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Jacques Plante In Toronto

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Old
03-09-2017, 06:46 PM
  #1
crobro
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Jacques Plante In Toronto

He was well into his 40's and arguably playing his best hockey ever.

Does anyone remember his stint with the leafs?

Was it similar to Belfours outstanding two seasons?

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03-09-2017, 08:36 PM
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Big Phil
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Plante was actually a 2nd team all-star in 1971. Ed Giacomin was the 1st team all-star but this is an NHL with Tony Esposito and Cheevers and Vachon and such. Not bad for a 41 year old. Plus he had a 1.88 GAA, unreal. That 1971 Leafs team was literally nothing special at all. Plante was also a good mentor for Bernie Parent who the Leafs typically got rid of eventually.

Yeah, comparing Plante to Belfour in those late Leaf years is probably accurate. Both had a nice kick at the can at the end.

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03-09-2017, 09:48 PM
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He was well into his 40's and arguably playing his best hockey ever.

Does anyone remember his stint with the leafs?

Was it similar to Belfours outstanding two seasons?
There is absolutely zero argument that Jacques Plante was playing his best hockey during his time with the Maple Leafs.

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03-09-2017, 11:17 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
There is absolutely zero argument that Jacques Plante was playing his best hockey during his time with the Maple Leafs.
It might not be as absurd as it sounds. Save percentage wasn't officially tracked back then, but thanks to after the fact research, Plante's has been calculated as an astonishing .944 in 1970-71, in addition to the 1.88 GAA. The Leafs were about 1.5 goals against per game better in Plante's 40 GP than in the 38 GP by other goaltenders that year. Plante's post-Montreal career tends to get overlooked, but he really did have some excellent stretches of play in St. Louis and Toronto.

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03-10-2017, 10:43 PM
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It might not be as absurd as it sounds. Save percentage wasn't officially tracked back then, but thanks to after the fact research, Plante's has been calculated as an astonishing .944 in 1970-71, in addition to the 1.88 GAA. The Leafs were about 1.5 goals against per game better in Plante's 40 GP than in the 38 GP by other goaltenders that year. Plante's post-Montreal career tends to get overlooked, but he really did have some excellent stretches of play in St. Louis and Toronto.
It is ridiculous to suggest that his play that year was even close to the work he was doing in Montreal in a DRAMATICALLY better six team league.

You can't possibly be serious with this.

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03-10-2017, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
It is ridiculous to suggest that his play that year was even close to the work he was doing in Montreal in a DRAMATICALLY better six team league.

You can't possibly be serious with this.
... perhaps a tad hyperbolic, yes.... I remember it well.... Plante by that time the Master of the Stand-Up, absolutely had it nailed. Conservation of energy in knowing his angles inside out with excellent communication between himself & the Leafs defenders. He made the difficult look easy, like a stroll in the park, cool as a cucumber. Very erudite, sophisticated, quiet in his movements. His just "being" back there gave the club in front of him a considerable amount of greater confidence & you had Keon up front managing the troops, demanding two way play from all of the forwards, not so much verbally, more by example, nasty look if you missed your assignment... The work he did with Parent was truly transformative. Plante had been Bernies childhood hero, and while a decent enough goalie his game had major holes in it. Went down too much, too early; reflex goalie & would tire. Under Plantes guidance, becoming for several years after returning to Philly arguably the best in the league at that time.... But ya, Plante was a real treat to watch, real rock back there. His game, style had evolved since his Montreal years of course. Then more a reflex goalie, he'd come out & challenge shooters but not to the extent that he did in his later years in St. Louis, Toronto, briefly with Boston followed by a retirement, comeback in the WHA.

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03-11-2017, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
It is ridiculous to suggest that his play that year was even close to the work he was doing in Montreal in a DRAMATICALLY better six team league.

You can't possibly be serious with this.
Let me ask you, did you actually witness Plante in either his Montreal days or his later Toronto days? Because unless you did and can confirm visually that the stats just totally betray reality in this instance, I'd like to know why this notion is so absurd. Plante had the best GAA, save percentage, and was voted 2nd team All-Star despite playing only 40 games. It's not outlandish that for a 40-game stretch in the early 70's he played at a level similar to his Montreal days. The league may have been more watered down in 1971, but keep in mind late 50's Plante had the advantage of playing for the greatest team ever. 1971 Plante was on a thoroughly average club.

