Johnny Bower, the Maple Leafs’ ageless wonder in goal, took to the ice in Madison Square Garden in New York last night battling a nasty flu bug. The man they call “The China Wall” showed no ill effects as he was principally responsible for the Leafs gaining a point in their 1-1 tie with the Rangers.
The game was one of three scheduled in the National Hockey League last night. In the other two contests, Montreal made it a weekend sweep over the Chicago Black Hawks with a 5-3 win at Chicago Stadium and the Detroit Red Wings rode a Gordie Howe hat trick to a 5-3 win over the Bruins in Boston.
Bower Robs Rangers
Bower had been down with the flu virus for the previous two days. He said after the game that he had eaten almost nothing during that time, but he wasn’t about to miss a game at his favourite road rink, Madison Square Garden.
So Bower suited up and was terrific as he made 38 saves to single-handedly keep the Leafs in a game they should have lost. His best stop of the night was a glove save on former Leaf and now Ranger captain Bob Nevin late in the third period.
Ranger coach and general manager Emile Francis marvelled at the inspired play of the 41-year-old netminder:
Bower stole that one from us when he made that great left-hand save on Bob Nevin when the score was tied in the third period. We had a two-man break and Goyette appeared to freeze Bower to the near post before passing to Nevin. But the old guy still dived across the goalmouth for the save.
The Rangers outshot the Leafs 39-24 on the night, and both Bower and Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin were sensational. The Leafs scored their only goal in the second period when Wally Boyer found the range for his second goal in as many NHL games.
Ron Ellis made the big play on Boyer’s marker. He dug the puck out from behind the net and fed the Leafs’ newest centre. Boyer had two whacks at it before the puck finally found its way behind Giacomin.
Rod Gilbert finally beat Bower for the tying goal at the six-minute mark of the third period. Gilbert found himself all alone in front of Bower thanks to a couple of defensive miscues by the Leafs. With as much time as he needed, he found a way to slip the disk past the Toronto netminder.
Leafs did have a couple of chances late in the game, but Giacomin rose to the occasion. Word around Madison Square Garden had been that the Rangers were considering shipping the rookie goalie out and giving Cesare Maniago another shot, but last night’s performance should put that talk to rest, at least for a bit.
Beliveau’s Two Goals Sink Hawks
Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau, who scored the winning goal in Montreal Saturday against the Black Hawks, was once again the star last evening, this time at Chicago Stadium. Beliveau scored two goals, including his second straight game-winner as Montreal downed the Hawks 5-3. The win enabled Montreal to secure their hold on first place in the NHL standings with a four-point margin over Chicago.
The game was a bruising contest with neither team backing down from the other. Fifteen penalties were called by referee Frank Udvari in the first two periods alone.
Young Yvan Cournoyer, showing more confidence every game, also scored twice for the visitors. Ralph Backstrom had the fifth Montreal marker. Bobby Rousseau earned two assists and increased his league-leading point total to 33.
Ken Wharram, Doug Jarrett and Stan Mikita were the Chicago marksmen.
Key for Montreal in this one was the checking job Canadiens’ Claude Provost performed on Bobby Hull. No less important was the line-matching by Habs’ coach Toe Blake. He got the best of Chicago bench boss Billy Reay by juggling his lines and saving Provost for every time Hull appeared on the ice. Rarely has Hull been so effectively neutralized on home ice.
Howe Shows Bruins How It’s Done
The incomparable Gordie Howe was at his best for the Detroit Red Wings last night as they invaded the Boston Garden to take on the lowly Bruins. The Bruins put up a good fight, but in the end, it was all Howe, all the time as the visitors claimed a 5-3 victory.
It’s no coincidence that Howe’s recent stretch of fine play has seen the Red Wings reel off seven consecutive wins. His hat trick last night was the 15th of his illustrious NHL career. For all the speculation about when Howe might hang up his blades, he is giving no sign he’s slowing down in this, his 20th big-league season.
