At the Boston Garden on April 2, 1969, the Bruins and Leafs began their quarter-final series with a bang.
There were numerous highlights in the opener.
To start, this was the encounter where Leaf defenceman Pat Quinn laid out Bobby Orr in the second period and the fans quickly and aggressively turned on Quinn.
Sent to the sin-bin to serve a 5-minute major for elbowing, Quinn was verbally and physically abused by the Boston faithful.
Bruins president, Weston Adams Jr., was quoted as saying, “they’ll kill him,” in reference to the crowds response to Quinn’s hit on Orr.
A police officer said, “The fans here don’t like anybody to touch Orr.” He went on to say, “to me though it looked like a clean check.”
Quinn shared this assessment.
“It was a nice clean check. Maybe the people thought it was dirty, but like I said, I like to hit,” Quinn told reporters.
In the third period, all hell broke loose.
A massive brawl began when netminder, Gerry Cheevers, cross-checked Leaf forward Forbes Kennedy, who in turn, applied the lumber on Cheevers.
Then, the fun began.
Kennedy took on Ted Green, Johnny McKenzie and back-up goalie Eddie Johnston, who left the bench to come to Cheevers aid.
When he got to Kennedy, Johnston placed him in a bear hug by the glass and this allowed the fans to lean over and plant some shots on Kennedy. This wasn’t Johnston’s intention, as he later explained that he was trying to pull his opponent away from the glass.
Also, one of Kennedy’s punches landed on linesman George Ashley.
Forbes Kennedy went into the record book for amazing 8 penalties and serving 38-minutes.
Six of Boston’s ten goals came on the power play. Phil Esposito, who scored four with the man-advantage, also added two assists. His six points equalled a playoff record for most points in a game. He shared this feat with the Canadiens Dickie Moore.
It truly was a wild game and the mix of Quinn’s hit on Orr, the huge brawl and the 10-0 beating the Bruins put on the Leafs, made it one to remember.