The two Canadian teams took on the two American teams with the poorest records in the only two National Hockey League games scheduled last night. The results were fairly predictable, given the recent play of all four teams.
The Leafs, lacklustre and mediocre at best lately, skated to a 1-1 tie with the Rangers, while Montreal cruised to an easy 5-1 win over the Bruins, who continue to languish in last place in the standings.
Moore finally scores
In Toronto, the most noteworthy occurrence of the game was Toronto’s goal, scored by Dickie Moore. It was Moore’s first goal as a Maple Leafs and pulled the Leafs into the tie with the Rangers with just over five minutes left to play in the game.
Moore’s marker, the 255th of his NHL career came when he deflected Kent Douglas’ point shot past Ranger goalie Jacques Plante, who had no chance on the play. It was the lone bright spot in what was an otherwise dreary performance by the Leafs.
Practice makes perfect
The play was no coincidence. Moore had stayed on the ice late after Friday’s practice and spent 15 minutes practicing deflections, with Andy Bathgate as the shooter. The extra work paid off on that play.
Moore was acquired by Toronto in last summer’s draft when general manager Punch Imlach selected him from Montreal’s list. Moore had sat out the 1963-64 season due to aching knees, but had never filed his retirement papers, leaving him eligible to be selected. Imlach felt the veteran sniper, at 34, was was a good risk, but he has been hampered so far this year by those wonky knees and various other ailments.
Don Marshall had scored for the Rangers early in the third period. He had intercepted a Moore pass in the Leafs zone and whipped a quick shot along the ice past Leaf netminder Johnny Bower.
Both teams were full-value for the scoreless first two periods. Very few scoring opportunities were generated by either side, mainly due to sloppy play, poor passing and a general malaise that did not go unnoticed by the 14,152 paying customers. Hoots of derision rained down on the players throughout the game as fans clamoured for action of any kind. The few offensive flurries that did occur were handled adroitly by the goaltenders.
Bower was particularly sharp in the late stages of the third, when the Rangers mounted somewhat of an attack and were turned away.
The largest cheer of the night came with the announcement of the final minute of play in the second period.
Duff pots a pair for Habs
Dick Duff scored twice to lead the Canadiens to their lop-sided win over Boston at Montreal. The game marked the return to action of Jean Beliveau, who has missed a month with a knee injury.
Beliveau scored the first Montreal goal, just 3:20 into the game on a nice setup by Bobby Rousseau. Henri Richard and John Ferguson had the other Canadiens’ goals. Gump Worsley backstopped the Habs to their fourth straight without a loss.
The Bruins skated right with the Canadiens over the first two periods, but wilted in the third under the pressure of the sustained Montreal attack. Duff’s two goals (within 37 seconds) and Richard’s single came in that final frame.
Eddie Westfall was credited with the Boston goal on a hotly disputed play in the second period.
Retired police detective, involved in hockey at all levels for over 50 years. Member of Society for International Hockey Research and presently a video analyst for the leader in advanced hockey analytics (we work exclusively for 2 NHL clubs, and provide advice on an ad hoc basis to many other clients). Currently the Assistant General Manager for the Pelham Pirates of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Previously owned the Faceoff computer hockey simulation and also provided all player ratings for the EA Sports series of NHL computer games from the late 90’s into the mid 2000’s.