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Historical Headlines: Pittsburgh in Playoffs 1st Time

by Jimmy Jordan / Post-Gazette Sports Writer

This story was originally written by Post-Gazette Sports Writer Jimmy Jordan and was published on April 1, 1970.

The Penguins will open the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the Civic Arena next Wednesday.

Coach Red Kelly and his hard-working Pens, regulated to last place in the NHL-West in the pre-season guess estimates by hockey "experts" clinched their first play-off berth of their three-season tenor in the league by knocking off the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1, last night in the arena.

Just who will be on the other side of the red line for the opening faceoff Wednesday still is unknown. Oakland and Minnesota still are struggling for the fourth and last playoff spot, and even the Flyers could wind up in fourth place and provide the opposition for the Penguins.

Goals by Val Fonteyne in the first period and Jean Pronovost in the second provided the necessary firepower.

Bob Blackburn and Dean Prentice scored on the Flyers' empty net in the closing seconds. Blackburn fired the puck almost the length of the ice for his fourth goal of the season.

For Prentice, it was his 26th of the season and the 320th of his career.

Andre Lacroix scored for the Flyers late in the second period to ruin Goalie Al Smith's bid for the third shut out of his rookie season.

The game was a rough one, with fights breaking out in the second period and the checking hard and, at times, vicious among the boards.

Bryan Watson and Reggie Fleming had a real donny-brook late in the second session, with Watson apparently getting much the better of it.

An unidentified fan came onto the ice to help Bryan, who was doing quite well without help. Referee Art Skov grabbed the fan and a police-man escorted him from the Big Igloo.

Gary Dornhoefer and Glen Sather had a bit of a ruckus a couple of minutes later, but Skov gave them only minor penalties.

Pronovost got the puck out of a corner, and sent it out to Briere, who in turn flipped it to Fonteyne who was about 25 feet from the goal, a bit to the left. He triggered a shot which sped past Defenseman Larry Hillman, and into the cords at the back of the net. Flyer Goalie Bernie Parent was partly screened on the shot.

Fonteyne was wrestling with two Flyers along the boards, and finally sprung loose long enough to pass the puck out to Briere, who sent it ahead to Provonost. Big Jean skated a couple of strides over the blue line and blasted the disc past Parent.

Gary Dornhoefer, no stranger to the Civic Arena, set up Lacroix for the Philadelphia point when he grabbed the loose puck in back of the goal. He slipped it to Lacroix in front of the net and the rest was easy.

Then came the two goals into the empty net by Blackburn and Prentice, and the 7,984 fans relaxed for the first time. 

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