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Greatest Games: Buffalo Sabres – Bad Weather And A Dead Bat

The Sabres won the first-ever Stanley Cup game in Buffalo. It had overtime, thick fog and a flying rodent.

No. 1 – May 20, 1975 – Buffalo 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)

In Buffalo, it is simply known as “The Fog Game.” Fans and former Sabres still talk about the night of May 20, 1975, inside a steamy Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, like it happened yesterday.

The first Stanley Cup game hosted in Buffalo, a wild 5-4 overtime win against Philly, is seared into the memory of anyone who played in it or watched it. But before Rene Robert of the Sabres beat goalie Bernie Parent for Buffalo’s first win of the series, Game 3 began earning its iconic status thanks to thick fog and a dead bat. “It became an epic game because of all those different things, the bat, the fog, the great game, overtime,” said Sabres blueliner Bill Hajt, whose third-period goal tied the game.

The heat outside – a Cup final game had never been played so late – and the humid Aud’s lack of air conditioning created a surreal scene. The fog enveloped the ice the entire game, making it difficult for anyone to see. Referee Lloyd Gilmour regularly stopped the game so the players could skate around to break it up. Then before a first-period faceoff, Sabres center Jim Lorentz swatted and killed an annoying bat that was buzzing around. “All this just doesn’t happen in one game, and it did,” Hajt said.

Robert won it late in the first overtime, utilizing what he called “a perfect shot” through the fog after Gilbert Perreault shot the puck into the right corner. “You can try that 1,000 times over, and you’ll probably never score once,” Robert said. “I had a gap of about six inches.”

The memories of the most famous night in Sabres history will stay with Robert forever. “I mean, how can you forget an historic game like that?”

No. 2 – April 24, 1993 – Buffalo 6, Boston 5 (OT)
May Day! May Day! Brad May’s OT-winner, famously called by play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, gave the Sabres their first playoff series win in 10 years.

No. 3 – Feb. 22, 2007 – Buffalo 6, Ottawa 5 (SO)
A wild brawl and a goalie fight – Martin Biron took on Ray Emery, who also fought Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters – highlighted shootout win over rival.

GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME

Dominik Hasek
April 27, 1994 – Buffalo 1, New Jersey 0 (4OT)
Hasek made an astonishing 70 saves over more than 125 minutes of hockey, outdueling a Devils rookie goalie named Martin Brodeur inside the Aud.

For more than six hours, as Buffalo faced playoff elimination in a scoreless tie, Hasek stopped every shot that came his way. Dave Hannan secured the 1-0 victory in the fourth overtime, ending the longest game in Sabres history. The 70 saves still stand as an NHL record for the most ever in a playoff shutout.

Buffalo lost 2-1 in Game 7, but two months later Hasek claimed the first of his six Vezina Trophies.

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