Rangers and Montreal Revive Historic Rivalry

The Rangers are 7-7 in playoff series against the Canadiens since 1930, or 10-9 against Montreal teams, including the long-defunct Maroons.

Comments: 12

  1. This piece brought back memories of the final game of the 1967 Rangers-Montreal series, perhaps the most exciting sports event I've ever seen. The Rangers had qualified for the playoffs that year for the first time since the 1961-62 season and Rangers' fans were aching for a playoff win. I was sitting in the very last row of the upper deck in the Old Garden, with nearly a third of the ice obscured from my seat. The Times' Gerald Eskenazi wrote that it was "the most emotionally charged hockey game in years." It was closely fought throughout with great goal-tending on both ends, and it went into overtime at one goal a piece. Only a few minutes into overtime, a shot by Red Berenson, then a rather obscure, unproven Rangers forward, hit the left goal post head on and caromed directly back at him. A fraction of an inch to the right and the Garden would have absolutely exploded. Instead there was a gasp of despair and to no one's surprise the Canadiens took little time in scoring the winning goal. Despite the disappointment and the end of the season, the Rangers received an ovation rarely heard by a losing team. It's been nearly fifty years and I remember it all like yesterday.

  2. PED and Others:
    Thanks for the accurate description of Game 4 of the 1967 Rangers' semifinal Cup series against Montreal. Likewise, "It's been nearly fifty years and I remember it all like yesterday." When Period 3 ended, a couple with seats behind the Ranger goal had to leave and gave us their ticket stubs so that we could sit not too far from the ice, thus enabling us to see Berenson's shot cling off the goalpost at the other end at near-ice level and, unfortunately, to see John Ferguson's goal hit the net webbing. And, as PED indicated, the crowd arose spontaneously in unison to give the Rangers a prolonged ovation as the players of the teams exchanged handshakes in the traditional queue.
    One other thing I still remember clearly is getting off the subway at 50th Street to buy the tickets some days earlier. There was a line coming out from the front of the ("Old") Garden that we stood on, but only for a short time because we were told it was for tickets to the Knicks' playoff series and the Rangers' tickets were being sold on the side street (49th Street?). Thus, we walked around the corner and down the street. And walked, and walked some more. The line was so long (one estimate later put it at about 10k persons!) that by the time we got to the ticket window and bought our tickets for Game 4, between five and six hours had passed!

    As the saying goes, it turned out to be "well worth the wait"!

  3. As a Bruins fan this is a difficult choice. I will go with the poutine eaters only because it would be more satisfying to see them destroyed by Chicago or the Kings.

  4. I've been a Habs fan since age 7 when my father mentioned how good this kid Dryden was doing in the playoffs in Montreal, not an easy task for a born and raised New Yorker, especially in the pre-cable/satelite days. On cloudy nights, standing by the bathroom window with a transistor radio, I could listen to the French broadcast of the games live, listening closely for 'Quelle a belle arret!' or simply 'En but!'. After years of pestering, my father took me to the Garden for Saturday matinee game, only to find Bunny in net as Dryden was a healthy scratch. Crushed.
    I made up for it as an adult by frequenting the Forum, including every playoff game in '93, again not easy feat living in NYC.
    So today, the Roy jersey is out of retirement and I'm hoping for a repeat of '79. The Canadiens came into that series exhausted from a brutal 7 gamer with Boston (I've held up 7 fingers to Don Cheery every time our paths have crossed in Montreal, with the question, 'Grapes, what's this?).

    21 years is way too long, Go Habs Go!

  5. I remember the Rangers' run in 1978-79, when they made it to the finals against Montreal. The first two games were on the road in Montreal. They won Game One by a 5-1 score, and were leading the second Game 2-0 early on. I sat there, thinking to myself, "can this really be happening? Are we going to (finally?) cruise to the Cup?"

    And then the bottom fell out, and we lost 4 games to 1.

    That was a great Ranger team. But Montreal was better - period.

    Let's hope we get a different result this time around. Go Blueshirts!!!

  6. I had season tickets in 1985-86 when the Rangers made a surprising run in the playoffs. Rangers had a PP in OT in game # 3 when Claude Lemieux scored the winner on a breakaway. Willie Huber fanned on the puck after a face off win and James Patrick collided with the linesman unable to catch Lemieux. Both Lemieux and Roy (both rookies) ended the Rangers season and propelled them to the Stanley Cup.

  7. ..in this, a mercenary era of athletes and broadcasting rights, it touches the heart to remember the days when there was more at stake than just the money. This Montreal-Rangers series promises to be another fascinating chapter in the novel of an riveting rivalry.

  8. The Rangers deserve another Stanley Cup. I don't want to wait another 54 years to bring Lord Stanley's silverware back to the big apple. Montreal and the Rangers rivalry was big in the late 70s, early 80s. But in the history of hockey, there is no greater rivalry than the Rangers and the Bruins. Let's go Rangers!

  9. Second paragraph needs some editing.

  10. How can you bring up that '71-72 Rangers team, and Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield, without mentioning their linemate Jean Ratelle? He was the team's leading scorer and neck-and-neck with Phil Esposito for the league scoring title until going down with a broken ankle with 15 games left in the regular season. I'm still convinced that, had Ratelle not been injured, the Rangers would have beaten the Big Bad Bruins—Espo and the incomparable Bobby Orr notwithstanding—for the Stanley Cup.

  11. For 20 years Lord Stanley's Cup has been hijacked by the hockey heathens to the south. It is the supreme patriotic duty for the Montreal Canadiens to repatriate our hockey crown.

  12. The Ranger did not play the Canadiens in the 72 playoffs. Montreal did not make the playoffs that season.