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cam042686 12-30-2012 11:00 PM

Minnesota vs Montreal 1971 Playoffs
 
History was made in April 1971 when the Minnesota North Stars took on the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Up to this point no expansion team had won a playoff game against an "established team." St. Louis had been swept 3 times in the Stanley Cup finals and in the 1971 quarter-finals Chicago
plastered Philadelphia in a lop-sided 4 game sweep.

After Montreal had stunned the powerful Boston Bruins in the 1st round, most predicted an easy time with Minnesota who had battled past St. Louis in 6 games. The Canadiens opened up at the Forum with a convincing 7-2 victory over the North Stars hammering goalie Gump Worsley in the process. But in game 2 history was made. North Star goalie Cesare Maniago "stood on his head" and young star forward Danny Grant (who had opened the scoring in game 1) came up with 3 assists leading Minnesota to a 6-3 win over Montreal. This marked the first ever playoff win by an expansion team over an established team. Montreal won game 3 by the same 6-3 margin. With Maniago back in net (Worsley played game 3)
Minnesota replied with a convincing 5-2 win in game 4 tying the series. Montreal players such as Henri Richard and Jean Believau stated the North Stars were giving them a tougher and more frightening series then did the Bruins! They were also raving about the goaltending of Maniago who was playing fantastic and
driving them nuts.

Anyway Montreal put them away with scores of 6-1 in game 5, and 3-2 in game 6. Game 6 was a brilliant end to end affair with Ken Dryden and Cesare Maniago playing brilliantly. North Star Ted Hampson scored just as time ended. His tying goal was disallowed and the series was over.

I have not heard much said about this series, however, from a historical point of view isn't that a bit "unfair?" In a sense one could say that in this series the new expansion teams arrived. No longer would an established team look at a playoff series with an expansion squad as a "sure thing."

Or am I out to lunch here?

Craig Wallace

Canadiens1958 12-30-2012 11:53 PM

Expansion Teams
 
By the time Minnesota won game 2 the expansion teams were 0 - 17 in the playoffs against the established teams.

Furthermore, Minnesota had seven players who had come thru the Montreal system - Gump Worsley(4), Cesare Maniago, Ted Harris(4), Gord Labossiere, Danny Grant(1), Judes Drouin, Bobby Rousseau(4) contributing to 13 Stanley Cups. With other forwards who could skate with the Canadiens better than the other expansion teams.

During the season the North Stars had a 1W-3L-2T record against the Canadiens, so the results were not surprising.

Crosbyfan 12-31-2012 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam042686 (Post 56947085)
History was made in April 1971 when the Minnesota North Stars took on the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Up to this point no expansion team had won a playoff game against an "established team." St. Louis had been swept 3 times in the Stanley Cup finals and in the 1971 quarter-finals Chicago
plastered Philadelphia in a lop-sided 4 game sweep.

After Montreal had stunned the powerful Boston Bruins in the 1st round, most predicted an easy time with Minnesota who had battled past St. Louis in 6 games. The Canadiens opened up at the Forum with a convincing 7-2 victory over the North Stars hammering goalie Gump Worsley in the process. But in game 2 history was made. North Star goalie Cesare Maniago "stood on his head" and young star forward Danny Grant (who had opened the scoring in game 1) came up with 3 assists leading Minnesota to a 6-3 win over Montreal. This marked the first ever playoff win by an expansion team over an established team. Montreal won game 3 by the same 6-3 margin. With Maniago back in net (Worsley played game 3)
Minnesota replied with a convincing 5-2 win in game 4 tying the series. Montreal players such as Henri Richard and Jean Believau stated the North Stars were giving them a tougher and more frightening series then did the Bruins! They were also raving about the goaltending of Maniago who was playing fantastic and
driving them nuts.

Anyway Montreal put them away with scores of 6-1 in game 5, and 3-2 in game 6. Game 6 was a brilliant end to end affair with Ken Dryden and Cesare Maniago playing brilliantly. North Star Ted Hampson scored just as time ended. His tying goal was disallowed and the series was over.

I have not heard much said about this series, however, from a historical point of view isn't that a bit "unfair?" In a sense one could say that in this series the new expansion teams arrived. No longer would an established team look at a playoff series with an expansion squad as a "sure thing."

Or am I out to lunch here?

Craig Wallace

I agree. I took this series for granted and was merely "annoyed" after the result of game 2, seeing Montreal losing a game for the first time ever against an Expansion Team It certainly became a concern (as a Habs fan) after the North Stars tied the series for a second time, making it a best 2 of 3.

The closest an Expansion Team had come to winning a game against an O6 Team before was the final game of the Bruins/St.Louis series the year before, that Bobby Orr ended in OT prior to being launched into the air for the famous picture...whenever I see it remind myself that it, all of Orr's flight, happened in the "offseason", where I think many seem to think he scored while in mid air.

cam042686 01-01-2013 02:04 PM

[QUOTE=Crosbyfan;56969551]I agree. I took this series for granted and was merely "annoyed" after the result of game 2, seeing Montreal losing a game for the first time ever against an Expansion Team It certainly became a concern (as a Habs fan) after the North Stars tied the series for a second time, making it a best 2 of 3.

