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12-30-2012, 11:00 PM
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cam042686
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Country: Canada
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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

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