In a shocking developement on a night he was to be honored, the great Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion, passed away Saturday morning succumbing to stomach cancer. They raised his number 5 to the rafters right next to his father-in-law Howie Morenz as his family, ex-teammates and fans looked on. There they were lined up to honor him, Ranger nemeses of the past. Dickie Moore, Henri 'Pocket Rocket' Richard, Guy Talbot, Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire and many more who gave me many nights of agita back in the fifties and sixties. Bernie broke in with the Canadiens against the Rangers in December of 1950 and scored his first goal in his first game against Chuck Raynor that would end in a 1-1 tie.
How could the Rangers win on a night like this? Bernie played from 1950-51 to 1963-64 with Montreal and after two years off played with the Rangers from 1966 to 1968. In 117 games with the Rangers Geoffrion scored twenty two goals and forty one assists. The following year he took over the coaching duties of the Rangers compiling 22 wins 18 losses and five ties before resigning because of ill health. What a great player and a great personality and character. Condolences to his wife and family. God bless and rest in peace.
The Rangers since their inception back in 1926 are 179-310-94-1 against Montreal. At Montreal they are 61-191-40-0 including one win this year. This would be one tough team for the Rangers to play against in the playoffs. Right now, though, any team will be tough for the Rangers to play. The Rangers have now lost four in a row after achieving a seven game winning streak after the Flyer win. Since that game the Rangers have scored four goals in four games. The opposition has scored seven. The opposition has devised a scheme to stop Jagr and it is working as the Rangers are firing blanks. They had a great opportunity opening up the third period with a five on three for 1:42 but they couldn't score. Renney went with five forwards and for some reason chose not to use Sandis Ozolinsh on the point on this sequence.
The goalies put on a clinic. Cristobal Huet made 26 saves in picking up his fifth shutout in the past twelve games. The Prince played great making 23 saves, many spectacular and getting beat on a shot by Rivet that deflected off of a Ranger. The Rangers were 0-4 on the power play and are now 1-21. Montreal was 1-6 on their power play. The refs seemed to miss a couple of other penalties especially a flagrant hold and take down of Petr Sykora in front of the net in the second period. But when you are firing blanks it doesn't matter how many penalties you get.
ICINGS: Both teams wore the number 5 on their helmets. Jagr gave a present to Geoffrion's wife Maureen which read something to the effect of a Ranger Player, a Ranger Coach and a Friend, Forever. Nice touch. Boom Boom was credited with developing the first slapshot. The final 24, post Olympic Ranger count is 1-3-0-1.
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