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1979 SC Finals

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04-14-2013, 12:25 AM
  #1
LeBlondeDemon10
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1979 SC Finals

Just watching a little bit of game 5 of the finals between Montreal and the Rangers. It goes without saying that the Rangers were in way over their heads against this Habs team. However, in watching this Habs team its appears to me that they played just good enough to win. They looked tired. Dryden was very shaky. Shutt was not scoring. They were missing Lapointe from a knee injury against Boston in the semis. Lafleur seemed to be in a bit of a scoring funk. In game 5, he seems content to take 60 foot slapshots on Davidson rather than try to make a move to beat a defenseman. He seemed to lack the drive to go to the net. Perhaps he was playing hurt. This was no doubt the weakest Habs team of the 4 cup run. I think they were lucky to run into a weaker team like the Rangers than have to face the Islanders or Boston in the final.

Speculating now. Had the Islanders not choked against the Rangers, does anyone else think that they could have defeated this Habs team that appeared to be out of gas? Is it possible that the Islanders start a string of 5 straight cups by defeating the Habs in 79 had they beat the Rangers?

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04-14-2013, 07:24 AM
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vadnais1972
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The Islanders definitely would have given them a run for their money. But I still donít think they would have taken the Canadiens. I would say that the series would have gone to six or seven games instead of five. The Habs just finished their first seven game series since 1971 and it was a very physical series. Boston really took a lot of steam out of them. Thatís why the Rangers won game one. But as worn and tired as they were, they still won the next four. It still amazes me that the Isles didnít advance further in 1978 and 1979.

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04-14-2013, 07:28 AM
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Mats86
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Originally Posted by vadnais1972 View Post
The Islanders definitely would have given them a run for their money. But I still donít think they would have taken the Canadiens. I would say that the series would have gone to six or seven games instead of five. The Habs just finished their first seven game series since 1971 and it was a very physical series. Boston really took a lot of steam out of them. Thatís why the Rangers won game one. But as worn and tired as they were, they still won the next four. It still amazes me that the Isles didnít advance further in 1978 and 1979.
Isles were young those years. Takes awhile to mature ie. Oilers 1982 or 1983.

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04-14-2013, 09:59 AM
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I'd like to think the Habs would have been more prepared to play the Isles than the Rangers. You get the feeling that the Habs themselves were a little jaded with winning and that combined with all of them getting older and the fact that this was the easiest Cup finalist they faced in those 4 years and I can believe that they looked a little tired. They played more hockey than anyone else in those 4 years. It takes a lot out of you.

Funny story, Dryden got shelled in Game #1 and they were going to put Laroque in for Game #2 until he got injured in warm up. Phil Esposito claims that had Laroque played in that game the Rangers would have won the series. But I doubt it either way. These were the 1979 Habs who knew how to win and won the next 4 anyway. I will say this though, this was the first time in the 4 year stretch that the Habs were actually behind in a series.

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04-14-2013, 10:12 AM
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It's doubtful the NYI would have fared much better, the addition of Goring and Morrow really helped solidify that team down the stretch for the 80 SC run.

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04-14-2013, 12:23 PM
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Mats86
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It's doubtful the NYI would have fared much better, the addition of Goring and Morrow really helped solidify that team down the stretch for the 80 SC run.
Good point! They were a better team with Goring trade.

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04-14-2013, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Just watching a little bit of game 5 of the finals between Montreal and the Rangers. It goes without saying that the Rangers were in way over their heads against this Habs team. However, in watching this Habs team its appears to me that they played just good enough to win. They looked tired. Dryden was very shaky. Shutt was not scoring. They were missing Lapointe from a knee injury against Boston in the semis. Lafleur seemed to be in a bit of a scoring funk. In game 5, he seems content to take 60 foot slapshots on Davidson rather than try to make a move to beat a defenseman. He seemed to lack the drive to go to the net. Perhaps he was playing hurt. This was no doubt the weakest Habs team of the 4 cup run. I think they were lucky to run into a weaker team like the Rangers than have to face the Islanders or Boston in the final.

Speculating now. Had the Islanders not choked against the Rangers, does anyone else think that they could have defeated this Habs team that appeared to be out of gas? Is it possible that the Islanders start a string of 5 straight cups by defeating the Habs in 79 had they beat the Rangers?
If you read Dryden's book, they knew that the Islanders would be at the top of the league eventually, and the feeling around the habs that year was that this was it for them. Bowman planned on leaving and Dryden planned on retiring, and Cournoyer was done. So I think they took all they had left to make sure that they won .