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03-11-2017, 07:45 AM
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Let me ask you, did you actually witness Plante in either his Montreal days or his later Toronto days? Because unless you did and can confirm visually that the stats just totally betray reality in this instance, I'd like to know why this notion is so absurd. Plante had the best GAA, save percentage, and was voted 2nd team All-Star despite playing only 40 games. It's not outlandish that for a 40-game stretch in the early 70's he played at a level similar to his Montreal days. The league may have been more watered down in 1971, but keep in mind late 50's Plante had the advantage of playing for the greatest team ever. 1971 Plante was on a thoroughly average club.
Honestly, if you can't figure out that contextual difference of playing well over a 40 game stretch in a watered-down league that had added eight teams over the previous four seasons, I really don't know what to tell you. There's no point continuing this conversation.

Plante in 50's and 60's was an All-Timer and he was a huge reason *why* those's 50's teams were among the greatest teams ever, he was not a passenger along for the ride. This whole discussion is ridiculous. He had a good half-season with Toronto, unquestionably, but it was nothing compared to the peak years in a much much much better six team league.

In '70-'71 the league went to a balanced schedule meaning every team played each other six times.

That means six games against brand new teams in Vancouver and Buffalo, who managed just 24 wins in the 78 game schedule. Six more games versus the California Golden Seals, who put up just 20 wins and couldn't even score 200 goals while surrendering 320. Six more games were played against the lowly Pittsburgh Penguins winners of 21 games out of their 78 and you also got to face the Los Angeles Kings who only won 25 games.

This doesn't even mention the Detroit Red Wings, who were awful that year going 22-45-11.

That is six teams that were a total joke. Six teams where the best team among them had a 25-40-13 record. That's the best of the group. That is 36 games out of the season against competition that CLEARLY wasn't NHL calibre.

The league was a bit of a joke this year because of the rapid expansion. To compare anything from this season to the six-team league of the late 50's and early 60's is, with all due respect, absolutely ridiculous.

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03-11-2017, 09:10 AM
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Let's put this to bed. Plante had a nice resurgence at the end of his career. Heck, he added a bit to his career value from his years in St. Louis and then Toronto. No question about it. He was actually 5th in Hart voting in 1971. But I think his peak and best hockey of his life was definitely his dynasty-era years in Montreal. He was younger, played more games, and let's keep in mind that Plante took three years off after 1965, seemingly retiring for good. That's a lot of time to get fresh again. Call it for what it is, it was a very good late career boost where he played a string of fine hockey.

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03-11-2017, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
In '70-'71 the league went to a balanced schedule meaning every team played each other six times.
He had a .932 against Original Six teams and a .947 against expansion teams. His schedule was certainly expansion-heavy, but I don't know that he didn't perform incredibly well regardless.

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03-11-2017, 10:43 AM
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He had a .932 against Original Six teams and a .947 against expansion teams. His schedule was certainly expansion-heavy, but I don't know that he didn't perform incredibly well regardless.
Nobody suggested he didn't perform well, so I don't quite follow what you are disputing here.

What I took exception to was the idea that his 1970-71 season - which was essentially against half NHL teams and half AHL teams - was somehow better than his peak years with the Montreal Canadiens.

I think that idea is absolutely laughable.

