s Cinderella story. The 23rd-seeded ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres have proven to be a contender in this playoff and they were too much to handle for the Flames. Atlanta put up a fight, though, with two games being decided by one goal and one game being decided by two goals. After losing both Game’s 1 and 2 in close affairs, any hopes of winning the series was dashed by a 10-goal outburst by Buffalo. In the deciding Game 4, the Flames had the game tied in the third, but a late goal from Danny Gare finally doused the Flames’ story.

Forwards Gilbert Perreault and Danny Gare have been a force to reckon with for Buffalo in this tournament. Perreault led the Sabres with six goals and Gare was right behind him with five. Defensemen John Van Boxmeer and Jim Schoenfeld co-led their team in assists with six each. Van Boxmeer remains among the tournament leaders in assists with his total up to 18 through three rounds. Perreault, Gare and Van Boxmeer were the top 3 in points in the series for Buffalo, in that order. The Sabres have had many players with outstanding plus/minuses in this tournament and couple different players co-led the Sabres with a plus/minus of +6 in this series, including the aforementioned Van Boxmeer and winger Craig Ramsay. In net, goaltender Don Edwards was his usual steady self. He hasn’t posted any outrageously good save percentages, just .903 in this series and .905 for the tournament, but has held teams to few goals. He posted a 2.50 goals against average int his series and has a 2.08 goals against average for the tournament through three rounds.

The Flames have counted on great offensive production from both Guy Chouinard and Bob MacMillan. Both are among tournament leaders in points with Chouinard being the goal-scorer and MacMillan being the setup man. However, MacMillan led the Flames in this series with three goals to Chouinard’s two. MacMillan also co-led the Flames in assists at three with winger Darcy Rota. The Flames finished the tournament with four skaters in double digits in points, the aforementioned Chouinard, MacMillan and Rota along with winger Eric Vail who posted one goal and three assists for four points in this seris. Chouinard finished with 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points and MacMillan finished with eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points, both among tournament leaders. Coming into this series the Flames had 15 players above even in plus/minus and without a single player negative in plus/minus. That would not stand after this series. Only defenseman Greg Fox finished this series above even at +2. The Flames finished with only eight played above even and had five players at negative. In net, Dan Bouchard came into this series with a 2.09 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. He would come out of this series with a 2.73 goals against average and a .922 save percentage after posting a 4.50 GAA and a .859 SV% against Buffalo.

Here are this series’ links:

Three Stars of the Series:

  1. BUF – RW – Danny Gare – 5 G   4 A   9 P   +5   32 S   5 Star Points
  2. BUF – C – Gilbert Perreault – 6 G   4 A   10 P   +5   24 S   3 Star Points
  3. BUF – C – Derek Smith – 4 G   2 A   6 P   +6   14 S   3 Star Points

GAME 1:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#39 ‘78-’79 Flames 1 2 0 3
#23 ‘79-’80 Sabres 2 3 0 5

GAME SUMMARY:   BUF – 5   ATLF – 3   (1-0 BUF)

1st Period:

  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (8) assisted by D. Gare (8), R. Martin (4)
  • ATLF Goal: D. Rota (5) assisted by G. Chouinard (9), B. MacMillan (13)
  • BUF Goal: C. Ramsay (3) unassisted

2nd Period:

  • BUF Goal: D. Smith (6) assisted by J. Van Boxmeer (13), R. Seiling (11)
  • ATLF PP-Goal: B. MacMillan (6) assisted by E. Kea (5), D. Rota (6)
  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (9) assisted by J. Van Boxmeer (14), R. Dunn (8)
  • ATLF Goal: B. MacMillan (7) assisted by R. Mulhern (3)
  • BUF Goal: D. Smith (7) assisted by J. Van Boxmeer (15), R. Seiling (12)

3rd Period:

GAME 2:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#39 ‘78-’79 Flames 1 2 1 4
#23 ‘79-’80 Sabres 2 0 3 5

GAME SUMMARY:   BUF – 5   ATLF – 4   (2-0 BUF)

1st Period:

  • BUF Goal: D. Gare (7) assisted by R. Martin (5)
  • BUF PP-Goal: T. McKegney (5) assisted by D. Smith (3)
  • ATLF Goal: B. MacMillan (8) assisted by G. Chouinard (10), D. Rota (7)

2nd Period:

  • ATLF Goal: G. Chouinard (13) assisted by B. MacMillan (14), E. Vail (5)
  • ATLF Goal: G. Fox (1) assisted by T. Lysiak (7), E. Vail (6)

3rd Period:

  • BUF PP-Goal: R. Martin (6) assisted by D. Gare (9), G. Perreault (6)
  • BUF Goal: R. Seiling (5) assisted by D. Smith (4), J. Van Boxmeer (16)
  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (10) assisted by R. Martin (5), J. Schoenfeld (8)
  • ATLF Goal: E. Vail (4) assisted by E. Kea (6), R. Mulhern (4)

GAME 3:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#23 ‘79-’80 Sabres 4 3 3 10
#39 ‘78-’79 Flames 1 0 0 1

GAME SUMMARY:   BUF – 10   ATLF – 1   (3-0 BUF)

1st Period:

  • BUF Goal: D. Smith (8) assisted by J. Schoenfeld (9), L. Playfair (4)
  • BUF Goal: J. Van Boxmeer (5) assisted by D. Gare (10), R. Dunn (9)
  • BUF Goal: D. Gare (8) assisted by J. Van Boxmeer (17), G. Perreault (7)
  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (11) assisted by R. Martin (7), D. Gare (11)
  • ATLF Goal: K. Houston (3) assisted by I. Boldirev (2), D. Shand (4)

2nd Period:

  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (12) unassisted
  • BUF Goal: G. Perreault (13) assisted by J. Schoenfeld (10)
  • BUF Goal: R. Seiling (6) assisted by C. Ramsay (5), J. Schoenfeld (11)

3rd Period

  • BUF PP-Goal: D. Gare (9) assisted by R. Martin (8), G. Perreault (8)
  • BUF Goal: T. McKegney (6) assisted by J. Schoenfeld (12)
  • BUF Goal: T. McKegney (7) assisted by J. Gould (1), J. Van Boxmeer (18)

GAME 4:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#23 ‘79-’80 Sabres 0 2 1 3
#39 ‘78-’79 Flames 1 1 0 2

GAME SUMMARY:   BUF – 3   ATLF – 2   (4-0 BUF)

1st Period:

  • ATLF Goal: G. Chouinard (14) assisted by D. Rota (8), B. MacMillan (9)

2nd Period:

  • ATLF Goal: T. Lysiak (2) assisted by E. Vail (7), E. Kea (7)
  • BUF Goal: D. Gare (10) assisted by R. Martin (9), G. Perreault (9)
  • BUF Goal: D. Smith (9) assisted by R. Seiling (13)

3rd Period:

  • BUF Goal: D. Gare (11) assisted by J. Schoenfeld (13)

The 23rd-seeded ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres now advance to the Quarterfinal where they will face the 18th-seeded ’06-’07 Anaheim Ducks who defeated the 34th-seeded ’10-’11 Nashville Predators in seven games in the 3rd Round.

Up next in the 3rd Round is the most anticipated matchup, the ‘Battle of New York,’ between the 8th-seeded ’78-’79 New York Islanders and the 9th-seeded ’71-’72 New York Rangers.

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