Big Gordie scored a goal in each period to lead the Red Wings in this one. He opened the scoring at 6:22 of the first. The Bruins came back quickly, however. Rookie Bill Goldsworthy notched the first two goals of his fledgling NHL career to put the Bruins up 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The Red Wings took control of the game with three unanswered goals in the middle stanza and never looked back. Doug Barkley tied the score a minute and a half into the period. Howe and Floyd Smith followed up with goals later on to leave Detroit in front 4-2 after two.
The teams rounded out the scoring by trading goals in the first three minutes of the final frame. Howe connected for his third of the night at 1:48. Only 20 seconds later, Howe’s former line mate Parker MacDonald replied for the Bruins. That was as close as the Beantowners would get, thanks mainly to some spectacular goalkeeping from the Wings’ Roger Crozier. He made a number of acrobatic stops on the Boston forwards, including a couple from point-blank range.
Russians Outscore Canada 8-6
Perfect passing and an almost unstoppable power play enabled the Russian national hockey team to take an 8-6 decision over the Canadian nationals last night in Quebec City. It was the second straight win for the Soviets in their eight-game Canadian tour.
It was an encouraging night for the young Canadian team, as managing six goals past that strong Russian defense wasn’t expected. But in the end, the visitors’ superior offensive prowess won the day.
Eight different players shared in the Russian goal parade. Getting one each were Veniamin Alexandrov, Alexander Almetov, Alexandre Striganov, Vladimir Bregenev, Oleg Zaltev, Vladimir Jurisinov, Konstantin Loktev and Anatole Firsov.
Rick McCann led the Canadians with two goals. Roger Bourbonnais, Gary Begg, Morris Mott and Ted Hargreaves added singles.
Referee Frank Daigneault called 15 penalties in a game that was rough by international standards, eight of them going to the Russians. He also awarded a penalty shot to Fran Huck of Canada in the second period. Huck was pulled down on a breakaway by Russian defender Igor Romichevsky. Huck went in and tried a low shot on Russian goal Viktor Zinger, who made a fine save.
Best player for Canada was defenseman Begg. He was outstanding at both ends of the ice and at times controlled the play, frustrating the Soviets. Huck also played well, and could have had a couple of goals with a little luck.
The Russians move on to Toronto for a game against a OHA Junior A all-star squad Tuesday night. On Wednesday, they will meet an augmented Montreal Junior Canadiens team in Montreal. Former star NHL goalie Jacques Plante is expected to suit up for the Baby Habs. The Juniors will also employ a couple of professionals now playing for the Canadiens farm team at Houston of the Central Professional Hockey League.
Oshawa Increases OHA Lead
The Oshawa Generals increased their first-place lead over the Niagara Falls Flyers to three points on the weekend. The Generals drubbed the last-place London Nationals 9-3 while the Flyers had to scramble to gain a 5-5 tie with the St. Catharines Black Hawks. In another 9-3 game, it was Montreal Junior Canadiens over the Toronto Marlboros.
Billy Little led the Generals with three goals in their win over London. Centre Danny O’Shea had a big night with two goals and three assists. Other Oshawa goal-getters were Chris Hayes, Ron Dussiaume, Bill Heindl and Jim Booth. Neil Clark, John Mercer and Moe St. Jacques connected for London.
Derek Sanderson’s goal with 23 seconds left in the game gave Niagara Falls their tie with the Black Hawks in St. Catharines. Rookie Tom Webster paced the Flyers attack with three goals, and Andre Lajeunesse also scored for the Flyers.
Steve Latinovich had two goals for the Hawks. Paul Terbenche, Gary MacMillan and Kerry Bond notched the others.
At Montreal, three players scored a pair of goals each for the Baby Habs in their rout of the Marlboros. Larry Pleau, Serge Savard and Jacques Lemaire all tallied twice, with singles coming from Don Liesmer, Bernard Cote and Lucien Grenier. Brian Glennie, Mike Corrigan and Brent Imlach replied for Toronto.
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.