Just as they were in 1970, the Montreal Canadiens
were the party of the second part Friday night when the Buffalo Sabres
celebrated the 40th anniversary of their first home game.
After splitting the first two games in franchise history -- winning 2-1 at Pittsburgh and losing 3-1 at New York -- the Sabres hosted the Canadiens at Memorial Auditorium on Oct. 15, 1970, their first game in Buffalo. More than 10,000 fans saw the expansion Sabres lose 3-0 to the Canadiens despite a 50-save performance by goaltender Roger Crozier
Manning the public address and introducing the starting lineups on Friday, just as he did on opening night and for years afterward, was Milt Ellis, known in Buffalo as the "Voice of the Aud."
The Sabres celebrated their 40th anniversary with two of the participants that night -- Floyd Smith
and Montreal's Henri Richard
-- taking a ceremonial faceoff, with the puck dropped by Seymour Knox IV, son of the Sabres' founder and longtime owner. That came after famed tenor Ronan Tynan, who sang "God Bless America" at the first NHL Winter Classic in 2008, performed the National Anthem -- the first time he's done so.
There was a second faceoff after Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jenneret, who received a standing ovation, introduced team owner Thomas Golisano. He dropped the puck for a second ceremonial draw between current captain Craig Rivet
and Montreal captain Brian Gionta
after toasting "the next 40 years of the Buffalo Sabres