Top-Seeded, ’76-’77 Canadiens Withstand Tough Seven Game Series from ’71-’72 Rangers to Advance to Semifinal

Montreal's Guy Lafleur put up a hat trick in their loss in Game 6, but helped provide enough offense for the Canadiens to advance to the Semifinal.    via legendsofhockey.net

Montreal’s Guy Lafleur put up a hat trick in their loss in Game 6, but helped provide enough offense for the Canadiens to advance to the Semifinal. via legendsofhockey.net

The top-seeded ’76-’77 Montreal Canadiens came into this series not having lost yet in this tournament with a record of 8-0. That would not be the case after this series. The 9th-seeded ’71-’72 New York Rangers gave Les Habitants all they could handle. However, the Canadiens did open up a 3-0 series lead after taking Game’s 1, 2 and 3 by scores of 4-2, 3-2 and 4-1, respectively. Then, in a very dramatic Game 4, the Rangers avoided the sweep with a last second goal from Bobby Rousseau to win 6-5. The Rangers continued their momentum from that incredible win to a shutout in Game 5 by a score of 3-0. In Game 6, the Canadiens were down by one late in the third period and got a goal from Guy Lafleur to force an overtime, his third of the game. Rangers legend Jean Ratelle ended the game and forced a Game 7 with his goal in the final minute of the second overtime period. Game 7, unfortunately, would not exactly live up to expectations as the Canadiens won it easily, 4-1, nearly doubling the Rangers in shots.

The Canadiens’ offense was unstoppable in their first two series’, but the Rangers were able to slightly control them a little bit. Lafleur led the Habs in goals in the series with five, including his hat trick in Game 6. Steve Shutt and Murray Wilson were second on the team in goals with three apiece. Defenseman Serge Savard led Montreal in assists with seven in the series, with two assists in both Game’s 1 and 3. Shutt and Jacques Lemaire were second in assists with each registering five. Lafleur also led the Canadiens in points with nine. Right behind him were Savard and Shutt who both posted eight points. Savard was also a team-best +9 and is among tournament leaders in plus/minus now at +28. Goaltender Ken Dryden faced his toughest challenge yet against the Rangers in this series. He posted a solid 2.71 goals against average and a .907 save percentage, but his overall tournament numbers remain among tournament leaders.

The Rangers were carried by their big guns in this series, aka the Goal-A-Game Line. Vic Hadfield led the team in goals with six and his linemates, Ratelle and Rod Gilbert, were second and third, respectively. Hadfield now finishes the tournament leading the Rangers in goals with 15. Gilbert, along with defenseman Brad Park, lead New York in assists in the seven games with eight. Hadfield and Ratelle were tied for second on the team in assists with six. Gilbert’s 20 total assists finishes as the most on the team. Gilbert also lead New York in points on the series with 11 and both Hadfield and Ratelle totaled 10. Those three also finish as the top three for the Rangers in points in the tournament with Hadfield at the top with 33, followed by Gilbert with 30 and Ratelle with 23. In goal, Hall of Famer Ed Giacomin did not have a very good tournament and this series was arguably his “best.” He posted a 3.29 goals against average and a .900 save percentage, including a shutout in Game 5. He now finishes the tournament with a 3.41 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.

Here are this series’ links:

Three Stars of the Series:

  1. NYR – RW – Rod Gilbert – 3 G   8 A   11 P   +1   23 S   6 Star Points
  2. NYR – C – Jean Ratelle – 4 G   6 A   10 P   +2   12 S   6 Star Points
  3. MTL – RW – Guy Lafleur – 5 G   4 A   9 P   +3   15 S   5 Star Points

GAME 1:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 1 1 0 2
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 0 2 2 4

GAME SUMMARY:   MTL – 4   NYR – 2   (1-0 MTL)

1st Period:

  • NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (10) assisted by J. Ratelle (10)

2nd Period:

  • NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (11) assisted by J. Ratelle (11), R. Gilbert (13)
  • MTL Goal: L. Robinson (2) assisted by S. Savard (7), B. Gainey (3)
  • MTL Goal: G. Lafleur (4) assisted by S. Shutt (11), P. Bouchard (4)

3rd Period:

  • MTL Goal: G. Lafleur (5) assisted by L. Robinson (8), S. Shutt (12)
  • MTL Goal: D. Risebrough (5) assisted by Y. Lambert (1), S. Savard (8)

GAME 2:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 1 0 1 2
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 1 0 2 3

GAME SUMMARY:   MTL – 3   NYR – 2   (2-0 MTL)

1st Period:

  • MTL Goal: J. Lemaire (5) assisted by S. Shutt (13)
  • NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (12) assisted by R. Gilbert (14), D. Rolfe (1)

2nd Period:

3rd Period:

