Between games law
student Dryden visited law school libraries. "That's good," said Gerry
Cheevers. "At least I'll never run into him off the ice." When he is
not in the Boston goal, Cheevers usually can be found at the race track. "I
start every day the same way," he says, "with the Lord's Prayer. 'Our
Father, Who art in heaven, give us this day our daily double.' "
The second and
third vital matchups involved centermen: Boston's swinging Derek Sanderson vs.
Jean Beliveau, the magnificent captain of the Canadiens, and Montreal's Henri
Richard vs. the quick stick of Phil Esposito. Sitting in the Bruins' dressing
room one night, Sanderson talked about Beliveau. "I hate him. I hate
him," Derek said, twitching his mustache. "What I hate about Beliveau
is that he's so good. All the time I was growing up I idolized him. So now I'm
playing against him and I still think he's the greatest. But the way I figure
it, if we're going to win, I got to outplay Beliveau."
The great man of
the Canadiens gave Derek a few hard lessons during the first three games, but
Sanderson covered Beliveau so closely in the fourth game that Jean was never an
important player. "That's what I've got to do again," Derek said.
against Esposito was a totally unexpected move by Montreal Coach Al MacNeill.
Actually, in the first game MacNeill started with Peter Mahovlich, who at
6'4" and 210 pounds is bigger than Esposito, but when Phil took 11 shots at
Dryden (none got past him) MacNeill switched to the Pocket Rocket. Starting
with the second game, Richard skated alongside Esposito everyplace he went—even
to the Boston bench. Phil, who averaged some seven shots on goal during the
season, took only three shots at Dryden in the second game, six in the third
and four in the fourth. "Henri is doing his job, right?" Esposito said
And so, when the
fifth game started last Tuesday in Boston, the matchups were set. In the first
minute Wayne Cashman scored for Boston. Moments later Yvan Cournoyer tied the
score for the Canadiens. All the while Richard was dogging Esposito and
Sanderson was clinging to Beliveau. Orr, meanwhile, seemed to be playing as he
did in the first game—more concerned about preventing goals than scoring
Then it happened.
The puck was behind the Montreal goal. Richard left Esposito alone in front,
figuring the puck was safely on the stick of a Montreal defenseman. But somehow
the puck hopped over the net—and Dryden, too—and there was Esposito free to tap
in one of the easiest goals he has ever scored. "I was owed that, thank
you," he said later. Boston then started to hit every Canadien who moved,
and soon the Bruins were in control. Mike Walton scored later in the first
period and the Bruins rolled to a 5-1 lead in the second.
roared out for the third period and scored two fast goals. Visions of the
third-period debacle in Game No. 2 started to dance through the minds of the
Garden spectators, but Johnny Bucyk killed the rally with a strong individual
effort, and the Bruins ultimately got a 7-3 victory. The Garden crowd jeered
Dryden, yelling, "The Bruins ain't Hahvud, kid," as the Canadiens left
the ice. "We'll be back," said John Ferguson. "We'll be
Cheevers-Dryden confrontation was probably a standoff, mostly because Dryden
stopped 56 Boston shots while Cheevers had to cope with only 27 Montreal
attempts, the Bruins clearly won the other matchups. Esposito scored a goal and
took 10 more shots at Dryden, while Sanderson totally blunted Beliveau when
Jean had the puck or was in position to get it. Most important, though, Orr
played a strong game—not as spectacular as in his hat-trick performance the
previous Sunday, but solid, solid.
Back in Montreal
for the sixth game Thursday night, Al MacNeill made one more change in his
lineup. Hoping to add some speed and aggressiveness on the wing, he decided to
move Henri Richard from center to right wing, a position Henri had not played
since the 1950s. They had been fairly docile in the previous game, but now the
Canadiens came on with speed and muscle. Peter Mahovlich scored early, skating
through four Bruins and beating Cheevers from 25 feet. After Esposito scored on
a power play to tie the score, Richard made a clever move to beat Cheevers with
a backhander to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. Boston tied the score again on
another power-play goal, but the Canadiens were still flying. With two Bruins
in the penalty box, Jacques Lemaire broke the tie, and four minutes later J.C.
Tremblay beat Cheevers for a 4-2 lead. Henri scored again and so did Peter
Mahovlich as the Canadiens overpowered the Bruins 8-3. It was Boston's worst
defeat of the year.
Mahovlich is called
Peter the Clown by his teammates, including his brother Frank, because of the
pranks he likes to play in hotel lobbies—like setting the newspapers of lobby
sitters afire. He ignited Orr's temper in the third period and had a pretty
fair fight with him. Orr won. It was the only thing Boston won all night.