What was the mood of the Montreal media during this series? Were the Canadiens getting "heat" or did the North Stars get credit for playing simply super hockey?

Craig Wallace

Crosbyfan 01-01-2013 03:49 PM

[QUOTE=cam042686;56986589]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crosbyfan (Post 56969551)
I agree. I took this series for granted and was merely "annoyed" after the result of game 2, seeing Montreal losing a game for the first time ever against an Expansion Team It certainly became a concern (as a Habs fan) after the North Stars tied the series for a second time, making it a best 2 of 3.

What was the mood of the Montreal media during this series? Were the Canadiens getting "heat" or did the North Stars get credit for playing simply super hockey?

Craig Wallace

I have no recollection of the Montreal Media at the time. My recollection, somewhat vague, is the CBC (english HNIC) more giving credit to the underdog North Stars than dumping on the Habs.

I know Minnesota and Moniago were a particular favourite of mine at the time...though not when playing the Canadiens! I only had seen Moniago play a few games previously but remember one game in particular where he really stood out. He seemed to have had a fairly acrobatic style for a tall goalie though that may only have been my impression.

Canadiens1958 01-01-2013 04:43 PM

Montreal Media
 
Montreal media recognized that the Canadiens were an iffy team, #1 defenseman - Serge Savard,was hurt and out for the season, coaching was transient - team rallied around the veterans Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard. Veteran core was very solid but the rookies were question marks - Dryden had not dominated in the AHL with the Voyageurs, Houle and Tardiff were promising but unproven, Roberto was a surprise.

Even during the Boston series, the level of team play was not consistent. This continued throughout the playoffs.

Overall media view post Bruins series was enjoy the ride and see where it goes.

Killion 01-01-2013 04:58 PM

Ya, I remember Maniago as being fairly acrobatic as well despite being fairly tall. He was Toronto "property", came up through St.Mikes in the late 50's but couldnt crack the Leafs full-time as Bower pretty much had a lock on the starting role. Grabbed by the Habs in 61 or 62, but as luck would have it, Jacques Plante stood in his way. Winds up in New York by 65-66, Ed Giacomin ascendant. Finally gets going in Minnesota, where he played for 9 seasons, Worsley coaxed out of retirement in 70 to back him up for a few years. Wound down his career in Vancouver late 70's, Goalie Coach with the Canucks for a few years, sporting goods business. Originally from Trail BC.

Canadiens1958 01-01-2013 05:29 PM

Cesare Maniago
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 56991139)
Ya, I remember Maniago as being fairly acrobatic as well despite being fairly tall. He was Toronto "property", came up through St.Mikes in the late 50's but couldnt crack the Leafs full-time as Bower pretty much had a lock on the starting role. Grabbed by the Habs in 61 or 62, but as luck would have it, Jacques Plante stood in his way. Winds up in New York by 65-66, Ed Giacomin ascendant. Finally gets going in Minnesota, where he played for 9 seasons, Worsley coaxed out of retirement in 70 to back him up for a few years. Wound down his career in Vancouver late 70's, Goalie Coach with the Canucks for a few years, sporting goods business. Originally from Trail BC.

Canadiens claimed Cesare Maniago, in the 1961 Inter-League draft. Domino effect of the Leafs keeping Simmons who was acquired for Ed Chadwick early in 1961.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...maniace01.html

Two obstacles with the Canadiens and later with the Rangers.

As a tall goalie who was somewhat acrobatic he played small. Puckhandling was average at best.

Killion 01-01-2013 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 (Post 56991797)
As a tall goalie who was somewhat acrobatic he played small. Puckhandling was average at best.

Ya I do remember that about him earlier in his career, played deep in the crease, not quite as aggressive as youd like your goaltender to be. Had a better than average glove hand, quick feet, and after being claimed by Minnesota in the Expansion Draft of 67 changed his game up somewhat to become more of a stand-up, played out a bit more than he had in the past, adapted.

vikash1987 01-02-2013 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam042686 (Post 56947085)
I have not heard much said about this series, however, from a historical point of view isn't that a bit "unfair?" In a sense one could say that in this series the new expansion teams arrived. No longer would an established team look at a playoff series with an expansion squad as a "sure thing."

Or am I out to lunch here?

I agree. The '71 MTL-MIN series is a hidden gem and deserves more historical weight. I'd be curious whether newspapers at the time played up the "first playoff victory by an expansion club" storyline. It certainly was a major hill to climb, though perhaps there was a certain sense of inevitability in people's minds.

Highlights from Game 6 of this series can be found on YouTube (low volume, but beautiful color quality). The potential tying goal at the end sure was close! To the extent that additional footage exists, it sure would be great to find it.

SealsFan 01-02-2013 09:58 PM

As someone who always rooted for the underdogs (surprise, surprise), this was an exciting series. Unfortunately I could only follow it through boxscores and in the Hockey News (although it's possible one of the games may have been broadcast on Game of the Week in NY, memory is way too hazy). But it was very exciting to see those victories and I always liked the roster of that Minnesota team, so many great names.

mbhhofr 01-02-2013 10:12 PM

I had North Stars season tickets and saw the three Minnesota home games. The 6th game was outstanding. Bill Friday was the referee and after the game, when I went down to the official's room, the first thing I said to him was, "Great game."


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