This Day In Sabres History – Batman And The Fog Game

Robert scores in OT to give Buffalo their first Cup Final victory


The Buffalo Sabres have had very few glorious postseason moments in their 54-year history, but May 20, 1975 may rank pretty high on that list. The Sabres made the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their history, just five years after gaining entry into the NHL and selecting future Hall-of-Famer Gilbert Perreault first overall.

After winning the Adams Division and beating Chicago and Montreal, the Sabres lost the first two games of the Final to the reigning Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers at the Spectrum 4-1 on May 15, and 2-1 on May 18.

The series moved to Memorial Auditorium on a balmy late spring evening in Buffalo. With temperatures in the 80s and a building with no air conditioning, “The Aud” became a sweatbox and the contest had to be stopped at various points during regulation and overtime because the cold ice and humid conditions created a fog that made it difficult for the players to see.

Also during the game, a bat was flying around the players prior to a faceoff in the Flyers zone and Sabres winger Jim Lorentz swatted and killed it with his stick, earning the nickname “Batman” for the incident.

Less than four minutes into the contest, the Flyers took a 2-0 lead on goals by Gary Dornhoefer and Don Saleski. The Sabres tied the game on goals from Danny Gare and Rick Martin 17 seconds apart, but Mick MacLeish responded in short order to put Philadelphia back up 3-2. The clubs exchanged goals in the second and low-scoring defenseman Bill Hajt tied the game midway through the third to force overtime.

The famed French Connection connected on the game-winner, as Martin and Perreault set up Rene Robert at 18:29 of overtime for a shot that beat Conn Smythe Trophy winner Bernie Parent.

“I saw Robert’s shot too late for me to come out and stop it. I’m surprised the overtime took so long. It was hard to see the puck from the red line.” Parent said. “If three men came down and one made a good pass from the red line, you couldn’t see the puck. A good shot from the red line could have won it.”

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