|Hugh Harris / Ken Dryden (Getty Images) |
Embarking on their first postseason berth in franchise history, the 1973 Buffalo Sabres knew they would claim a few entries in the record books.
Many were to be expected as Dave Dryden became the first Sabres goalie to start in a playoff game, while Gilbert Perreault scored the first game-winning goal for Buffalo. But as the series against the Montreal Canadiens progressed, it was Head Coach Joe Crozier who claimed the most obscure ‘first’ in team history.
That’s because in Game 5,‘Crow’ became the only bench boss in the National Hockey League to request a measurement on an opposing netminder’s pads.
The rule, which mandated that a goaltender’s gear adhered to maximum size requirements, had been in place for 47 years. With the game tied at 2-2 with only 29 seconds remaining in regulation, Crozier decided to test it out and asked the referees to take a look at Montreal’s Ken Dryden.
After reviewing his pads, it was determined that the width did not meet the League’s standards and resulted in a penalty against the Canadiens.
The call not only gave the Sabres the momentum, but it ensured that the Habs were shorthanded at the beginning of overtime. Buffalo may not have capitalized on the opportunity, but shortly after the penalty expired, Rene Robert made Montreal pay for their mistake by burying the game-winning goal. In the process, he claimed a record of his own, becoming the first player in franchise history to score in overtime during the playoffs.