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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Quirk of fate

   February 10, 1977 -- Oddly enough, a center who used to play for the Sabres had a large impact in Buffalo's goaltending history.

   The Sabres had acquired Gerry Desjardins to be their first-string goaltender in the winter of 1975. He came over in a trade with the New York Islanders, even though he was playing in the World Hockey Association at the time.

   Desjardins took over the job immediately, and helped the Sabres reach the Stanley Cup finals later that first season. Then he had the starter's spot for all of 1975-76, and more than half of 1976-77.

   Fate then got in the way. Peter McNab, sent to Boston in a swap of free agents, tipped a shot that hit Desjardins in the mask and caused an eye injury. Desjardins did not return to the game that night. Indeed, he only played in a handful of games in his career.

   The Sabres were bringing along two young goalies in Bob Sauve and Don Edwards. Because of that one tipped shot, the timetable for their NHL arrival was moved up by months at the least.

--- Budd Bailey

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