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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Opening the doors

   October 15, 1970-- Buffalo's wait to host a game in the National Hockey League finally comes to an end. The Sabres had opened the season with a win in Pittsburgh and a loss to the Rangers in New York, but this was the game people remember.

   Hockey's answer to royalty, the Montreal Canadiens provided the opposition. NHL President Clarence Campbell came to town for Opening Night. He dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff between the two captains, Montreal's Jean Beliveau and Buffalo's Floyd Smith.

   Once the game started, the Canadiens showed that the Sabres had a long way to go. They dominated Buffalo in a 3-0 decision that wasn't that close.

   Buffalo was outshot, 11-3, in the first period, but left the ice scoreless. Yvon Cournoyer scored the first goal on Memorial Auditorium ice at 6:01 of the second period. Roger Crozier stopped the other 21 shots by the Canadiens in the period.  The shot numbers were even more one-sided in the third period, 20-2, and Guy Lapointe and Cournoyer finished the scoring.

   "I don't think the puck was out of our end that much during the game," he said. "It seemed like I had to keep making save after save. That puck was fired at me a lot that game."

   Buffalo would have to wait until Oct. 23 to get its first home win.

--- Budd Bailey

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