70-71BufSab.jpg
1970–71 Buffalo Sabres · NHL
Division 5th East
1970–71 record 24–39–15
Goals for 217
Goals against 291
General Manager Punch Imlach
Coach Punch Imlach
Captain Floyd Smith
Arena Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
Average attendance 9,721
Team Leaders
Goals Gilbert Perreault (38)
Assists Phil Goyette (46)
Points Gilbert Perreault (72)
Penalties in minutes Tracy Pratt (179)
Wins Joe Daley (12)
Goals against average Dave Dryden (3.37)
← Seasons →
- 1971–72

The 1970–71 Buffalo Sabres season was the Sabres' first season in the National Hockey League. The Sabres finished 5th in the East Division and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Off-season[edit | edit source]

The Buffalo Sabres, along with the Vancouver Canucks, joined the NHL in the 1970–71 season. The Sabres' first owners were Seymour and Northrup Knox, scions of a family long prominent in western New York. The team's name, selected through a fan contest, was chosen because it was known as a weapon carried by leaders, and it is also swift and strong on offense as well as defense. The Knoxes had tried twice before to get an NHL team, first when the NHL expanded in 1967, and then unsuccessfully attempting to buy the Oakland Seals with the intent of moving them to Buffalo. At the time of their creation, the Buffalo Sabres exercised their option to create their own AHL farm team, the Cincinnati Swords.

The Sabres had the first pick in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, which they used to select Gilbert Perreault.

NHL Draft[edit | edit source]

See also: 1970 NHL Amateur Draft
Round # Player Nationality College/Junior/Club Team
1 1 Gilbert Perreault Flag of Canada Canada Montreal Junior Canadiens (OHA)
2 15 Butch Deadmarsh Flag of Canada Canada Brandon Wheat Kings (WCHL)
3 29 Steve Cuddie Flag of Canada Canada Toronto Marlboros (OHA)
4 43 Randy Wyrozub Flag of Canada Canada Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)
5 57 Mike Morton Shawinigan Bruins (QMJHL)
6 71 Mike Keeler Flag of Canada Canada Niagara Falls Flyers (OHA)
7 84 Tim Regan Flag of the United States United States Boston University Terriers (ECAC)
8 97 Doug Rombough Flag of Canada Canada St. Catharines Black Hawks (OHA)
9 107 Luc Nadeau Drummondville Rangers (QMJHL)

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Buffalo's first logo, used from 1970–96.

After being fired by the Leafs, it was expected that Imlach would join the NHL's new Vancouver franchise. Imlach, Joe Crozier, and Foster Hewitt had become partners in the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League and were in line to become owners of the Vancouver NHL team. But they didn't have the financial resources to buy the team, which went to Medical Investment Corporation (Medicor). Medicor bought the WHL Canucks for $2.8 million, with Imlach making a reported gain of more than $250,000. He was offered a job with the NHL Canucks, but instead accepted an offer from the NHL's other expansion team, the Buffalo Sabres, as their first coach and general manager in 1970.

Phil Esposito scores on Joe Daley, December 10, 1970.

On December 10, the Boston Bruins had their first ever meeting with the Sabres. Despite the Bruins wildly out-shooting the Sabres, Joe Daley played fantastic in the first two periods, keeping the score tied at 2-2. However, an explosion of six goals in the third period saw the Bruins win 8-2. Daley was peppered with 72 shots, including 15 by Bobby Orr alone. Fred Stanfield had five points while John Bucyk had six.

