The Toronto Maple Leafs put on perhaps their best performance of the season last night. And not only did they completely outclass the Montreal Canadiens by a 6-0 score, but they also won over the Montreal fans, who, by the end of the night, were cheering for the hated Maple Leafs. The Toronto win ended the club’s three-game losing streak and was one of two National Hockey League games played last night. In the other contest, Boston and Chicago battled to a surprising 1-1 tie.
Worst Hab Loss in Two Years
The Montreal loss was the worst beating the Habs have absorbed in two years. It didn’t take long for the fans in the Forum to see how this one was going to go. Eddie Shack scored the only goal that Toronto would need at the 21-second mark of the first period and it was a sign of things to come.
Shack stole the puck from Montreal defenseman Jean-Guy Talbot, who fell when he turned to chase Shack. The colourful Toronto forward moved in alone on Canadiens goalie Gump Worsley and deked him out of position before sliding the puck into the net.
Shack added insult to injury after the goal by politely thanking Talbot for the chance and on the way back to centre ice for the faceoff.
“It was the least I could do,” Shack said after the game.
Shack’s goal was the only goal of the first period. The middle stanza saw Larry Hillman and Marcel Pronovost both score their first goals of the season. Hillman’s marker was a long floating shot from centre ice that took a bounce under Worsley.
Leafs completed their scoring in the final frame with goals by Wally Boyer, Red Kelly and Frank Mahovlich, all within a three-minute span. Johnny Bower made 40 saves for his (and the Leafs’) first shutout of the season. The Leafs devoted the final half of the third period to defensive responsibility as they protected Bower’s whitewash.
The Montreal fans were so disenchanted with the home side’s performance, they took to shouting “Go Leafs Go”. Even Toronto coach Punch Imlach was shocked to hear it.
“I’d have to go back to Toronto to hear cheers like that again.”
Toronto captain George Armstrong, a veteran of many contests in the venerable Montreal arena, thoroughly enjoyed the game:
I’ve been coming here 15 years as a Leaf and I can’t recall handing the Habs that kind of pasting before. When those fans gave us the ‘Go Leafs Go’ chant, I had to do a double-take to make sure I was in Montreal. It was wonderful.
Bower, as usual, gave his team mates all the credit for the shutout:
“I was lucky – and my mates were good. They deserve the credit. The forwards checked Canadiens dizzy and my defence was terrific, never let those guys get set for the big play on goal.”
Montreal coach Toe Blake saw the problem with the game and said so afterwards:
“They didn’t even work up a sweat. We got a complete game from only one man – Terry Harper. He really tried. Bobby Rousseau gave it a shot for one period and then, like the rest, folded up.
“Gump makes about five great saves early in the second period and then lets that long shot by Hillman kill us. No wonder the fans were cheering the Leafs.”
Bruins Shackle Hull
The lowly Boston Bruins may have found a way to nullify the scoring prowess of Black Hawks superstar Bobby Hull. The Bruins simply kept Hull from shooting, limiting him to one weak flip shot from the blue line in the second period. The fine defensive performance allowed the Bruins to steal a point from Chicago as they skated to a 1-1 tie on home ice at the Boston Garden.
Hull, who leads the NHL with 32 goals, simply could not shake the close checking of Bruins Eddie Westfall. The defenseman-turned-forward was on the ice almost every time Hull went out and he shadowed the Golden Jet constantly.
Hull was frustrated with the close checking Westfall, and twice both players were sent off for coincidental minor penalties., both times for high-sticking.
Ted Green scored the Boston goal, with Phil Esposito replying for the Black Hawks. Esposito gave the Hawks a 1-0 first period lead. Green tied it up at 7:36 of the third with a blazing 30-foot shot that caught the far corner past a partially screened Glenn Hall in the Chicago goal.
Boston rookie goalie Bernie Parent was spectacular for the Bruins, especially in the first period when Chicago dominated. He ended up making 23 saves on the night, with his best stops coming at the expense of Chicago’s Chico Maki.
Five Applications for Los Angeles
Two of the applicants for a National Hockey League expansion franchise for Los Angeles said yesterday that they have no idea of the identities of the other three interested groups.
The two known prospective owners are the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League and Jack Kent Cooke, who owns the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Cooke is the former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the baseball’s International League.
There is talk that one of the other parties is Hollywood film producer Tony Owen. Owen has refused to confirm or deny the rumours.
Help for Campbell?
The National Hockey will take care of some other business at next month’s expansion meeting in New York. The league will consider adding another executive to take on some of the onerous workload now being handled by one man – president Clarence Campbell.
David Molson, president of the Montreal Canadiens says the league is not actively looking for a replacement for Campbell, who is 60.
It’s not as if we are in any hurry to find a successor. But the situation has been this: all this time we have had only one major executive at league headquarters – Campbell. It’s not a healthy situation.
A business consulting firm has been retained to study the situation and has worked on a report for several months. That report is to be presented in New York when the governors meet on February 7-9.
- Red Berenson, sent to Quebec Aces yesterday, scored two goals to lead his team to a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh Hornets in American Hockey League action.
- Don Marcotte scored three goals, Ted Snell added a pair as Niagara Falls Flyers drubbed the Hamilton Red Wings 8-3 in a Ontario Hockey Association game last night in Hamilton.
- Over 3,400 fans saw their hometown Peterborough Petes nip the Montreal Junior Canadiens 2-1 in the other OHA game. Garry Monahan scored the winner for the Petes.
- New York Rangers sent left winger Ted Taylor to Baltimore of the AHL after a four-game trial.
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.