|Fans at Memorial Auditorium (Buffalo Sabres)|
It’s not often that a loss is met with cheers.
But for the fans at Memorial Auditorium in the spring of 1973, there was no disappointment in coming out on the unfavorable side of battle.
The fact that the Buffalo Sabres were in the race, it seemed, was all that mattered to the home crowd.
That’s because after only three years in the NHL, the Sabres had forged an identity and were experiencing the first winning season in franchise history during the 1972-73 campaign.
The team had done an about-face and by the end of the end of the season had produced 37 wins – and claimed fourth place in the East Division.
Their newfound success would result in a Lady Byng trophy for center Gilbert Perreault and a Coach of the Year award for manager Joe Crozier.
It also meant the Sabres first playoff appearance in franchise history.
Facing the storied Montreal Canadiens in the first round, however, was no easy task.
Buffalo held their ground in the first game against the Habs, but fell by a 2-1 score at The Forum. The Sabres would continue to struggle on the road and dropped the next contest 7-3 before falling to a 3-0 series deficit with a 5-2 loss at The Aud.
Facing elimination, the Sabres were revived. The following game Buffalo captured a 5-2 win at home to stave off the end of their playoff run. In Game 5 the Sabres cut the Canadiens' series lead to one game after bagging a thrilling 3-2 overtime win in Montreal.
Game Six was to be played in Buffalo and Sabres fans were hoping for an upset to send the series back to Quebec.
It was not to be, however, as Montreal claimed a 4-2 win and subsequently advanced to the next round of the postseason.
While they wouldn’t come out on top, Buffalo gave the Habs a run for their money and the fans were grateful for the chance to get a glimpse at the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It was a bittersweet moment as they expressed their gratitude at Memorial Auditorium. Following Buffalo’s elimination, the fans were in uproar with applause for their team, and began to chant ‘Thank You Sabres’ as the team left the ice.