The Montreal Canadiens won the pivotal fifth game of the Stanley Cup Final Series last night in Montreal in convincing fashion when they demolished the Chicago Black Hawks by a score of 6-0. Canadiens were simply better than the Black Hawks at every facet of the game.
The much-maligned Charley Hodge, who was admittedly off his game on Sunday, put in a flawless performance between the pipes for Montreal last night. Although he wasn’t severely tested, Hodge made 23 saves to record the shutout against the high-powered Hawks offence.
Jean Beliveau was at his dominant best for Montreal. He was in command on every shift, and seemed to dictate the pace of the game. He had a hand in four of the six Canadiens goals, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists. When the first Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded at the end of this series, there is no other choice to be made at this point in the series.
Beliveau’s line mates Bobby Rousseau and Dick Duff each scored once, with both adding a pair of assists. It was easily Duff’s best game of the playoffs. All four of those goals were scored on the power play. Canadiens now have 19 man-advantage goals in the playoffs.
The other Montreal scorers were J. C. Tremblay and Henri Richard.
Ferguson decks Nesterenko
Montreal not only out-skated the Black Hawks, but they also out-muscled them. A very one-sided bout between the Habs’ John Ferguson and Chicago’s Eric Nesterenko at 4:25 of the first period set the tone for the evening. The Hawks were never really in the game after big Nester went down for the count at the hands of Ferguson.
The incident began with Nesterenko combing Ferguson with his stick. Responding instantly, Ferguson decked the tall, rangy Hawk winger with a quick right hand, knocking him senseless and opening a six-stitch gash on the cheek.
Nesterenko returned briefly in the second period, but did not answer the bell for the third.
After the game, Nesterenko had but one succinct comment.
“He was ready to fight, and I wasn’t. He caught me a couple of good ones when I wasn’t looking.”
After the game, Ferguson showed a lump the size of a golf ball on the back of his head.
“That’s what started the fight. Nester hit me with his stick a pip and I gave him a few solid rights, one of which opened the cut under his left eye.
“I can’t feel sorry for him. He’s always got his stick or elbow in your face and asks for everything he gets.”
Ferguson didn’t last until the end of the match either. He was flattened by an Elmer Vasko body-check and sustained a charley horse. He is already listed as doubtful for game six in Chicago.
Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in a first period punctuated by the Ferguson-Nesterenko dust-up. When Bobby Rousseau upped the count to 3-0 just before the three-minute mark of the second, it became obvious that the Canadiens were not going to be headed on this night.
Mindful of that fact, Chicago coach Billy Reay lifted goalie Glenn Hall in favour of Denis DeJordy at the end of the middle frame. The move was more to shield Hall from further abuse than it was a commentary on Hall’s play. The veteran Chicago puckstopper has seen a lot of rubber through the first five games and giving him a bit of extra rest certainly won’t hurt his performance in any of the remaining games.
Reay did not mince words when describing his team’s effort.
“We weren’t in the game at all. We were beaten by a much better hockey club.”
Reay hinted that Ferguson had sucker-punched Nesterenko.
“Nester never got his hands off his stick, was still trying to play the puck when Ferguson lowered the boom on him. It was no fight because Nester never got a chance to get his hands up.”
He was able to maintain his sense of humour when, with a wink, he suggested that Canadiens were flying so high “maybe we should give them a saliva test.”
General manager Tommy Ivan agreed with Reay. “We were outplayed and it wasn’t the fault of the refereeing”, said Ivan, taking a left-handed swipe at Toe Blake’s constant whining over officiating.
Beliveau praises Duff
Beliveau was chosen the game’s first star, but in typical fashion he heaped praise on a team-mate.
“You played a helluva game, Dick, just great” the big centre said to Duff afterwards. “I have never seen you skate better. One more like that and we’ll be there.”
Duff thought that Montreal was finally playing their game.
“We played our own game – speed and finesse. When we do that, the only way the other club can check us is by taking penalties. Then our power play kills them.”
Hodge was congratulated by the injured Gump Worsley and even Prime Minister Lester Pearson after the game. All the Montreal players were genuinely happy for Hodge’s success after his earlier performance. He described his night to Red Burnett of the Toronto Star:
“I had a tough shot from Bill Hay in the first period. He had me beat if I hadn’t come up with a stick save. It’s a thing you practice a lot but seldom get to use. It saves my shutout.
“But the guys in front of me were great. Those Hawks seldom got a chance to take aim. Our fellows had the jump on them all night, kept beating them to the puck to make it easy for me.”
NHL drafts amateurs
The National Hockey League held its annual draft of 18-year-old amateur players yesterday. Players reaching their 18th birthday between June 1 of this year and May 31 of 1966 were eligible to be selected.
This was the second such draft, with the first one being held last spring. Last year, the age limit was 17, and was raised by one year this time around. It will stay at 18 again next year.
NHL teams could select a maximum of four players. AHL teams could pick three, WHL clubs two, and CPHL teams one each.
NHL teams must pay $3,000 to the amateur club from which a player is selected, minor league teams would pay $2,000.
There were 85 players eligible to be drafted, but only 11 were taken. Ten were drafted by NHL clubs, with one going to an AHL team.
Here is a list of the players selected:
Montreal: Pierre Bouchard (College Laval St. Vincent de Paul Jr. B)
Chicago: Brian McKenney (Smiths Falls Jr. B), Andrew Culligan (Toronto St. Mike’s Jr. B)
New York: goalie George Surmay (Winnipeg Kelvin juveniles), Andre Veilleux and Michel Parizeau (Montreal Rangers)
Detroit: George Forgie (Flin Flon juniors), Bob Birdsell (Stettler, Alta)
Boston: Joe Bailey (St. Thomas Jr. B), Bill Ramsay (Winnipeg Monarch Jr. A)
Pittsburgh (AHL): Gary Beattie (Gananoque Jr. C)
The Toronto Maple Leafs did not make a selection.
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.