Larry Robinson reached 200 playoff game on this day in 1989. (Photo: HHOF)
1979: Serge Savard scored the winning goal at 7:25 of overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Canadiens should have scored at 6:04 of overtime on a blast by Larry Robinson. The replay (that you can watch below in the clip provided by Francis Bouchard) showed the puck go behind Rangers goalie John Davidson and out the other side.
“It hit the shaft of my stick, then I heard two dings,” said Davidson. “I really can’t say what happened.”
You can see Bob Gainey raise his stick in celebration, only to see the play continue, and a couple Canadiens players nearly hopped the bench to celebrate. Even though the broadcast team notes they saw the bulge in the twine, neither referee Andy van Hellemond, nor the goal judge indicated that the puck had gone in.
“We had to forget it on the ice,” said Savard post-game. No one was thinking about justice, we were just thinking about not making mistakes.”
A few minutes later, Savard trailed on a Guy Lafleur rush and backhanded the loose puck behind Davidson.
As Dick Irvin Jr. said, “They may have won the game twice.”
Fun on the flight home: On the Canadiens flight home from New York, one of the players slipped a note to one of the flight attendants. She announced that it was trainer Eddy Palchak’s 39th birthday (May 20), assuring him that it was on his honor that the Habs won the game. As the occupants of the flight engaged in a chorus of “Happy Birthday Eddie,” and cheering when one of other flight attendants gave Palchak a peck on the cheek. Toe Blake, who was travelling with the club, then demanded and received the same treatment, less the singing, even though it wasn’t his birthday.
Also on this day…
1989: Larry Robinson became the first player in NHL history to play in 200 Stanley Cup playoff games, as the Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 in overtime, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Habs Born on This Day: Marc Bureau (1966)
UPI, AP wire reports May 20, 1979
The Montreal Gazette, May 21, 1979