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The Skinny: Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 82 Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4    On to the Playoffs! Simon Holmstrom scored the winning goal with 5:3...

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 10, 1980 -- Isles 5, Buffalo 2 (Isles win best-of-7 series 4-2)

40 Years Ago Tonight

By Eric Hornick

Game 6
Isles 5, Buffalo 2
The Isles advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their history with a 5-2 win over Buffalo, as they clinched their semi-final series, 4 games to 2.

Gilbert Perreault had given the Sabres a 2-0 first period lead with a pair of goals -- it gave Perreault five goals in the last three periods at the Coliseum and six goals in the series – all at the Coliseum.  But those were the last goals that Buffalo would score in the series.

John Tonelli got one of the goals back, at 8:08 of the first period and the Isles got even on a power play goal by Mike Bossy 31 seconds into the second period.

Bob Lorimer played his college hockey
 at Michigan Tech (MTU)
“We were a little too nervous at the start, and the crowd’s noise didn’t help us get going in the right direction. We were too hyped up already”, Mike Bossy told the NY Times Parton Keese.

So who got what turned out to be the series-clinching goal?  It turned out to be Bob Lorimer, whose first goal of the playoffs made it 3-2 midway through the second period.  “I went into the slot, and Butchie (Goring) got the puck to me. I had a foot of open net, and I quickly put it in.”  It was one of three playoff goals Lorimer scored for the Isles.  

Duane Sutter gave the Isles some insurance at 11:50 of the third period and Bob Bourne completed the scoring with a shorthanded, empty net tally. 

Billy Smith finished with 22 saves as the Isles eliminated the Sabres for the third time in five years. Smith recorded all 12 wins in those three series; he finished his career with more playoff wins against only one opponent – the Rangers (18-5).

Here's a condensed version of the CBC broadcast:

The Scoring:
1st Period
02:26 BUF Gilbert Perreault (9) Bill Hajt, Richie Dunn
06:53 BUF Gilbert Perreault (10) John Van Boxmeer
08:08 NYI John Tonelli (7) Duane Sutter, Stefan Persson

2nd Period
00:31 NYI PP Mike Bossy (6) Bob Bourne, Bryan Trottier
11:11 NYI Bob Lorimer (1) Bob Bourne, Butch Goring
3rd Period
11:50 NYI Duane Sutter (2) Clark Gillies, Butch Goring
19:00 NYI SH, EN Bob Bourne (10)

The Series:Game 1: Isles 4, Buffalo 2
Game 2: Isles 2, Buffalo 1 (OT)
Game 3: Isles 7, Buffalo 4
Game 4: Buffalo 7, Isles 4
Game 5: Buffalo 2, Isles 0
May 10 - Isles 5, Buffalo 2
(Isles win series, 4-2)


The Isles outshot Buffalo 31-24....  Billy Smith improved to 11-2 in the playoffs while Bob Sauve fell to 6-2... Bob Bourne's team-leading 10th goal was the Isles' 6th shorthanded goal of the 1980 playoffs. The six shorthanded goals tie the then-NHL record set the previous year by the Rangers...Gilbert Perreault led the Sabres  in the series with six goals and eight points (6-2-8); Bob Bourne led the Isles with five goals and seven points (5-2-7). Bourne already had ten goals, just five shy of the 15 he had scored in the regular season.  Seven of the 10 were special teams tallies.  It was the only time in his playoff career he scored at least 10 goals....Bob Lorimer's winning goal was the only one he scored in the 1980 playoffs and the only winning goal of his playoff career.  Lorimer would scored one more goal the following post-season before being dealt to the Colorado Rockies for a draft pick. The Isles used that pick to select Pat LaFontaine!

Overtime is Our Time!

1st round vs LA: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buf: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 14 GamesBryan Trottier 8-13-21
Bob Bourne 10-6-16
Bob Nystrom 6-8-14

Isles +/- Leaders thru 14 GamesBob Lorimer +14
Denis Potvin +11
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring/John Tonelli +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 14 GamesGarry Howatt 63
Gord Lane 57
Clark Gillies 50
Duane Sutter 46

In their fourth try, the Isles had finally advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.  Waiting for them were the Philadelphia Flyers, who had eliminated Minnesota in five games.

The 1979-80 Flyers had had a tremendous season, one which started with a 35-game unbeaten streak (25-0-10). The teams would meet in the playoffs for the first time since the 1975 Semi-Finals. We'll pick up the story on Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of the first Stanley Cup Final game in Isles history.

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