By the time Game 7 rolled around, Team Canada knew all about fighting adversity, and so did their fans in Canada.
Team Canada had won a spirited and well played Game 6 by a 3-2 margin with goals by Yvan Cournoyer, Dennis Hull and Paul Henderson. In a foreshadowing of what was to come, Henderson's goal was the game winner.
Ken Dryden had played easily his best game of the Summit Series, and arguably his first truly great game against the Soviets, a team that hadn't brought out the best in him as an amateur or professional.
Team Canada was able to play its effective physical style with less negative implications given the excellent penalty killing from Serge Savard, Peter Mahovlich, Bill White and Pat Stapleton.
In a play that received little media exposure in 1972, but has grown in myth and legend over the years, the physical play included "the slash." Valery Kharlamov had been the most explosive Soviet forward for the four games on Canadian soil. A steady diet of physical play had reduced his effectiveness back in the Soviet Union.
The blatant slash by Bobby Clarke to the ankle of Kharlamov took the Soviet star out of the lineup for the rest of the series. Legend has it that Team Canada assistant coach John Ferguson suggested that Clarke take matters in his own hand.
Forty years later Clarke remains unfazed and unapologetic. He claims that by Game 6 Kharlamov's effectiveness had already been diminished by the excellent checking and defensive play of Ron Ellis.
Clarke felt that other Soviet forwards like Alexander Yakushev and Boris Maltsev had supplanted Kharlamov as their best and most effective forward.
One win down, two more to go for Team Canada. Despite Dryden's great Game Six, Tony Esposito would get the start in Game Seven for Team Canada.
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