(Photo: Danny Goshtigian, Boston Globe, as found on Newspapers.com)

For the Boston Bruins, 1970 was a big year. It seemed that the St. Louis Blues were stuck playing second fiddle. But for one night, November 5, 1970, the Blues got one over on the Bruins.

The game would be the first matchup between the two teams since the Bruins had swept the Blues to win the Stanley Cup earlier that year. The Bruins had not won the Cup since 1941. To go out on a high note, their coach, Harry Sinden, retired, and Tom Johnson replaced him. Then, Al Arbour switched from playing to coaching the Blues, replacing Scotty Bowman. Both teams had a decent record going into the game with the Bruins at 7-1-1 and the Blues at 5-2-3. Most importantly though, the Bruins had not lost a home game since January 17, 1970, so their unbeaten streak stood at 29 games (24-0-5).

For a sold-out crowd of 14,994, Eddie Johnston started in the Bruins net while Glenn Hall started in the Blues’. The game began as a “close-checking contest” without a single score until Blues center Frank St. Marseille “took a drop pass from Jimmy Roberts and blasted a half-slap shot to Eddie Johnston’s left side at 16:57 of the second period.” One humorous highlight of the game occurred when Blues defenseman Noel Picard mistakenly ended a shift at the Bruins bench. On the ice, Hall “continued nimble and sure-handed in the St. Louis net during the power play” and even managed to hold off a “three-on-none rush, with Orr, Stanfield and Bucyk going in unopposed.” In a remarkable turn of events, the Blues switched their goalies, and Ernie Wakely took over at the start of the third period. His trainer announced that “Hall was suffering from heat exhaustion.” He had shutout the Bruins by blocking 25 shots, and Wakely upheld his standards by blocking all 13 further shots. Meanwhile, Johnston had made 23 saves when the Bruins pulled their goalie. Jimmy Roberts scored on the empty net with two seconds to spare. With a score of 2-0, the Blues had shutout the Bruins and won their first ever game at Boston Garden.

The Bruins did not stay down for long. As of November 22, they began another unbeaten streak that lasted for 27 home games (26-0-1). The Blues managed to tie the Bruins, at St. Louis on November 24, but lost the other four match-ups between them. Unsurprisingly, the Bruins won the East Division, but to everyone’s surprise, they lost the first round of playoffs (to the Montreal Canadiens). St. Louis placed second in the West Division, but they too lost their first round (to the Minnesota North Stars). The following season, the Bruins won another Stanley Cup, while the Blues have not yet returned to the finals.

 Additional Sources:
  • Tom Fitzgerald, “Blues stop Bruins’ Garden Streak,” Boston Globe, 6 Nov. 1970, p. 29-30.
  • Brian McFarlane, Brian McFarlane’s History of Hockey (Champaign, Ill.: Sports Publishing Inc., c1997), 110-113.

 

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