Perhaps, as Boston Bruin Coach Don Cherry once recommended for an equalizer in similar circumstances involving the Washington Capitals, they ought to make the Montreal Canadiens wear five-pound weights on their skates in the Stanley Cup final.
The Canadians, playing what coach Scotty Bowman called "our best game at home," had an easy time with the Bruins, 4-1, last night in the opener of the best-of-seven final series.
Boston managed only 16 shots, two in the second period, and only a magnificent effort by veteran goalie Gerry Cheevers prevented greater embarrassment on the scoreboard.
Cherry, who had accused Philadelphia Coach Fred Shero of "whining" after a tough semifinal defeat in Boston, charged referee Bob Myers with just about everything in his postgame remarks last night. Even Cherry, however, was forced to concede that "we didn't deserve to win."
The Bruins had discussed the importance of scoring the first goal and they got it, Brad Park deflecting a Bobby Schmautz shot as 2:31 of the first period with Montreal's Pierre Mondou in the penalty box.
Two minutes later, Montreal had pulled even. Five minutes after that, the Canadiens had moved ahead to stay. Both goals were scored with Boston defenseman Rick Smith in the penalty box, first for tackling Doug Jarvis in front of the Boston net and later for slashing Larry Robinson on the arm.
Five seconds after the first penalty, the Canadiens' power play, best in the NHL during the regular season, victimized Cheevers. Guy Lafleur scored his eighth playoff goal from the hashmarks between the faceoff circles, after winning the faceoff and receiving Guy Lapionte's deflected return pass.
It took 32 seconds after Smith's second penalty for Yvon Lambert, left unguarded in front, to steer a Lafleur pass past Cheevers.
Between the Montreal goals, Boston's Rick Middleton was slammed into the glass and knocked unconscious by Guy Lapointe. Montreal was already shorthanded and Myers did not penalize Lapointe.
Cherry, after Lambert's goal, showed his anger by holding players off the ice, than making late substitutions.
What Myers stopped the practice, Cherry leaped on the Boston bench, screaming and earning a bench minor penalty.
"As soon as we're ahead, they get two power-play goals, bing, bing," Cherry said. "I could see it coming. Same building, same thing. I don't know why they do it. They don't need the help."
Boston managed its first shot of the second period after 13 minutes and that apparently aroused the Canadiens because Steve Shuttt made a perfect windup connection with Jacques Lemaire's pass for a 3-1 lead at 13:54.
Yvan Cournoyer's breakaway wrapped up the scoring in the third period. It was his 64th Stanley Cup goal, placing him fourth on the all-time list.
Cheeved stopped breakaways by both Lafleur and Lambert and dove across the crease to smother a Cournoyer rebound. He also seemed to throw his stick at the puck on a Lemaire breakaway, a maneuver that calls for a penalty shot, but Meyers declined to judge him.
After the game, the Bruins flew home to celebrate Mother's Day. They are expected back for game two on Tuesday.