Buffalo center Rene Robert
, who played on the famous "French Connection" line with Gilbert Perreault
and Rick Martin, scored 5:56 into overtime giving the Sabres a 5-4 win in Game 5 and a 3-2 series lead in their second-round series with the Canadiens.
After beating the Canadiens in the first two games of the series, the Sabres were easily beaten by Montreal the next two games by 7-0 and 8-2 scores. Buffalo would finish the Habs off two nights later when Sabres center Jim Lorentz
scored the game-winning goal against Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden. Even though they were in only their fifth season of existence the Sabres advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for their first time in franchise history where they were defeated by the Flyers in six games.
Flyers right wing Reggie Leach scored a hat trick against Gilles Gilbert
as the Flyers beat the Bruins, 6-3, in Game 5 of the semifinals and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third-consecutive season. Leach was far and away Philadelphia's goal-scoring leader in 1976, scoring 19 goals.
Montreal left wing Gilbert Dionne
scored at 8:28 of overtime beating Grant Fuhr
and giving the Habs a 4-3 win in Game 3 and a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round series with the Sabres. The Canadiens would win an NHL-record 10 playoff games in overtime en route to their last Stanley Cup when they beat the Kings in five games in the Final.
The Sharks beat the Maple Leafs 5-2 in Game 3 of their second-round series, giving San Jose a 2-1 series lead. San Jose, which was making its first playoff appearance in just its third season, beat the favored Red Wings in seven games in the first round to advance to the second round. After taking a 2-1 lead in the series against Toronto, the Maple Leafs came back and won the series in seven games and proceeded to the Western Conference Final where they were beaten by the Canucks in five games after winning the first game in Toronto.
New Jersey center John Madden
scored the game-winning goal against Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph
to give the Devils a 3-2 series lead and a 4-3 victory in Game 3 of their second-round series. Two nights later, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur
would record his eighth career playoff shutout and his second of that playoff year eliminating the Maple Leafs. New Jersey would go on to win the Cup after beating the Flyers in seven games and the Stars in six games.
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