Led by Perreault's 38 goals, the Sabres would 24–39–15, ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Division. However, they finished 19 points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in the division, and finished 19 points short of a playoff berth.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

East Division
Team GP W L T GF GA Pts
Boston Bruins 78 57 14 7 399 207 121
New York Rangers 78 49 18 11 259 177 109
Montreal Canadiens 78 42 23 13 291 216 97
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 37 33 8 248 211 82
Buffalo Sabres 78 24 39 15 217 291 63
Vancouver Canucks 78 24 16 8 229 296 56
Detroit Red Wings 78 22 45 11 209 308 55

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Game Log[edit | edit source]

Regular Season Results
No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 W October 10, 1970 2–1 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 1–0–0
2 L October 14, 1970 0–3 @ New York Rangers (1970–71) 1–1–0
3 L October 15, 1970 0–3 Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 1–2–0
4 L October 17, 1970 1–4 @ St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 1–3–0
5 T October 18, 1970 1–1 Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 1–3–1
6 L October 22, 1970 2–4 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 1–4–1
7 W October 23, 1970 4–3 Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 2–4–1
8 L October 25, 1970 0–4 Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 2–5–1
9 L October 27, 1970 2–7 @ Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 2–6–1
10 L October 30, 1970 1–6 @ California Golden Seals (1970–71) 2–7–1
11 L November 1, 1970 2–4 @ Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 2–8–1
12 L November 5, 1970 1–4 Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 2–9–1
13 L November 7, 1970 2–11 @ Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 2–10–1
14 L November 8, 1970 1–3 Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 2–11–1
15 W November 13, 1970 4–2 California Golden Seals (1970–71) 3–11–1
16 T November 15, 1970 2–2 Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 3–11–2
17 W November 18, 1970 7–2 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 4–11–2
18 L November 21, 1970 0–3 @ Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 4–12–2
19 T November 25, 1970 4–4 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 4–12–3
20 T November 26, 1970 2–2 New York Rangers (1970–71) 4–12–4
21 L November 29, 1970 1–2 California Golden Seals (1970–71) 4–13–4
22 T December 3, 1970 4–4 Boston Bruins (1970–71) 4–13–5
23 W December 6, 1970 1–0 Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 5–13–5
24 L December 9, 1970 1–6 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 5–14–5
25 L December 10, 1970 2–8 @ Boston Bruins (1970–71) 5–15–5
26 L December 12, 1970 3–5 @ Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 5–16–5
27 L December 13, 1970 0–4 Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 5–17–5
28 L December 16, 1970 0–4 @ New York Rangers (1970–71) 5–18–5
29 W December 17, 1970 4–3 Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 6–18–5
30 L December 19, 1970 0–2 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 6–19–5
31 L December 20, 1970 2–4 Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 6–20–5
32 L December 22, 1970 2–7 New York Rangers (1970–71) 6–21–5
33 T December 26, 1970 4–4 @ Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 6–21–6
34 W December 27, 1970 5–2 Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 7–21–6
35 L January 1, 1971 4–9 Boston Bruins (1970–71) 7–22–6
36 L January 3, 1971 3–5 Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 7–23–6
37 W January 7, 1971 7–4 Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 8–23–6
38 L January 9, 1971 2–3 @ Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 8–24–6
39 T January 10, 1971 2–2 Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 8–24–7
40 L January 13, 1971 2–4 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 8–25–7
41 W January 14, 1971 2–1 St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 9–25–7
42 W January 16, 1971 4–3 @ Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 10–25–7
43 T January 17, 1971 4–4 Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 10–25–8
44 T January 21, 1971 5–5 New York Rangers (1970–71) 10–25–9
45 L January 23, 1971 1–7 @ St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 10–26–9
46 W January 24, 1971 6–4 Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 11–26–9
47 T January 27, 1971 3–3 @ Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 11–26–10
48 W January 29, 1971 4–2 @ California Golden Seals (1970–71) 12–26–10
49 W January 31, 1971 6–1 @ Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 13–26–10
50 W February 4, 1971 5–2 Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 14–26–10
51 L February 6, 1971 3–4 @ Boston Bruins (1970–71) 14–27–10
52 L February 7, 1971 3–4 Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 14–28–10
53 L February 9, 1971 3–6 @ Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 14–29–10
54 L February 10, 1971 1–5 @ California Golden Seals (1970–71) 14–30–10
55 W February 12, 1971 3–0 California Golden Seals (1970–71) 15–30–10
56 W February 14, 1971 3–2 Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 16–30–10
57 L February 17, 1971 1–5 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 16–31–10
58 T February 18, 1971 6–6 Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 16–31–11
59 L February 20, 1971 5–6 @ Detroit Red Wings (1970–71) 16–32–11
60 L February 21, 1971 1–3 St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 16–33–11
61 L February 23, 1971 3–6 Boston Bruins (1970–71) 16–34–11
62 L February 25, 1971 2–3 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 16–35–11
63 L February 27, 1971 0–2 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1970–71) 16–36–11
64 W February 28, 1971 5–2 Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 17–36–11
65 T March 3, 1971 3–3 @ Los Angeles Kings (1970–71) 17–36–12
66 T March 5, 1971 2–2 Chicago Black Hawks (1970–71) 17–36–13
67 W March 7, 1971 6–3 Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 18–36–13
68 L March 13, 1971 0–9 @ St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 18–37–13
69 W March 14, 1971 5–0 @ Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 19–37–13
70 W March 18, 1971 5–3 St. Louis Blues (1970–71) 20–37–13
71 L March 20, 1971 2–5 @ Montreal Canadiens (1970–71) 20–38–13
72 W March 21, 1971 7–5 @ Boston Bruins (1970–71) 21–38–13
73 L March 23, 1971 2–7 @ New York Rangers (1970–71) 21–39–13
74 W March 26, 1971 3–1 Vancouver Canucks (1970–71) 22–39–13
75 W March 28, 1971 4–2 Minnesota North Stars (1970–71) 23–39–13
76 W March 31, 1971 6–4 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 24–39–13
77 T April 1, 1971 3–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1970–71) 24–39–14
78 T April 4, 1971 3–3 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1970–71) 24–39–15