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03-11-2017, 10:58 AM
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... perhaps a tad hyperbolic, yes.... I remember it well.... Plante by that time the Master of the Stand-Up, absolutely had it nailed. Conservation of energy in knowing his angles inside out with excellent communication between himself & the Leafs defenders. He made the difficult look easy, like a stroll in the park, cool as a cucumber. Very erudite, sophisticated, quiet in his movements. His just "being" back there gave the club in front of him a considerable amount of greater confidence & you had Keon up front managing the troops, demanding two way play from all of the forwards, not so much verbally, more by example, nasty look if you missed your assignment... The work he did with Parent was truly transformative. Plante had been Bernies childhood hero, and while a decent enough goalie his game had major holes in it. Went down too much, too early; reflex goalie & would tire. Under Plantes guidance, becoming for several years after returning to Philly arguably the best in the league at that time.... But ya, Plante was a real treat to watch, real rock back there. His game, style had evolved since his Montreal years of course. Then more a reflex goalie, he'd come out & challenge shooters but not to the extent that he did in his later years in St. Louis, Toronto, briefly with Boston followed by a retirement, comeback in the WHA.
i cannot tell you how thrilling it was as a 14 year old to see the great Jacques Plante as a WHA Oiler at 45 years old live and in person! his numbers were surprisingly decent for an Oiler team that was hardly great. the Oilers played 3 goalies that year and Plante outplayed them. what a great way to celebrate the then-new Northlands Coliseum!

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03-11-2017, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
Nobody suggested he didn't perform well, so I don't quite follow what you are disputing here.

What I took exception to was the idea that his 1970-71 season - which was essentially against half NHL teams and half AHL teams - was somehow better than his peak years with the Montreal Canadiens.

I think that idea is absolutely laughable.
Maybe it's absolutely laughable.

If it *is* absolutely laughable, then you should be able to make a compelling case pretty easily.

Telling people that it's "absolutely laughable" and not worth arguing about? That's not compelling. (Especially on a discussion board, where the point is to have discussions about things).

You're certainly not looking for validation from me in particular, but I'm telling you that if your goal is to make a case, then it's not yet being made.

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03-11-2017, 12:22 PM
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One question I'd like to see addressed - how much help did the Canadiens give Plante, as opposed to the amount of help he got from the Maple Leafs?

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03-11-2017, 12:36 PM
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I don't know about Plante, but Hasek in 05/06 on Ottawa was still absolutely outstanding. He was hardly diminished from his peak Buffalo years at 42 years old. 2nd in save percentage at .925. Which likely is comparable to his .930's in Buffalo as Ottawa was a huge run and gun team that year, and allowed a limited number of shots but gave up many odd man breaks or breakaways that season. They might only get 26 shots against but so many were huge scoring chances because the Sens were all out aggressive.

Watching Hasek play in his 40's and be pretty much as elite as he was at his peak makes me think Plante could well have been pretty much as good as he was in Montreal in 1971.

We are talking the elite of elite goalies all-time and it is not beyond belief that they could have played some of their best hockey after 40.

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03-11-2017, 12:37 PM
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i cannot tell you how thrilling it was as a 14 year old to see the great Jacques Plante as a WHA Oiler at 45 years old live and in person! his numbers were surprisingly decent for an Oiler team that was hardly great. the Oilers played 3 goalies that year and Plante outplayed them. what a great way to celebrate the then-new Northlands Coliseum!
Yeah I can well imagine, head & shoulders better than Norris, Ian Wilkie, Ken Brown huh? ... Legendary player. Silver Haired Fox like Harry Howell, Henri Richard, Ed Giacomin et al... He'd reinvented himself in how he played the game about 5X's over his long (1947/75) & distinguished career. Very interesting guy who while in Toronto did work with a lot of younger goalies myself included. Tremendously helpful in so many ways, from game preparation, the mental aspects of play through to execution, from crouch to how to read a rink in telegraphing angles, reading a players intentions in how their cradling & carrying the puck on their stick, importance of hugging the posts when the plays behind the net or in the corners, just on & on.... I think it was around 87 or 88, somewhere around there after he'd died that his widow sent the HHOF a big huge old steamer trunk full of some of his old equipment, skates, gloves, pads etc. I just happened to be there on business that day & knowing that I'd known him, an old goalie myself, invited me to help open & go through it. Brought back a lot of memories, rather teary eyed, melancholic trip down memory lane. Had quite the life, rather sad that he died relatively young at just 57.

