The Montreal Canadiens have regained top spot in the National Hockey League standings thanks to Henri Richard. The diminutive centre scored the winning goal as the Habs edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 before 14, 460 disappointed fans at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto last night. In the other NHL game, the New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins in a wide-open game in New York.
Game Was a Toss-Up
The Toronto – Montreal contest was a hard-fought, close encounter in which either team could have won with a few breaks. Indicative of the play was the fact that the shots on goal at the end of the night were 33 apiece.
The teams battled through a scoreless first period, with goalies Terry Sawchuk of the Leafs and Gump Worsley of Canadiens putting in tidy performances, although neither was severely tested.
The Leafs finally opened the scoring at 9:13 of the middle stanza with Dave Keon connecting on a power play. Montreal’s Jacques Laperriere was off for elbowing when Keon cashed in Frank Mahovlich’s rebound. Rookie Mike Walton, who played the point with the man advantage all night, also garnered an assist.
Montreal evened things up with a power play marker of their own in the final minute of the period. Yvan Cournoyer did the honours with assists going to Bobby Rousseau and Laperriere.
That set the stage for Richard’s early third period game-winner. The goal came at 1:15 mark after Sawchuk had made a splendid save on a Gilles Tremblay drive. The rebound went directly to Richard who whipped the puck past the Leaf netminder before he had a chance to recover.
The Canadiens then checked the Leafs more closely than any team had all season, and the little offense they did muster was handled capably by Worsley.
Montreal coach Toe Blake was especially pleased with his club’s defensive work:
That’s the best third period defensively our team has played all season.
Richard, whose goal broke a lengthy slump, was relieved to finally be back on the score sheet:
“I didn’t think a goal would ever come to me. I bet I have missed at least eight big chances in my last three games. That Sawchuk rob me twice before I beat him.”
With minor officials in the news so much over the past week, the Leafs had issues with their own staff last night. Timekeeper Ace Bailey had to leave his post after the second period. Ace explained that he has battled a flu bug for the past week and he felt faint. Wilf Snowden took over for him.
Rangers Break Through in Third
Despite yeoman work by Boston Bruins rookie goalie Bernie Parent, the New York Rangers fired three third-period goals to skate off with a 4-1 over the Bruins last night at New York.
The 20-year-old Parent, with the Bruins on emergency recall the past couple of weeks due to injuries to Ed Johnston and Gerry Cheevers, had to be Boston’s best player. He played most of the game with only three regular defensemen in front of him. Boston’s best blueliner all season, Ted Green, sat out the game with a stomach disorder. Then early in the first period, former Ranger Albert Langlois suffered a groin injury and retired for the night.
Boston coach Milt Schmidt was lucky to have at his disposal young Eddie Westfall, a former defenseman who has played nothing but forward this year. He shifted Westfall back to the blue line for the rest of the game.
Parent was spectacular in holding the Rangers to only one goal over the first two periods, facing 26 shots. Tommy Williams had given Boston a 1-0 lead after four minutes of play, but New York centre Earl Ingarfield tied it up before the end of the initial frame.
The short-staffed Bruins finally wilted under the constant Ranger pressure in the final 20 minutes. Donny Marshall scored what proved to be the winner early in the third. Jean Ratelle and Bob Nevin added insurance to make the final 4-1.
The game was a wide-open affair and if not for the work of Parent and Ranger netminder Eddie Giacomin, the goal totals would have been much higher. New York outshot the Bruins 40-35 on the night.
Bisons Beat Buckaroos
The American Hockey League Buffalo Bisons handled the visiting Portland Buckaroos of the Western League by a 5-1 score in an interlocking game last night.
Alain (Boom Boom) Caron was a one-man wrecking crew for Buffalo. He potted a pair of goals and set up two other Bison tallies to lead the way. Gerry Ouellette Billy Dea and Jerry Melnyk were the other Buffalo goal-getters. Arnie Schmautz ruined Buffalo goalie Roy Edwards’ shutout bid.
Hornets Blank Bears
Pittsburgh Hornets goalie George Gardner posted his third shutout of the season as the Hornets nipped the Hershey Bears 1-0 last night at Hershey. The game’s only goal scorer was Bob Cunningham for the Hornets. He connected on a 40-foot shot from the wing which was deflected into the Hershey goal by defenseman Nick Polano.
After the game, Pittsburgh sent defenseman-forward Irv Spencer to Memphis of the Central Professional Hockey League.
Barons Best Indians
The Cleveland Barons defeated the Springfield Indians 4-1 in the other AHL game last night in Cleveland. Bob Courcy, Keith McCreary, Ron Atwell and Tom McCarthy were the Barons marksmen. Bill Sweeney was the only Indian to beat Cleveland goalie Les Binkley.
Generals Trounce St. Kitts
In OHA Junior A action, the Oshawa Generals moved to within two points of first-place Niagara Falls Flyers with a resounding 10-2 thumping of the St. Catharines Black Hawks last night in Oshawa.
Danny O’Shea, Billy Hindl and Wayne Cashman each fired two goals for the Generals. Brian Morenz Bill Little, George Babcock and Ron Dussiame had singles. Defenseman Bobby Orr had four assists.
Bob Sicinski and Richie Bayes replied for the Black Hawks.
Pittsburgh After NHL Team
The city of Pittsburgh has thrown its hat into the NHL expansion ring. A group of more than 30 business and civic leaders submitted a formal application for a National Hockey League expansion franchise yesterday.
Senator Jack McGregor leads the syndicate who made the application. He says that with four locations already approved by the league, he feels Pittsburgh is ideally situated to receive one of the two remaining teams.
The NHL announced earlier this year the it will expand by adding six new franchises, to begin play no earlier than the 1967-68 season. The league has approved the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis and Vancouver as suitable locations for new teams.
Cities competing with Pittsburgh for the remaining two slots include Baltimore, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Minneapolis-St. Paul.