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

  • The Sabres failed to qualify for the post season.

Player Stats[edit | edit source]

Skaters[edit | edit source]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes

Player GP G A Pts PIM
Gilbert Perreault 78 38 34 72 19
Phil Goyette 60 15 46 61 6
Gerry Meehan 77 24 31 55 8
Don Marshall 62 20 29 49 6
Eddie Shack 56 25 17 42 93
Steve Atkinson 57 20 18 38 12
Paul Andrea 47 11 21 32 4
Al Hamilton 69 2 28 30 71
Larry Keenan 51 7 20 27 6
Doug Barrie 75 4 23 27 168
Ron Anderson 74 14 12 26 44
Dick Duff 53 7 13 20 12
Floyd Smith 77 6 11 17 46
Reg Fleming 78 6 10 16 159
Cliff Schmautz 26 5 7 12 10
Jim Watson 78 2 9 11 147
Skip Krake 74 4 5 9 68
Kevin O’Shea 41 4 4 8 8
Tracy Pratt 76 1 7 8 179
Jean-Guy Talbot 57 0 7 7 36
Randy Wyrozub 16 2 2 4 6
François Lacombe 1 0 1 1 2
Bill Inglis 14 0 1 1 4
Brian Perry 1 0 0 0 0
Terry Ball 2 0 0 0 0
Paul Terbenche 3 0 0 0 2
Jean-Guy Lagace 3 0 0 0 2
Butch Deadmarsh 10 0 0 0 9
Mike McMahon, Jr. 12 0 0 0 4
Brian McDonald 12 0 0 0 29
Hap Myers 13 0 0 0 6

Goaltending[edit | edit source]

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average

Player GP W L T SO GAA
Dave Dryden 10 3 3 3 1 3.37
Roger Crozier 44 9 20 7 1 3.68
Joe Daley 38 12 16 8 1 3.70

Awards and Records[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Film of the Sabres inaugural season including the 1970 NHL Expansion Draft and 1970 NHL Amateur Draft and many interviews. Footage of the Sabres first exhibition game (against the Rangers), a game versus Montreal, Toronto on November 18, 1970 (featuring Leafs goalie Murray McLachlan in one of his two NHL games), Detroit on February 20, 1971, Boston on February 23, Chicago on March 5, St. Louis on March 18 (Gilbert Perreault breaks the record for most goals by a rookie), Vancouver on March 26, 1971.

References[edit | edit source]


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