The 12th chapter of the storied Montreal-Detroit playoff rivalry headlines the quarterfinal round of hockey's Stanley Cup battling, beginning tonight in Montreal, Boston, Long Island and Philadelphia.
The Canadiens and Red Wings are best remembered for showers of octopi and the 1955 Forum riot that followed the suspension of Montreal's Maurice Richard by Clarence Campbell.
For nine years, from 1952 through 1960, only Montreal and Detroit drank from the Cup. Since then, the Canadiens have maintained their high level of performance, while the Red Wings have plumbed the depths.
This is Detroit's first playoff appearance in eight years and its first series against Montreal since 1966, when Red Wing goalie Roger Crozier now a Capital trouble shooter, was adjudged the MVP even though the Canadiens captured the final seris in six games.
While these teams hold the spotlight, the closest competition should come from Buffalo and Philadelphia, who on May 27, 1975, met in the latest and foggiest final ever, with the Flyers winning the Cup in Memorial AUditorium. This season both teams collected 105 points, Philadelphia earning the home-ice advantage on the basis of one more victory.
Here is a rundown on the quarterfinals, all best-of-seven series with a Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday or Sunday format:
Detroit at Montreal
While the Red Wings were eliminating Atlanta in two straight, the Canadiens had eight days to review their final regular-season game, a 4-0 loss in Detroit. It was the Red Wings' only victory over Montreal in six games this season, with another tied.
Montreal has a history of coming out flying in the first game of a playoff series, just to let the opposition know who's boss. This time, the Canadiens have even more incentive than usual.
There is no suspense about the eventual winner and the Red Wings have already enjoyed a far more successful season than anyone except General Manager Ted Lindsay expected in September. This situation could work two ways - the Wigns could figure they've gone as far as possible and fold, or, with nothing really to lose, they could be loose enough to give the Canadiens trouble.
Radio: 760, unless the Tigers are playing a night game.
Chicago at Boston
Both teams won division championships, so they have been resting since April 9. This is to the Black Hawks' benefit, since they wer riddled by injuries during the last month of the regular season.
Boston's Don Cherry and Chicago's Bob Pulford are the leading candidates to challenge Detroit's Bobby Kromm for coach-of-the-year honors.
Neither team is blessed with great individuals on the ice, although the Bruins' Terry O'Reilly placed seventh in NHL scoring with 90 points. This will be a workers' series, fought in the corners and slot, nothing pretty but contested without quarter.
Chicago upset the Bruins in a three-game series in 1975, with goalie Tony Esposito a memorable hero. Over seven games, however, the Hawks cannot expect sufficient miracles to beat Boston.
Radio: 1030 for Bruins fans, 1000 for Hawk backers.
Toronto at New York Islanders
In the teams' last meeting, at Toronto March 22, the Islanders destroyed the Leafs, 6-2. Neither club is likely to forget that one, and the Islanders should maintain their regular-season dominance, when they won three in a row after a one-goal setback.
In contrast to Boston-Chicago, this is a series of stars. The Islanders are led by defenseman Denis Potvin, a 94-point scorer who deserves consideration as the league's MVP. Center Bryan Trottier rolled up 123 points, his rookie right wing MIke Bossy scored 53 goals, and the big line's left wing and team captain, Clark Gillies, collected 85 points.
Toronto is led by center Darryl Sittler, 117 points, and defense-man Borje Salming, 60 assists. Lanny McDonald, Sittler's right wing had 47 goals, but late-season acquisition Dan Maloney has thus far failed to lift the line to the stature of that Islanders trio.
Radio: 1430, but it's pretty weak.
Buffalo at Philadelphia.
The Sabres captured three of four meetings, with the other tied. In the process, Buffalo won its first-ever game at the Spectrum, following 20 unsuccessful tries. Goalie Don Edwards permitted the Flyers only five goals in the four contests and recorded one shutout.
Philadelphia has had problems scoring against the league's better teams and, in two playoff games against Colorado, it didn't roll it up against one of the poorer clubs, either.
That loss to Washington in the last week of the regular season cost Buggalo home ice in this series and it could be the determing factor in what promises to be a close, highly competitive series that leaves the winner in no shape to cope with Montreal in the semifinals.
Radio: 610, with frequent fade-outs.