In net that famous 1951 night when Bill Barilko scored the Stanley Cup winning goal - the last goal of his life - Gerry McNeil stood in the Montreal net. Here's how McNeil remembers the 1951 Stanley Cup playoffs:
"I always look back on that 1951 series, even though we lost. I got as much of a thrill out of that series as I got out of winning the Stanley Cup. We were only a third place club and not the strong Canadiens team of a few years later. In the semi-finals we beat Detroit and they had won the Cup the year before. In that series we won two overtime games in a row and then we went into the final against Toronto and it seemed hard to believe. In game after game after game we were playing another overtime.
"I don't think its ever happened before or since. It had to play hell with the nerves, especially for the goalkeepers. There was no leeway at all in any of the games. It was either a tie game or you were behind by one goal or ahead by one goal. The other players can take some of their tension out by slamming some guy into the boards but in the net you just stand there and hope the next shot doesn't hit the post and bounce in.
"Barilko let go a slap shot. At that time most of the shooters were using the wrist shot. The slap shot is not difficult for the goalkeeper because it is telegraphed ahead of time, and if the goalkeeper plays his angle he should stop it. But that one got by me. I didn't know it was Barilko. Half the time I never knew who scored. I didn't give a damn who it was; it was a goal. When the shot went in, the Maple Leafs were jumping all over the ice and we were down on the ice. But now I am proud of what we achieved. I mean that was something. knocking out the Cup champions in the semi-finals and then five straight overtime games in the finals. We were achieving something."
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