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03-11-2017, 02:28 PM
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Let's put this to bed. Plante had a nice resurgence at the end of his career. Heck, he added a bit to his career value from his years in St. Louis and then Toronto. No question about it. He was actually 5th in Hart voting in 1971. But I think his peak and best hockey of his life was definitely his dynasty-era years in Montreal. He was younger, played more games, and let's keep in mind that Plante took three years off after 1965, seemingly retiring for good. That's a lot of time to get fresh again. Call it for what it is, it was a very good late career boost where he played a string of fine hockey.
Jacques Plante was asthmatic. Well known in the hockey world. Reduced playing schedule combined with improved medical knowledge and condition management extended his career.

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03-11-2017, 03:12 PM
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One question I'd like to see addressed - how much help did the Canadiens give Plante, as opposed to the amount of help he got from the Maple Leafs?
We know that in 1962 he wins the Hart. Granted, this was a different Habs team by then. Harvey is gone, Beliveau is injured half of the year, Moore and Geoffrion are on the decline and the top Habs scorer was Ralph Backstrom with 65 points. So it is fair to say these aren't quite the 1950s Habs anymore, not as far as peak value goes. Yet they finished 1st overall in the NHL, they finished 1st in goals, they finished 1st in goals against and at the end of the day throughout the league the writers decided to give Plante the Hart. They finished 1st overall in all of those categories by a decent margin, so I would say Plante was more the driving force than anybody else because of that.

It is most likely that he just couldn't stand out for Hart consideration on a team with the Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, Geoffrion, Moore, etc. But I think he was always valuable to those teams. Plus in 1962 he played in every minute of every game. I think only Eddie Johnston did that in 1964 and no one since.

In 1971 with Toronto he didn't have the luxury of having any elite defensemen in front of him but it was a decent core of stay at home types. Up front Ullman had 85 points, Keon 76, Henderson 60 and Ellis 53. No one needs to be told that Keon and Ellis were good defensively. Granted, while Plante only played 40 games, the rest of the goalies (Parent, Gamble) had a much worse won/loss record and GAA. I'd like to know which teams each were playing against but I suspect they wouldn't have given Plante the easy ones all the time. So yeah, I think it was quite a good year but despite his successful years which were all pretty similar from 1968-'71 his numbers declined after 1971 right away and he wasn't playing in full seasons like he was before. In 1962 he played all 70 games. In 1971 he played in 40 of the 78 games. So it is hard to say he played better than when he was a Hab. Even in the years of 1955-'60 he was playing pretty much every game. Hard to take a 40 game year and say it was better.

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03-11-2017, 07:33 PM
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Maybe it's absolutely laughable.

If it *is* absolutely laughable, then you should be able to make a compelling case pretty easily.

Telling people that it's "absolutely laughable" and not worth arguing about? That's not compelling. (Especially on a discussion board, where the point is to have discussions about things).

You're certainly not looking for validation from me in particular, but I'm telling you that if your goal is to make a case, then it's not yet being made.
If you don't think the six teams in a 14 team league being as pathetic as the aforementioned teams were in 1970-71 is a compelling argument, I don't know what to tell you, we'll agree to disagree.

Comparing a performance in the league from that season to the six team league in the 1950's is *to me* laughable. To you, I guess not. Take a look at how the league scoring changed. It wasn't just goalies that had a field day facing the lousy calibre of teams in the league. Phil Esposito improved his goal total by thirty three goals to end up with 76 and shatter goal scoring records. His point total went from 99 in 1970 to 152 in 1971. The goal scoring lead went from 43 goals to 76 goals. There was one player over 100 points in 1970, in 1971 there was four, with records being set for point totals.

Players feasted on the lousy competition that half the league provided.

If you want to pretend that's not the case, that is obviously your prerogative. I thought this was a very well established opinion about this year in the NHL, so I'm frankly quite surprised to have people dispute it, but whatever, to each their own.

As for your nonsense about this being a discussion board - thanks for the tip. Should have been clear that I already knew that from, you know, the discussions I've been having. This is one of several posts in this thread, for example.


