MONTREAL -- As the Canadiens and Bruins gear up to renew hostilities beginning on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, here’s a look back at some of the memorable playoff clashes between these storied rivals. Next up, their Stanley Cup semifinal battle in 1979.
Stanley Cup Semifinals
Boston vs Montreal
After finishing ahead of the Bruins in the standings with a league-leading 115 points and going undefeated in four regular season meetings against Boston, the three-time defending Stanley Cup champion Canadiens should have handled their bitter rival with relative ease. No one bothered telling that to the Bruins.
Home-ice advantage was an understatement in a series that saw both teams win all three of their games at home to set up a do-or-die Game 7 at the Forum.
Determined to avenge their consecutive playoff defeats to the Canadiens over the past two seasons, Don Cherry and his Bruins carried a 3-1 lead into the second intermission thanks to a pair of goals from Wayne Cashman. With the chances of their bid for a fourth-straight Cup slipping away, Scotty Bowman’s crew came out roaring in the third with a pair of early goals to tie things up and turn the tide.
That momentum was short-lived for the Habs as Rick Middleton silenced the Forum crowd at the 16:01 mark by putting Boston back on top 4-3. With time winding down in the third period, it appeared the Bruins were well on their way to victory until a too many men call breathed new life into the Habs with 2:22 left in regulation. With already 11 points in the series, Guy Lafleur burned the Bruins again by accepting a drop pass from linemate Jacques Lemaire and blasting a one-timer from inside the blue line past goalie Gilles Gilbert to tie the game with 1:11 left on the clock, forcing overtime.
The stage was then set for unlikely hero Yvon Lambert, who sealed the Bruins’ fate at 9:53 of overtime by hammering home a feed from Mario Tremblay to send the Bruins packing and end a battle to forever be known as the “Too Many Men” game. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com