A fluke goal by right-wing Claude Provost with less than eight minutes to play pulled the Montreal Canadiens into a 2-2 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs last night at the Forum in Montreal. The game was one of two scheduled National Hockey League games. In the other contest, the New York Rangers bounced back from a pasting by the Boston Bruins the previous night to edge the Bruins at Boston Garden.
An accidental tying goal
The game-tying goal by Provost happened completely by accident. Montreal was on a power play, with Toronto defenceman Kent Douglas off for hooking. The Montreal winger was skating past the Maple Leaf goal when left-winger John Ferguson of Canadiens dumped the puck towards the net from the corner. The disk suddenly ended up in the Toronto net, the red light came on and no one was more surprised than Provost, who appeared to be unsure as to what exactly had happened.
Some observers thought the puck had gone in off Provost’s elbow, others his hip and still others felt he might have kicked it in.
Provost explained his version of the goal after the game. “It hit the side of my right leg and went in.”
Jean Beliveau had the other Montreal goal. Frank Mahovlich and Don McKenney connected for the Leafs. McKenney’s marker was his first since being recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on the weekend.
Montreal’s Gump Worsley was greatin goal. He made key saves on Mahovlich, Bob Baun and Tim Horton, among others. A sprawling stop on The Big M in the final frame was his best.
Terry Sawchuk was solid in net for the Leafs and couldn’t be faulted for the two that beat him. His start was a last-minute decision by coach Punch Imlach. He had planned to go with Johnny Bower but the veteran is still not feeling quite 100%. Best chances against Sawchuk were by Dick Duff, Claude Larose and Henri Richard. Richard’s opportunity came in the final minute on a breakaway, but the Montreal centre put the puck just wide of the goal with Sawchuk giving him nothing to shoot at.
Mahovlich was easily Toronto’s best skater. In fact, he played so well, Imlach used him on two lines.
Ratelle’s pair sinks Bruins
Jean Ratelle scored twice to lead the Rangers past the Bruins at the Boston Garden. As in the Montreal – Toronto game, the last goal of the match was a deflection.
Rod Gilbert let go a 45-footer that hit Ratelle’s skate and bounded past Bruin goaltender Jack Norris with less than five minutes left to play.
Rod Seiling and Don Marshall had the other Ranger goals. Orland Kurtenbach, Wayne Rivers and Reggie Fleming replied for Boston.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Boston’s John Bucyk broke in alone on Ranger goalie Marcel Paille with a chance to tie the game. Paille did not go for the Bucyk deke and made a spectacular save to preserve the New York victory.
Niagara Falls flying
The Niagara Fall Flyers of the OHA Junior A League haven’t let up despite already clinching a first-place finish. The Flyers edged the Peterborough Petes 5-4 last night while the Montreal Junior Canadiens whipped the Hamilton Red Wings 7-3.
Don Marcotte paced the Niagara attack with two goals. Singles came off the sticks of Brian Bradley, Jean Pronovost and Andre Lajeunesse.
Rene Drolet led the Montreal charge against Hamilton with a pair of goals and three assists. Jacques Lemaire also scored twice, with Chris Bordeleau, Larry Pleau and Lucien Grenier adding the others. Peter Mahovlich, Pete Ververgaert and Brian Watts replied for the Red Wings.