Bobby Hull set the National Hockey League single-season scoring record last night with his 97th point of the year. He garnered a first-period assist as his Chicago Black Hawks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. The other NHL games on last night’s slate saw Toronto and Detroit tie 3-3 while Montreal took a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers.
Bruins Escape Cellar
While the game meant nothing in the standings for Chicago, it was a significant triumph for the Bruins. Coupled with New York’s loss to Montreal, the win for Boston vaulted them past the Rangers into fifth place. It was the first time the lowly Bruins had moved out of the NHL basement in six years.
Two goals within a 30-second span in the final period proved to be the margin of victory for Boston. After Johnny McKenzie’s 19th of the year snapped a 2-2 tie at 2:09 of the final frame, Ron Stewart notched his 20th and second of the game just 30 seconds later and the Hawks were not going to come back. Ron Schock had the other Boston marker, beating Chicago goalie Dave Dryden in the first period.
Stan Mikita and Lou Angotti were the Chicago scorers. Hull set up Mikita for the game’s opening goal at 1:01 of the first for his record-breaking 97th point. That broke the record of 96 points set by Dickie Moore of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1958-59 season. Hull finished the season with 54 goals and 43 assists.
Bower Tends Goal Then Coaches
Toronto’s 3-3 tie in Detroit was a surprisingly spirited affair, especially given that the game meant very little in the way of standings or personal accomplishments. And for the second time in three games, Leafs’ coach Punch Imlach added a new wrinkle to his coaching resume.
Imlach is probably the first coach in NHL history who planned right from the start to use three goaltenders in a regular season game. Johnny Bower started between the pipes for the Leafs, followed by Terry Sawchuk in the second period, and Bruce Gamble in the final 20 minutes.
Then, to make matters even more interesting, Imlach had Bower take over behind the Leafs bench for the final 20 minutes. With Leafs leading leading 3-1 when he appeared in streetclothes behind the bench, Bower had the misfortune of seeing the Red Wings score twice in the final period’s 10th minute to tie the game.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the opening frame on goals by rookie Brit Selby and captain George Armstrong. Eddie Shack’s 26th of the season made it 3-0 before Detroit got on the board late in the second. Norm Ullman’s 31st made the score 3-1 for Toronto. The goal for Selby ended an almost two-month scoring drought for him.
Val Fonteyne pulled the Red Wings to within one goal at 9:11 of the third. Forty-two seconds later Bruce MacGregor reached the 20-goal plateau to round out the scoring and make the final 3-3.
Imlach’s ploy of using three goalies really isn’t in the spirit of the NHL rule book. Of course the Leafs mentor claimed the stunt was never his intention. He was questioned on it after the game:
“Bower’s sick…got the flu. Sawchuk felt a little pull in his groin and we don’t want to take any chances so I declared an emergency situation.”
NHL rules state that a team cannot use a third goaltender unless the other two are incapacitated.
Worsley Wins Vezina
Montreal Canadiens goalie Gump Worsley won his first Vezina Trophy as the Montreal Canadiens finished their season with a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Worsley and the Canadiens finished with 173 goals against this season, 14 fewer than Glenn Hall and the Chicago Black Hawks.
Montreal’s power play was the Rangers’ undoing. They scored three times with the man advantage. Power play specialist Yvan Cournoyer had two of those goals. Dick Duff and Claude Provost added the others.
Rangers’ Phil Goyette, who went to New York in the trade that saw Worsley end up with Canadiens, ruined the Gumper’s shutout bid with a third-period marker.
The loss was a costly one for the New Yorkers, at least on pride and prestige considerations. The Rangers dropped to sixth place, as the Boston Bruins moved past them into fifth.
Kitchener Eliminates Marlies
The Kitchener Rangers eliminated the Toronto Marlboros in the eighth and final game of their Ontario Hockey Association semi-final series in Kitchener. The two teams had been tied with three wins apiece, with one game tied. That necessitated Saturday’s eighth winner-take-all game.
Goalie Gary Kurt was the hero for Kitchener. He put on a scintillating display, making several seemingly impossible saves to preserve a 3-1 win for the Rangers. Kitchener now meets the Oshawa Generals in a best-of-seven final for the OHA championship.
Bob Jones led the Kitchener attack with two goals. Jim Krulicki had the other. Mike Corrigan replied for the Marlies.
Kurt’s best work was in the final 10 minutes of the game. Toronto mounted a furious comeback, throwing everything they had at Kurt and the Rangers. The Kitchener netminder maintained a calm disposition and turned everything aside to allow the home side to hang on for the win.
Rocket Would Coach Rangers
Retired Montreal Canadiens superstar Maurice (Rocket) Richard says that if the price is right, he would coach the New York Rangers. That price, apparently, is $20,000.
Richard confirmed to New York sports reporter Stan Fischler that he would take the Rangers bench job if the price is right:
“I’d move down to New York if Rangers made it attractive for me. Now I’m waiting for the offer.’
A close friend of Richard’s confirmed his asking price would be $20,000.
Emile Francis, who now coaches the Rangers in addition to his general manager duties, wouldn’t comment on potential coaching candidates. It is thought that the man known as “The Cat” would consider giving up his spot behind the bench if the right man were available.
As the Rangers wound down their season with an ignominious last-place finish, Francis did say he planned major changes for his down-trodden squad. He revealed that he plans to make an all-out effort to land retired defenseman Carl Brewer from Toronto. Brewer’s rights still belong to the Leafs, but they must protect him or lose him in the NHL draft this summer.
A trade for Brewer would likely be the only way New York can pry Brewer loose from the Leafs. It’s not likely he will be left unprotected in the draft. Toronto, according to Fischler, would want Vic Hadfield and Jim Nielson from New York. The Rangers would likely do the deal if they could substitute Wayne Hillman for Nielson.
Francis also said that the Rangers will invite Czech superstar Vaclav Nedomansky to training camp. If he proves good enough, they will attempt to convince Czech hockey officials to allow him to turn professional. International hockey observers feel the Czechs want to keep the powerful forward until the 1968 Olympics.
- Rochester Americans nipped the Baltimore Clippers 4-3 in an AHL game played at Toronto. Gerry Ehman scored the game-winner for the Amerks.
- Gil Gilbert scored two goals as Hershey Bears edged the Pittsburgh Hornets 3-2.
- Les Binkley got the shutout as the Cleveland Barons blanked the hapless Providence Red 7-0.
- Portland Buckaroos bombed the Los Angeles Blades 13-7 in a WHL game. Len Ronson had four goals for Portland with Tommy McVie adding three. Cliff Schmautz had a goal and six assists.
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.