Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memories of Ken Dryden

While watching Montreal goalie Dustin Tobarski seize the opportunity provided to him when Carey Price was sidelined, I can't help but think of another Montreal netminder.

Back in 1971, I watched on television as Ken Dryden made an incredible stop on Chicago's Jim Pappin in game seven of the Stanley Cup final.

My mind flashed back to Dryden's save after watching Tobarski rob Martin St. Louis in game three of Montreal's series against the New York Rangers.

Dryden's first appearance in a Canadiens regular season contest came on March 14, 1971. On the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dryden allowed only one goal in Montreal's 5-1 victory. For the record, the future Hall of Fame goalie gave-up his first NHL goal to first-time scorer John Stewart.

"It will be a matter of feeling at home from game to game," Dryden said following his debut. When Dryden called-it-a-day following the 1978-79 campaign he had participated in 397 regular season encounters and 112 playoff games.

Of all the stops Dryden made during his brilliant career, many, like myself, will never forget the one against Pappin. Dryden worked his magic in a pressure packed situation, with Montreal holding a slim 3-2 advantage over the Hawks at Chicago Stadium.

Trailing 2-0 after Chicago goals by Dennis Hull and Danny O'Shea, Montreal bounced back with three tallies. Henri Richard gave the Habs the lead when he scored early in the final frame.

This set the scene for Dryden's showdown with Pappin late in period three.

The following account of Dryden's heroics appeared the next day in The Gazette and was written by Pat Curran:

Hardly a fan in the 21,000-fan-jammed Stadium could believe how Dryden had stopped Jim Pappin at the side of his net late in the finale. Magnuson had shot from the right boards for a save by the giant Montreal goalie and Pappin took the rebound three feet out. He snapped his shot, only to find Dryden's big leg in the way.

For his efforts in the '71 playoffs, Dryden was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy.

For a young hockey fan he provided a lasting memory.


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