In 1970 the Rangers were scrambling to sneak into the playoffs with a team that should not have had to scramble to qualify. Sound familiar?
Last game of the season the Rangers had to win and hope Montreal lost to tie for points. The first tiebreaker, however, was goals for and the Canadiens were five up on the Rangers. So the Boys in Blue had to win their last game by more than five and hope the Canadiens lost and didn't score enough goals to win that tiebreaker. Anything else and they would not make the playoffs.
I watched that game on TV and the Rangers went all out first to get themselves the win. Once that seemed to be in the bag Emile Francis pulled Giacomin with six minutes left in the third period (I think it was six, it's along time ago now). The Rangers skated the remainder of the game without a goalie as they tried to run up the score even higher. The game ended up with a Ranger win and nine goals for.
The Canadiens didn't have to win. All they needed was five goals and the Rangers would not make the playoffs. They should have played the entire game without a goalie, but they didn't. They lost the game and only scored two goals to send the Rangers into the playoffs.
Whenever Ranger fans get upset with the Canadiens, they should always remember the gift they got from the 1970 Canadiens. It came with a nice ribbon and everything.
The next season Al MacNeil replaced Claude Ruel behind the bench during the season since it looked like they were going to miss the playoffs again. The team managed to sneak into the playoffs and then won the Stanley Cup behind the goal tending of an unknown rookie by the name of Ken Dryden. The Habs spent the rest of the decade as one of the dominate teams in the NHL. And the Rangers didn't.