The Toronto Maple Leafs reclaimed third place in the National Hockey League standings last night as they downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. In the other NHL game, Bobby Hull scored another two goals to pace Chicago past Detroit by a similar 3-1 score.
Leafs can’t lose with Sawchuk
In addition to Bob Pulford’s two goals, the Leafs got a standout performance from goalie Terry Sawchuk, now unbeaten in six tries this season, to upend the Canadiens. Sawchuk did it all in this one. He made 25 saves, including two spectacular stops on Claude Larose in the third period. He also made the scoresheet as the first NHL goaltender this season to be credited with an assist.
All three of the Leafs goals came in the final minute of a period. In the first, John Ferguson gave Montreal a 1-0 lead less than a minute and a half into the game. Andy Bathgate tied it up with 31 seconds left to play in the period. Bathgate’s goal was scored after Eddie Shack made an excellent play on the Montreal defenders and slipped a pass to the veteran forward who fired a quick shot into the far corner past Montreal netminder Charlie Hodge.
Pulford put the Leafs ahead in the final minute of the second period on a play started by Sawchuk. The Leaf goalkeeper fielded a wide shot by the Habs and sent a pass to defenceman Carl Brewer, who relayed the puck to Pulford. Pulford went one-on-one with Montreal rearguard Ted Harris and fired a backhander that deflected off Harris’ stick and past Hodge.
Toronto’ third marker came in the final minute of the game when some energetic forechecking by by the Leafs kept the Canadiens from being able to remove goalie Hodge for an extra attacker. Rookie Ron Ellis picked up a puck and fired a shot that Hodge was able to stop, but he was unable to control the rebound. The disk went directly to Pulford at the side of the goal and he was able to fire it directly into the empty net.
Hull on record pace
Bobby Hull scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the third period to give Chicago a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago moves into a fourth-place tie with New York, while Detroit clings to a one-point lead over Montreal, thanks to the Habs’ loss in Toronto.
Hull, if he were to continue this pace, would end up with 65 goals this season, providing he avoids injury and plays every game. While such a total is unrealistic, it does give an indication of how prolific the powerful Hawks’ winger has been so far this season.
Stan Mikita, now tied with Hull atop the scoring race, put the Hawks in front only 27 seconds into the first. He out-raced several Detroit defenders and flicked a quick shot at Wings’ rookie goalie Roger Crozier. The little Detroit netminder got a piece of the shot, but was unable to prevent it from trickling over the goal line. Detroit got that one back at the 4-minute mark on Norm Ullman’s 200th career goal.
It was then up to Crozier to hold off the Hawks, and he did just that until Hull’s first goal near the 8-minute mark of the final frame. Hull skated through the entire Detroit team before managing to get the puck past Crozier with a one-handed effort. Crozier had no opportunity to stop Hull’s second marker, a shot from the blue line in the final minute while Roger was sitting on the bench in favour of an extra skater.
Crozier made 38 saves on the night, compared to 23 by Chicago goalkeeper Glenn Hall.
The Red Wings also announced on Wednesday that they have recalled NHL veteran forward Andre Pronovost from their American Hockey League Pittsburgh farm team.
AHL: Bears bomb Reds
Danny Poliziani scored three times last night to lead the Hershey Bears to a lop-sided 6-2 win over the Providence Reds. Springfield edged Cleveland 4-3 in the other league game.
Poliziani’s heroics enabled the Bears to solidify their hold on second place in the AHL’s Eastern Division. However, they still trail first-place Quebec by seven points. Keith McCreary, Michel Harvey and Ralph Keller added singles for the Bears, while Gil Moffat and Jeannot Gilbert replied for the Reds.
Jimmy Anderson fired a pair of goals for the Indians in their win over the Barons. Dave Amadio and Bill Sweeney added the others. Frank Martin, Joe Szura and Cec Hoekstra tallied for Cleveland.
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.