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Maple Leafs Comeback For The Ages; Just Like They Did 86 Years Ago

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Pep Kelly
This has been a helluva Qualifying Round for the Toronto Maple Leafs. One day after they blew a 3-0 lead to Columbus, the Leafs, on the brink of elimination, turned the tables. Starting the comeback with under four minutes remaining, this was the latest a team had ever erased a 3-0 deficit in an elimination game since 1936. The previous record was when the very same Maple Leafs came back from 3-0 with just under seven minutes left in their season.On April 9, 1936, Toronto was down two games to one against the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. Back then, the Final was a best-of-five affair. In Game Three at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Leafs faced a 3-0 deficit with 8:45 remaining in the 3rd period. Detroit goals by Ralph Bowman, Mud Bruneteau and Syd Howe gave the Wings a seemingly insurmountable lead and their first ever Stanley Cup.Joe Primeau put Toronto on the board with 6:51 to play, then Pep Kelly made it 3-2 two minutes later. With only 41 seconds remai…

Maple Leafs 18 Year-Old Scoring 1st Goal in Playoffs

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Let's concentrate on the positives of the Maple Leafs Game 3 of the Qualifying Round. Rookie, Nick Robertson scored his first NHL goal, as an 18-year old...in the Playoffs. Amazingly, it was over 76 years ago since a Maple Leaf did that. On March 28, 1944 in Game Four of the Semi-Finals at Maple Leaf Gardens, 18-year old future captain, Teeder Kennedy scored his first NHL goal. The goal was assisted by George Boothman and Babe Pratt and proved to be the final Maple Leafs goal scored that season. The 4-1 loss in Game Four was followed by an 11-0 drubbing at the Forum to give Montreal a 4-1 series win. Incidentally, this was also the series in which Maurice Richard scored all five goals in a 5-1 Game Two victory which garnered him all three star selections.Below is a photo from the following day's Toronto Daily Star of the rookie Kennedy. Unlike young Robertson's first goal, it appears that Kennedy was not a thing of beauty. The Star stated (below) that Canadiens winger Phil…

Two Penalty Shots in a Playoff Game

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Two penalty shots in one playoff game. In the first game of the Qualifying Round between Montreal and Pittsburgh, there were indeed two penalty shots awarded, both Brandon Rust and Jonathan Drouin missing miserably. It doesn't seem like this should be such a rare occurrence, but apparently it happens about once every one hundred years. The last time two penalty shots were awarded in an NHL playoff game (these Qualifying Round games are being considered as playoff stats by the NHL) was in 1923. On March 29, 1923 in game one of the Stanley Cup final between the original NHL Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Canada Hockey League there were actually THREE penalty shots awarded in the game. The Cup final took place at Vancouver's Denman Street Arena, and this first game was witnessed by 7,000 spectators. Bill Steadman of the Vancouver Sun described the affair thusly,"The Ottawa Senators carried the issue into overtime and then drew first blood at the Are…

Winnipeg Jets in Czechoslovakia, 1975

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My buddy Greg sent me this great shot of the Winnipeg Jets playing the Czechoslovakian National team. His dad is Norm Beaudin, pictured in the foreground. The game was during the Jets 1975 training camp which took place in Europe that season. The Czech National squad would beat the Jets by scores of 6-1 (on Sept. 25) and 3-1 (on Sept. 26). Both Jets goals were scored by Anders Hedberg. Also pictured are Jets #19 Mats Lindh and #17 Bill Lesuk. I'm not positive on the Czechoslovakian players shown, but #9 is likely Miroslav Dvorak who would go on to play three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers in the early 1980's. The goaltender is probably either Vladimir Dzurilla or Jiri Holocek. Despite not fairing well against the Czechs, Winnipeg would go on to have a terrific season in the WHA. They finished first in the Canadian Division with 106 points (52-27-2) and romp through the playoffs with a record of 12-1 on the way to the Avco Cup. For Beaudin himself, it was his final seaso…

Nitzy's Hockey Den All-Time Team Canada

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Here we go. I found out this afternoon that TSN will be publishing their All-Time Team Canada after they did the seven Canadian NHL teams recently. According to Craig Button they are using players from Olympics, Canada Cups, World Cups and World Championships. I'm not certain if TSN will be considering the Summit Series, but I am. Also, Button says there is no positional requirements on this squad as is usual in international team selection. This is also a 23-man roster, same as international play.
Goalies
I gave the nod to Bill Ranford on the strength of a 17-1 record and 1.61 average in the '91 Canada Cup and '93 and '94 World Championships. He backstopped Canada to it's first World Championship Gold in 33 years and was also stellar in the Canada Cup. Speaking of that, Grant Fuhr almost single-handedly kept Canada in games against the Soviets in the '87 Canada Cup. He also played in the '84 tourney and Rendezvous '87 putting up an 8-2-3 record overall…

Nitzy's Hockey Den Quebec Nordiques All-Time Team

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Last week the good folks at TSN released the last of their All-Time teams for each Canadian franchise. When they did the Winnipeg Jets, they fudged the rules a little by not including the Atlanta Thrashers part of the current franchise. They did of course include the WHA Winnipeg Jets. Along the same line of thinking, I decided to create a Quebec Nordiques All-Time team using the WHA an NHL seasons, but not the Colorado Avalanche portion of the franchise.
Lots of WHA content, as there should be, Quebec was one of the strongest teams over the 7-year existence of the league. The top goalie in Nordiques history is Richard Brodeur who played all seven WHA seasons with Quebec and his 165 career wins rank only two behind Joe Daley for most in league history. In addition his WHA career goals against average was 3.64. Dan Bouchard ranks as Quebec's second best goalie who posted a 3.59 GAA over his five NHL seasons in Quebec.
The top defenceman in Quebec history is easily J.C. Tremblay w…

Nitzy's Hockey Den Vancouver Canucks All-Time Team

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Last week when I chatted with Steve Dryden (Senior Managing Editor of Hockey at TSN) on the phone, we talked mainly about the Maple Leafs All-Time team. We also discussed the fact that as a Toronto native, I have lived in the Vancouver area for over a quarter century and have seen a lot in this market. In fact, the second ever game I attended in Vancouver was on May 24, 1994; Game 5 of the Campbell Conference Finals, the one where Greg Adams scored in double overtime to knock the Maple Leafs out and send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. I've seen enough of the Canucks over the years, I figured I'd create my own Canucks All-Time team too. So here it is. The All-Time top line is probably the easiest of any Canadian NHL team. Sedins and Bure, done. As well, the top two goalies in Canucks franchise history is about as straight forward as can be. All due respect to Richard Brodeur, but he gets the nod as Foundational Player.  The Canucks all-time to defencemen is loaded with …