Henri Richard was the star as the Montreal Canadiens coasted to a one-sided 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night in one of two National Hockey League contests. In the other game, the Detroit Red Wings overwhelmed the lowly Boston Bruins 8-1.
At Montreal, the score was completely indicative of the play. Toronto goaltender Terry Sawchuk would have been completely justified had he wished to sue his mates for non-support, especially in the first period. It was only the heroic work of the Leafs’ masked veteran netminder that kept Toronto in the game in the first period.
Montreal scored the only goal of the initial frame, despite out shooting the Leafs by an 18-3 count. Ralph Backstrom counted his first of the year when he beat Sawchuk with a wicked 40-footer to the left side. Other than that shot, which Terry might like to have another chance on, he was flawless as the Habs spent most of the first 20 minutes in the Toronto zone, firing at will at Sawchuk from all angles. Sawchuk would eventually finish with 36 saves on the night.
Goals Seven Seconds Apart
Early in the sandwich session Canadiens put the game out of reach for the Leafs with a pair of goals just seven seconds apart. Bobby Rousseau’s fourth made the score 2-0, before Richard went directly to the Toronto goal from the faceoff and potted Montreal’s third goal.
Tim Horton scored the only Leaf goal just less than a minute after that when he banged home a Red Kelly rebound past Montreal goalkeeper Charley Hodge. That was the only offence that the Leafs would muster all night.
Richard scored his second of the game at 9:12 of the period to make the score 4-1 and if the issue had been in doubt before then, it certainly wasn’t after that goal.
Canadiens picked up their fifth goal of the game at 11:24 of the final frame when Gilles Tremblay connected for his second of the year off a fine setup by Richard. Little Henri was all over the ice all night for Canadiens, and he alone showed more energy than the entire Toronto team combined.
Manager-coach Punch Imlach of the Leafs is understandably worried by his club’s moribund early season performance:
“My goalie and defenseman Allan Stanley deserve medals of valor above and beyond the call of duty.
“I have to admit we’re in trouble and we might have a job making the playoffs. I have too many guys not playing well. One line was on the ice for three goals and one set of defensemen was out there for four. It looks like I made a lot of changes and it’s going to take time to get going. But we’re a lot better than we showed tonight. This team has too many good hockey players to be this bad.”
After their first six games, Toronto is now 2-3-1 and have managed only nine goals. With such fine young talents like Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton and Jimmy Pappin toiling in the minors, one has to wonder how long it will take Imlach to engineer wholesale changes with this outfit. It’s obvious that the Toronto veterans just aren’t up to the task any more.
Ullman, Murphy Lead Wings
Norm Ullman scored two goals, and Ron Murphy added a goal and three assists to pace the Red Wings to their easy win over the Bruins. Rookie goalie Bernie Parent of the Bruins discovered that after his scintillating 40-save performance the previous evening, life in the NHL isn’t going to be a picnic working for the lowly Bruins.
Detroit took a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Murphy and Pit Martin, with both netting their first of the year. It was an evenly played 20 minutes but Wings goalie Roger Crozier kept the Bruins at bay making nine saves.
The Red Wings blew the game wide open in the second, beating Parent five times on 15 shots. The Bruins inexplicably stopped skating right from the start of the second and the result wasn’t pretty. Andy Bathgate, Ullman, Floyd Smith, Gordie Howe and Bill Gadsby were the Detroit marksmen. Tommy Williams scored the only Boston goal, his first.
Leading 7-1 after two, the Wings went into shut-down mode for the final 20 minutes, given Crozier excellent protection. Ullman scored the only goal in the third, his second of the night and third of the season.
The lop-sided loss is a low point for the Bruins, who only 24 hours earlier looked that they might be turning a corner. In five games, Boston now has only a tie and four losses. Not the start new general manager Hap Emms had hoped for.
Marlies, Junior Wings Tie 2-2
Nick Libett scored with just over two minutes left in the game to pull the Hamilton Red Wings in to a 2-2 tie with the Toronto Marlboros in a OHA Junior A game last night in Hamilton.
Red Wings opened the scoring in the first period on a goal by Don Giesebrecht. Tom Martin evened things at 1-1 before the first was over.
The teams battled through a scoreless second period before the Marlies took a 2-1 lead at 16:11 of the third. Doug Dunville was the goal-getter after his shot deflected off Hamilton netminder Roger Lalancette. That set the stage for Libett’s late tying goal.
Toronto had a chance to win the game in the final seconds but Lalancette made a spectacular sprawling save on the Marlies’ Mike Byers.
Kitchener Edges Petes
The Kitchener Rangers, one of the bottom-feeding teams in the OHA Junior A Series a year ago, jumped into fourth place last night by edging the Peterborough Petes 4-3.
Bob Jones scored a pair for the Rangers, with Walter Tkaczuk and John Beechy adding singles.
Peterborough got goals from George Goodson, Danny Grant and Andre Lacroix.
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.