April 05, 2013

Five Empty Net Goals In One Game


April 5th, 1970. The Chicago Blackhawks score 5 empty net goals en route to 10-2 walloping of the Montreal Canadiens. Needless to say this game was one of the more bizarre games in the history of the NHL!

Montreal needed a win or a tie in this game in order to leap-frog the New York Rangers in the standings and  qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. But failing that, the Canadiens also held another tie-breaker over the New Yorkers based on the rules of the day. Even with a loss, Montreal could still make the playoffs as long as the team scored 5 goals in the game against Chicago.

You see, Montreal and New York held identical 38-22-16 records. At that time the next tie-breaker was goals scored. Montreal could lose against Chicago 20-5 and still make the playoffs as long as they scored 5 goals.

Chicago's Pit Martin scored a hat trick in the game, giving the Hawks a 5-2 lead half way through the third period. That's when Montreal coach Claude Ruel took desperate measures and began pulling goalie Rogie Vachon every time the Canadiens entered the Chicago zone.

Needless to say it didn't work. Montreal never did score another goal. Cliff Koroll, Eric Nesterenko, Dennis  Hull, Bobby Hull and Gerry Pinder all did on Montreal's unprotected net!

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