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Grand moments

December 31st, 1975
THE COLD WAR ON ICE
On December 31, 1975, the Montreal Canadiens hosted the Soviet Red Army team in one of the greatest games of all time.

Three years after the Summit Series and at the height of the Cold War, the world’s top two hockey powers went head-to-head. Led by legendary forwards Valeri Kharlamov and Boris Mikhailov, and backstopped by the youthful Vladislav Tretiak, the Red Army proved to be worthy opponents for a Habs team led by Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey and Ken Dryden.

Coached by Scotty Bowman, the Canadiens controlled the play in the opening period, peppering Tretiak with shots and taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Steve Shutt and Yvon Lambert.

The Soviets, who challenged Dryden with only 13 shots all evening, made the most of their opportunities with Mikhailov scoring the Red Army’s first goal. Yvan Cournoyer re-established the Canadiens’ two-goal lead but Kharlamov halved it for a second time before the buzzer sounded to end the second period.

The Habs resumed their assault on Tretiak in the third period but he stood firm, making 16 of the evening’s 35 stops in the final frame.

Four minutes and four seconds into the closing period, Boris Aleksandrov potted the final goal in a game that, while it ended without a winner, will forever be remembered. The 3-3 game is widely regarded as the most exciting ever played.