SI Vault
Peter Gammons
May 23, 1977
With an awesome display of one-upmanship, the glittering Montreal Canadiens left Boston in tatters as they scored their second straight sweep in the final round of the Stanley Cup
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May 23, 1977

They Ruined The Bruins

With an awesome display of one-upmanship, the glittering Montreal Canadiens left Boston in tatters as they scored their second straight sweep in the final round of the Stanley Cup

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? Boston's Terry O'Reilly crashing into the boards while his target, Montreal Winger Bob Gainey, speeds on, one step ahead of trouble. "We just never could catch them!" said O'Reilly.

? Montreal's Doug Riseborough, a third-line center, standing alone in front of Cheevers and scoring the clinching second goal in Game Two. "Someone said this was going to be a series of Rolls-Royces against Jeeps," said Boston Coach Don Cherry, "but twice now we've been beaten by their Jeeps."

? Montreal Defensemen Larry Robinson and Savard and Guy Lapointe standing menacingly in front of Dryden, their sticks reaching from one side of the rink to the other. "Our game is to muck around the net and hack at rebounds," said Cashman, "but with those big defensemen, we never got close."

? Montreal's Gainey, the best defensive forward in hockey, relentlessly back-checking Boston Wing Bobby Schmautz and deflecting Schmautz' shot out of the rink. "They're the best-checking team in history," said Schmautz, "and Gainey's the key to it all."

?Bowman, obviously sensing the impending fisticuffs, sending his SWAT bunch onto the ice for the final moments of Game Two: Robinson (6'3", 210 pounds) and Bill Nyrop (6'2", 209) on defense, with Pierre Bouchard (6'2", 202), Rick Chartraw (6'2", 210) and Yvon Lambert (6'1", 195) as a makeshift forward line. "People used to say, 'Hit the Canadiens and you'll beat them,' " Bouchard said, "but now we're the biggest team in hockey."

? Lafleur circling, spinning and firing a backhander past Cheevers, making a mockery of the Boston Garden banner that read: JOHN WENSINK EATS FROGS. " Guy Lafleur is the best in the world," said Shutt.

Maybe he is, but until the series moved to Boston, Lafleur played only a minor supporting role in the Canadiens' two victories at the Forum. In fact, the Boston checkers so hounded Lafleur that he was unable to unleash a single shot on Cheevers in either game, although he did assist on three of Montreal's 10 goals.

Having lost the opening game, the Bruins were desperate for a win in Game Two, and for 25 minutes they totally dominated the Canadiens, outshooting them 11-3 and, over one stretch, not allowing Montreal a shot at Cheevers for 22 minutes. "We played as well as we could play," Cherry said. But it was not well enough. Robinson, Savard and Lapointe deflected shots, cleared rebounds and removed cruising Bruins with solid body checks. "They're the key," Cherry said. "They could make Washington a contender." Waterbug Center Doug Jarvis pestered Boston Center Jean Ratelle with his eyeball-to-eyeball checking, and embarrassed Ratelle on faceoffs almost as badly as Ratelle had embarrassed Philadelphia's Bobby Clarke in the semifinals. For all their early domination in this game, the Bruins had few good chances at Dryden, and they failed to score. Then the opportunistic Canadiens struck for two goals in five minutes midway through the second period and took control of the game.

Unfortunately, Referee Ron Wicks never had any control of the proceedings, and in the end the game got out of hand. But the muscular Canadiens handled that, too. Lafleur and Boston Defenseman Mike Milbury had feuded all night. In the first period Milbury's stick accidentally caught Lafleur in the back of the head, prompting cries of outrage from the Montreal crowd, which considers Lafleur a god and reacts with loud vocal protests if he is even touched by an opponent. In the second period Lafleur swung his stick at Milbury after being held by him. In the third period, Lafleur, skating against Milbury one-on-one, fired a shot that hit Milbury on the hip. Cheevers charged out of his net and skated at Lafleur, contending that Lafleur had intentionally shot the puck at Milbury. "You're too good for that sort of thing," Cheevers screamed at Lafleur.

Milbury instantly became a marked man for Lafleur's bodyguards. In the closing moments Bouchard went far out of his way to charge the unsuspecting Milbury and knock him down, and a brawl erupted. For his part in the melee, Milbury was given a game-misconduct penalty with just 13 seconds to play, and because it was his second such penalty of the playoffs, he would have to sit out Game Three with a suspension.

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