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Exact Dates/Defending Champions Ousted

April 18, 2021

Maybe it happened before or since, but surely it happened exactly 50 years ago today and tomorrow, when on those consecutive days, first the defending NHL champion and then the defending NBA champion were ousted in a decisive 7th game, played in their home arena.

On Sunday April 18, 1971-not even rookie status (he had not played enough regular season games) goaltender, Ken Dryden’s brilliant 42 save performance coupled with a 2 goal, one assist effort from Frank Mahovlich (brother Peter also had an assist in the game) led the third place Montreal Canadiens to a (4-2) win in game 7, vs the defending champion and record breaking Boston Bruins.

That game was in the afternoon, televised nationally by CBS, with the great Dan Kelly doing play by play, ably assisted by analyst, Jim Gordon. (A link to highlights plus post-game comments from Bruins’ greats Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito is included at the end of this post).

On Monday night April 19, 1971–ABC went live (Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and maybe even “Dandy” Don Meredith appeared on the telecast) and the Baltimore Bullets were upset winners, vs the defending champion New York Knicks, in game 7 of their semi-final series.

Both the Bruins and Knicks won a second ’70’s crown, not long after, the Bruins in ’72 and the Knicks in ’73.

Since that point, the lone title for either team was the Bruins’ 2011 triumph.

 

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