Saturday, March 19, 2016
On this date in 1981, the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. Starting in goal for the Maple Leafs that evening was Michel "Bunny" Larocque.
He would not finish the game.
The game started out ordinarily enough, with the first notable event being a minor penalty to Wilf Paiement at 2:13 of the first period. Toronto was later called for having too many men on the ice at 5:16, still in the first. During the ensuing power play John Van Boxmeer would capitalize on the man advantage for Buffalo with his 16th goal of the season, unassisted, at 6:25. That would remain the only goal of the period, despite subsequent penalties to Toronto's Barry Melrose at 11:02 and the Sabres Larry Playfair at 17:48. The period would end with Buffalo being credited with 8 shots on goal while Don Edwards made saves on all 6 of Toronto's shots.
John Van Boxmeer
Melrose picked up his second minor of the game at exactly 2 minutes of the second period, which the Maple Leafs killed off successfully. Gilbert Perreault then put the Sabres up 2-0 with his 14th goal of the season at 4:27, shortly after Melrose's penalty had expired. At 6:01, Buffalo's Steve Patrick and Ian Turnbull of Toronto were both sent off for matching minors. Derek Smith then extended the Buffalo lead to 3-0 when he scored his 20th goal of the season with assists from Tony McKegney and Jim Schoenfeld at 8:46, which was a precursor for things to come, and come they did in rapid succession.
Ric Seiling's 25th goal of the season, from Craig Ramsey and Andre Savard at 10:27 pushed the Sabres lead up to 4-0 at 10:27 as all hell broke loose. Perreault followed with his second goal of the period, unassisted, at 11:12. Darryl Sittler responded with the first Maple Leafs goal 11 seconds later from Paiement to make it 5-1, only to have Terry Martin net another for Toronto 31 seconds later, from Paiement and Turnbull for the fourth goal in under a minute and a half.
Ramsay took back some of the Maple Leafs momentum another minute and a half later with his 22nd goal from Seiling and Savard at 13:24. Bill Hajt was sent off for two minutes at 13:37 but Toronto only needed less than 30 seconds to capitalize when Sittler scored his second of the period and 43rd of the season from Borje Salming and Turnbull at 14:06, the first power play goal of the eight scored so far in the second period which now saw the score at 6-3 for the home Sabres.
The offensive fireworks were not over though, as Savard's 25th, from McKegney and Seiling at 15:50 was followed by Perreault completing his hat trick in a span of 13:15 from Van Boxmeer and Playfair at 17:42. The Sabres captain and eventual leading scorer for the season Danny Gare finally got into the act with his 39th goal from Smith and Lindy Ruff at 18:51 to tie the NHL record for Most Goals in a Period with 8.
Less than a minute later at 19:47, Savard's second of the period and 26th of the season, from Seiling and Hajt gave Buffalo the outright record of nine goals scored in a single period to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Sabres, with all nine of the record setting goals coming at even strength and having been given up by the unfortunate Larocque on 19 Buffalo shots in the second.
The shell-shocked Bunny Larocque
The Sabres also equalled a record held by the 1970-71 New York Rangers as well as the 1974-75 Sabres (both of whom had 8 goals and 15 assists) when they registered their 23rd point of the period, led by Savard's 4 points, from 2 goals and 2 assists, Seiling's 4 points (1 goal and 3 assists) as well as Perreault's hat trick. Smith and Ramsay each had a goal and an assist, while McKegney was credited with a pair of assists as well. Gare contributed his goal, while Schoenfeld, Van Boxmeer, Playfair, Ruff and Hajt each had an assist in the second for a total of 23 points.
Mercifully, Larocque was given the rest of the night off to recover from his debacle, replaced for the third period by Czech Jiri Crha.
The remainder of the game saw ten minors and two misconducts as play got rough, which led to a pair of power play goals, the first for Toronto at 4:34 of the third. Smith's second goal at 10:47 also came with the man advantage from Gare and Van Boxmeer at 10:47. Gare struck again 36 seconds later for his 40th goal of the season from Van Boxmeer and McKegney at 11:23.
The scoring was wrapped up with a goal by Gilles Hamel from Savard and Playfair at 15:26 before Savard completed a hat trick of his own, his 27th of the season, from Playfair and Perreault at 18:49 to make the final score 14-4 in favor of the Sabres, much to the delight of the 16,433 Sabres faithful in attendance, but probably not the official scorekeeper and the public address announcer, who surely had trouble keeping up that evening!
In all, 13 Sabres featured in the scoring, led by Savard's 6 point night from 3 goals and 3 assists. Three other Sabres had 4 points, those being Perreault, Seiling and defenseman Van Boxmeer. Others with multiple point games included Smith, McKegney, Playfair and Gare with 3 and Ramsay with 2 points.
Edwards got the easy win in goal for Buffalo despite giving up 4 goals on 32 shots, while Larocque obviously got the loss thanks to allowing ten goals, while Crha let in 4 on 22 shots, as the Sabres did little to take their foot off the gas in the final period.
Today's featured jersey is a 1980-81 Buffalo Sabres Gilbert Perreault jersey as worn during his second period hat trick as part of the Sabres record setting 9 goal second period on this date in 1981. Obscured by the left arm of the jersey is the assistant captain's "A", as Perreault would not become the club's captain until the following season when current captain Gare departed via a trade.
The original 1970-71 Sabres jerseys had no names on the back and a lace up collar, with names arriving in 1977-78 by league rule. The Sabres logo was repeated on the shoulders beginning in 1978-79, the same season the collars changed to a v-neck.
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Today's video segment begins with a profile on the Sabres captain Gare.
Next, the Legends of Hockey profile of Perreault.