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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 29, 1980 -- Isles 4, Buffalo 1 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 1-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 1
Isles 4, Buffalo 1
It had been a week since their last game when the Isles hit the ice at The Aud in Buffalo to open the semi-finals.

To this point in their history, Buffalo was a spot that the Isles could never win in regular season play (3-12-4) but they had won two playoff series over the Sabres (1976 and 1977) and had gone 3-2 in Buffalo in those two series,

The Sabres had had a tremendous regular season, finishing first in defense and third in offense while amassing 110 points; they also had  Scotty Bowman behind the bench and home-ice.

Rick Dudley gave the Sabres an early 1-0 lead and when Gord Lane took a major penalty for spearing the Isles were in a bit of trouble.  However late in the power play Bob Bourne flipped the game with an unassisted shorthanded tally.  Mike Bossy scored unassisted later in the period for a 2-1 Isles advantage after one.

John Tonelli scored the only goal of the second period and then scored the only goal of the third as the Isles coasted to a 4-1 win to grab the series lead.

The Scoring:
1st Period
05:23 BUF Rick Dudley (3) Craig Ramsay
13:09 NYI SH Bob Bourne (6)
17:42 NYI Mike Bossy (4)
2nd Period
09:56 NYI John Tonelli (5) Dave Langevin, Stefan Persson
3rd Period
11:10 NYI John Tonelli (6) Duane Sutter

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Buffalo 2
Game 2: May 1 in Buffalo
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Buffalo outshot the Isles 32-29....  Billy Smith improved to 8-1 in the playoffs while Don Edwards (who had shared the Vezina with Bob Sauve) took the loss... The win was the Isles' eighth in the playoffs (8-2), one shy of the then-club record set in 1975...The Isles improved to 3-0 in series openers (they would win 15 of 16 game 1's during the four years they won the Cup...Bob Bourne and John Tonelli both tied Bryan Trottier for the team lead in playoff goals (6)...The Isles recorded their sixth straight road victory (2 in LA, 3 in Boston, 1 in Buffalo)

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 
2nd round vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13) 

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 10 Games
Bryan Trottier 6-9-15
John Tonelli 6-5-11
Bob Bourne 6-4-10
Butch Goring 2-7-9

Isles +/- Leaders thru 10 Games
Dave Langevin +10
Bryan Trottier +8
Stefan Persson +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 10 Games
Garry Howatt 63
Duane Sutter 46
Clark Gillies 44

The Isles had guaranteed themselves a split of the opening pair in Buffalo.  They had never won the first two games of the semi-finals before this; they would have a shot two nights later.  It would just take a while.

We'll pick up the story (with lots of video) on "May Day, May Day" (May 1st).

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