As far as who they played I still think hey beat the isles, just like the isles beat the oilers in 83

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04-14-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadnais1972 View Post
The Islanders definitely would have given them a run for their money. But I still don’t think they would have taken the Canadiens. I would say that the series would have gone to six or seven games instead of five. The Habs just finished their first seven game series since 1971 and it was a very physical series. Boston really took a lot of steam out of them. That’s why the Rangers won game one. But as worn and tired as they were, they still won the next four. It still amazes me that the Isles didn’t advance further in 1978 and 1979.
I think the Isles might have done it as they had more overall talent than the Bruins. The problems with the Isles were Resch and lack of a second line center. I never could understand choosing Resch over Smith for a couple of years because Smith struggled in the famous Islander comeback series versus Pittsburgh. Edit I read Dryden's book and it was the last roundup for the Habs, and they knew it and I think that hurts a team more than it helps it.

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04-15-2013, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Just watching a little bit of game 5 of the finals between Montreal and the Rangers. It goes without saying that the Rangers were in way over their heads against this Habs team. However, in watching this Habs team its appears to me that they played just good enough to win. They looked tired. Dryden was very shaky. Shutt was not scoring. They were missing Lapointe from a knee injury against Boston in the semis. Lafleur seemed to be in a bit of a scoring funk. In game 5, he seems content to take 60 foot slapshots on Davidson rather than try to make a move to beat a defenseman. He seemed to lack the drive to go to the net. Perhaps he was playing hurt. This was no doubt the weakest Habs team of the 4 cup run. I think they were lucky to run into a weaker team like the Rangers than have to face the Islanders or Boston in the final.

Speculating now. Had the Islanders not choked against the Rangers, does anyone else think that they could have defeated this Habs team that appeared to be out of gas? Is it possible that the Islanders start a string of 5 straight cups by defeating the Habs in 79 had they beat the Rangers?
Had to go back and rewatch this because your summary of game 5 is not at all how I remembered it. No offense but I'm not sure what game you were watching. Pretty classic Bowman-coached Habs game from the late 70s. Get a lead on the other team, then forecheck them into the ice. They're clearly the faster team. Actually gm. 5 is very similar to the Cup clinching game 6 from the previous year against Boston. The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in that one and then were just outskated the rest of the way and their offense was completely choked off. Anyway in this one Dick Irvin at one point in early in the 3rd with the Habs up 4-1 says "the Rangers have only had 4 shots in the last 31 minutes and twelve seconds." Again pretty typical dominant defensive performance for the Habs in the late 70s.

As for Lafleur I think he's very good in this game. The first ten minutes of the game he sets up four excellent scoring chances, it's just Lemaire and Shutt aren't able to cash in. John Davidson is outstanding in the first period and keeps the game from being 3-0 early. Early in the second, on the PP, Lafleur sets up Lambert for a glorious chance at the side of the net, but JD makes another huge save. Lafleur does take a 60 foot slapshot at Davidson in the first period, and he also just about scores on it with Davidson just getting a piece of the shot. But since Davidson gives up a shot to Lemaire from outside the blueline, blasting from long range may have been a strategy for the Habs on JD. Or it may have just been Lafleur and Lemaire taking slapshots from outside, since they were both (along w/ Shutt) known to do that. Lafleur also makes a great steal deep in his own end in the 2nd that leads to a 3-on-1 that is negated by Langway taking a bonehead penalty behind the play. I'm not sure what you were seeing in Lafleur to make you think he had a bad game. He's not as transcendent as he is in the game 7 semi against Boston, but then he doesn't need to be.

I would agree that Shutt is pretty invisible in this one and that they clearly miss Lapointe. Lapointe's injury means a lot more of Chartraw and far too much of Gilles Lupien, who was just about the worst player on that Habs team. But that's just nitpicking. Lafleur, Lemaire, Gainey, Robinson and even Houle all have really outstanding games. Altogether an efficient, dominating performance in game 5 against an overmatched Rangers squad.

Would the Islanders have been tougher series? Sure, but they didn't make the cut. If Lafleur doesn't get hurt in the 1st round the following year do the Habs make it 5 straight, even w/out Lemaire and Dryden? That's all just speculation.

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04-15-2013, 02:51 AM
  #10
Mats86
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If you read Dryden's book, they knew that the Islanders would be at the top of the league eventually, and the feeling around the habs that year was that this was it for them. Bowman planned on leaving and Dryden planned on retiring, and Cournoyer was done. So I think they took all they had left to make sure that they won .

As far as who they played I still think hey beat the isles, just like the isles beat the oilers in 83
I disagree with Dryden book....Pollock left Montreal with first overall pick in '80 draft and 3 first round picks in '81 draft. Along with Robinson, Gainey, Shutt, Lafleur, Langway, Risebrough, Jarvis all still in their 20s. With a farm system which had Naslund, Nilan, Carbonneau, Acton, the Habs should have been in decent shape. The problem was Irving Grundman was a terrible GM who wasted the picks and made bad trades.

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