  • MTL Goal: M. Wilson (1) assisted by P. Mahovlich (5), S. Savard (9)
  • MTL Goal: L. Robinson (3) assisted by S. Shutt (14)
  • NYR Goal: R. Seiling (5) assisted by V. Hadfield (15), R. Gilbert (15)

GAME 3:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 1 1 2 4
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 1 0 0 1

GAME SUMMARY:   MTL – 4   NYR – 1   (3-0 MTL)

1st Period:

  • MTL Goal: J. Lemaire (6) assisted by G. Lafleur (8), P. Bouchard (5)
  • NYR Goal: B. Fairbairn (4) assisted by B. Park (6), W. Tkaczuk (5)

2nd Period:

  • MTL Goal: P. Mahovlich (1) assisted by M. Wilson (1), S. Savard (10)

3rd Period:

  • MTL Goal: P. Mahovlich (2) assisted by M. Wilson (2), S. Savard (11)
  • MTL PP-Goal: Y. Cournoyer (3) assisted by J. Roberts (2), P. Mahovlich (6)

GAME 4:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 1 2 2 5
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 2 1 3 6

GAME SUMMARY:   NYR – 6   MTL – 5   (3-1 MTL)

1st Period:

  • NYR Goal: R. Gilbert (8) assisted by V. Hadfield (16), D. Rolfe (2)
  • NYR Goal: B. Park (6) assisted by J. Ratelle (12)
  • MTL Goal: S. Shutt (8) assisted by G. Lafleur (9), J. Lemaire (8)

2nd Period:

  • MTL Goal: S. Savard (6) assisted by G. Lafleur (10), J. Lemaire (9)
  • MTL Goal: B. Gainey (1) assisted by D. Jarvis (2), S. Savard (12)
  • NYR Goal: R. Gilbert (9) assisted by J. Ratelle (13), B. Park (7)

3rd Period:

  • 0:40 MTL Goal: S. Shutt (9) assisted by P. Bouchard (6), G. Lafleur (11)
  • 3:06 NYR Goal: J. Ratelle (5) assisted by R. Gilbert (16), V. Hadfield (17)
  • 9:39 NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (13) assisted by B. Park (8), J. Ratelle (14)
  • 16:20 MTL Goal: M. Wilson (2) assisted by P. Bouchard (7), P. Mahovlich (7)
  • 19:59 NYR Goal: B. Rousseau (3) assisted by B. Park (9), T. Irvine (2)

GAME 5:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 1 1 1 3
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 0 0 0 0

GAME SUMMARY:   NYR – 3   MTL – 0   (3-2 MTL)

1st Period:

  • NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (14) assisted by B. Park (10), J. Ratelle (15)

2nd Period:

  • NYR Goal: P. Stemkowski (2) assisted by R. Gilbert (17), B. Park (11)

3rd Period:

  • NYR Goal: J. Ratelle (6) assisted by R. Gilbert (18)

GAME 6:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 1 0 2 0 3
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 1 1 1 1 4

GAME SUMMARY:   NYR – 4   MTL – 3 (2OT)   (3-3 tie)

1st Period:

  • NYR PP-Goal: J. Ratelle (7) assisted by R. Gilbert (19), J. Neilson (7)
  • MTL Goal: G. Lafleur (6) assisted by S. Shutt (15)

2nd Period:

  • NYR Goal: R. Gilbert (10) assisted by D. Rolfe (3)

3rd Period:

  • 0:27 MTL Goal: G. Lafleur (7) assisted by J. Lemaire (10)
  • 14:33 NYR Goal: V. Hadfield (15) assisted by R. Gilbert (20), B. Park (12)
  • 15:42 MTL Goal: G. Lafleur (8) assisted by L. Robinson (9), J. Lemaire (11)

2nd Overtime:

  • 19:09 NYR Goal: J. Ratelle (8) assisted by V. Hadfield (18)

GAME 7:

1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Total
#9 ‘71-’72 Rangers 0 1 0 1
#1 ‘76-’77 Canadiens 1 1 2 4

GAME SUMMARY:   MTL – 4   NYR – 1   (4-3 MTL)

1st Period:

  • MTL Goal: M. Wilson (3) assisted by L. Robinson (10), P. Mahovlich (8)

2nd Period:

  • MTL Goal: P. Bouchard (1) assisted by Y. Cournoyer (3), P. Mahovlich (9)
  • NYR Goal: D. Balon (4) assisted by B. Park (13)

3rd Period:

  • MTL Goal: S. Shutt (10) assisted by J. Lemaire (12)
  • MTL Goal: D. Risebrough (6) assisted by M. Tremblay (4), S. Savard (13)

The top seed moves on and now the ’76-’77 Montreal Canadiens will face the 4th-seeded ’73-’74 Boston Bruins in the Semifinal…..Glorious, is it not?

So, this wraps up the Quarterfinals! The Semifinals will begin next week and I believe I will change it up a bit and post a status update for each individual game from here on out. However, in the next few days, I will post the usual round recap/stat leaders posts.

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