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03-11-2017, 07:57 PM
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Two Goalie System

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One question I'd like to see addressed - how much help did the Canadiens give Plante, as opposed to the amount of help he got from the Maple Leafs?
With the Canadiens Plante was part of the old one goalie system. From 1952-53, his NHL debut thru 1954-55 Under Dick Irvin Sr. the was a clumsy effort to play two goalies, mainly at various times in the playoffs. This generated some benefits, notably in the 1952-53 playoffs.

With Toronto after the introduction of the two goalie system, Plante had the extra benefit of playing in a three goalie system with Parent and Gamble. Likewise in St. Louis his previous stop with Wakely and Hall.

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03-11-2017, 08:01 PM
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Prime Example

^^^ With the canadiens Plante played most of the three game in four days and four in five stretches. Never happened in STL or TO.

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03-12-2017, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by FerrisRox View Post
If you don't think the six teams in a 14 team league being as pathetic as the aforementioned teams were in 1970-71 is a compelling argument, I don't know what to tell you, we'll agree to disagree.

Comparing a performance in the league from that season to the six team league in the 1950's is *to me* laughable. To you, I guess not. Take a look at how the league scoring changed. It wasn't just goalies that had a field day facing the lousy calibre of teams in the league. Phil Esposito improved his goal total by thirty three goals to end up with 76 and shatter goal scoring records. His point total went from 99 in 1970 to 152 in 1971. The goal scoring lead went from 43 goals to 76 goals. There was one player over 100 points in 1970, in 1971 there was four, with records being set for point totals.

Players feasted on the lousy competition that half the league provided.

If you want to pretend that's not the case, that is obviously your prerogative. I thought this was a very well established opinion about this year in the NHL, so I'm frankly quite surprised to have people dispute it, but whatever, to each their own.

As for your nonsense about this being a discussion board - thanks for the tip. Should have been clear that I already knew that from, you know, the discussions I've been having. This is one of several posts in this thread, for example.
So your entire argument is essentially, "the league sucked in 1971, so all the results generated should just be disregarded".

Last I checked, all the other goalies who played in 1971 also had the benefit of playing in this supposedly lousy league. Plante stood above them all with league-leading GAA and Save% numbers. Esposito, Giacomin, and Cheevers got to play all those crappy expansion teams too.

Your part about all the 100 point scorers and Esposito's 76 goals and such are completely counter to your dismissal of Plante's performance. It would appear that in spite of the scoring floodgates opening and teams like the Bruins playing firewagon offensive hockey and breaking scoring records, Plante managed a .944 save percentage (better than any ever recorded in the defensive 90's/00's dead puck era) and a sub-2.00 GAA.

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03-12-2017, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OilTastic View Post
i cannot tell you how thrilling it was as a 14 year old to see the great Jacques Plante as a WHA Oiler at 45 years old live and in person! his numbers were surprisingly decent for an Oiler team that was hardly great. the Oilers played 3 goalies that year and Plante outplayed them. what a great way to celebrate the then-new Northlands Coliseum!
Man, that is awesome, good for you. I remember as a kid reading that Plante had played with the Oilers in 1974-75, and I couldn't believe it. I was, like, "What? That old guy from the black & white 1950s played on the Oilers, just 3 or 4 years before Gretzky?" It was shocking.

Looks like he did pretty well, though, all things considered. Not bad for age 46.


About 1970-71, I can't believe a poster is trying to dismiss it due to expansion (which was three years earlier). Plante's 1.88 GAA was best in the NHL, right? The Leafs weren't exactly a powerhouse with 35-year-old Norm Ullman as their top forward.

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03-13-2017, 08:39 AM
  #24
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I don't know about Plante, but Hasek in 05/06 on Ottawa was still absolutely outstanding. He was hardly diminished from his peak Buffalo years at 42 years old.
Just a note, he was 40 this season.

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03-13-2017, 08:26 PM
  #25
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^^^ With the canadiens Plante played most of the three game in four days and four in five stretches. Never happened in STL or TO.
I think Plante also had a very favourable schedule in terms of opponents and home/road games. Doctor No's goalie site lists him at an SOS (strength of schedule) of -0.43 for that season. I'm not sure what that means but it's a very low number compared to the SOS numbers for other goaltenders.

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