June 11, 2012

Devils Hope To Duplicate 1942 Maple Leafs' Comeback

So what is the better story heading into game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final?


Since it is still likely Los Angeles will close out the series eventually, the Kings have a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in game 6. What a Hollywood ending that would be!


But the New Jersey narrative is such an improbable event that you can not help but cheer for them. Led by future Hall of Famer and everyone's favorite Martin Brodeur, the underdog New Jersey Devils, down 3-0 in the series to the 16-2 Los Angeles Kings, are attempting to do the near-impossible and come back and win the Stanley Cup. For fans without a rooting interest, that is the story many want to see.


I say near-impossible, because it has happened in the Stanley Cup Final once before. The year was 1942. The NHL witnessed the greatest comeback in the history of professional sports in North America.


Entering game 4, the Toronto Leafs were on the verge of imminent elimination. The Detroit Red Wings had convincing victories in each of the first three contests, and held the series in a 3-0 stranglehold. The championship was theirs for the taking.


Cue the Leafs comeback. Coach Hap Day benched regulars for game four and inserted rookies who responded to win game after game, coming all the way back to take game 7! They were the first team in hockey history to win a series after being down 3 games to none. Only the 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers could duplicate this rare feat, albeit not in the Final.


Benched players included goal scorer Gord Drillon, and hard hitting defenseman Bucko McDonald. Picking up the slack was speedy Gaye Stewart and, most notably, Don Metz. Metz took's Drillon's spot on the top line. That line also featured brother Nick Metz on the opposite wing.

Centering the Metzs was the outstanding Syl Apps. He tied the NHL record of 14 points in a post-season. He would score 7 points in the finals, including a 2 goal, 5 point night in game 5 against the Wings.

Apps was outscored in the final series by both Billy Taylor and Sweeney Schriner, who scored twice in the 3-1 game 7 victory. Goaltender Turk Broda was so good in the final 4 games of the finals that they actually engraved his name on the Cup twice. It was actually an oversight.



If Martin Brodeur can lead the New Jersey Devils all the way back against the Kings, maybe they should engrave Brodeur's name on the Cup twice, too.


Here's some rare video footage from 1942:

1 comment:

Chazac said...

Hi Joe ...

I beg to differ but after the history between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees and the fact the Yankess had beaten the Sox in the 2003 playoffs with the Sox poised to take game 7 when Grady Little let Pedro Martinez talk him out of taking him out of the game)the Sox comeback being down 0-3 in 2004 and ONE OUT away from elimination - and the Sox launching a comeback win against THE GREATEST CLOSER in history (Mariano Rivera) - and then winning the next 3 games !!!! Come-on now .... THAT has to be the 'Greatest comeback in North America Professional Sports History'

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