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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A Sabre sweep

     April 20, 1980 -- The Buffalo Sabres had just beaten the Chicago Black Hawks (later to be called the Blackhawks) in Game Two of their series in Memorial Auditorium. Chicago coach Eddie Johnson came out after the game and told the media, essentially, not to worry -- his team was headed home and things would be better there.

     As it turned out, Johnston and the Blackhawks never made it back to Buffalo.

     On this day, the Sabres finished off the Blackhawks, 3-2, completing a four-game sweep of the quarterfinal series. Buffalo spotted Chicago the first two goals. Then the Sabres rallied on goals by John Van Boxmeer, Rick Martin and Gil Perreault. The Blackhawks lost despite having a 48-34 edge in shots.

     As it turned out, this was Johnston's last game as Chicago coach, as he was fired in the offseason. Meanwhile, the Sabres were dreaming big dreams at this point. Buffalo had gone 7-1 in the playoffs through that point under first-year coach Scotty Bowman. The Sabres had advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1975.

     Did Bowman pack more playoff magic with him when he came from Montreal? The New York Islanders would have something to say about that.

--- Budd Bailey

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