Red Burnett of the Toronto Star put it best: Terry Sawchuk’s goaltending is to the Toronto Maple Leafs what Sandy Koufax’s pitching was to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The veteran Toronto netminder put on a brilliant performance as the Leafs edged the Montreal Canadiens last night by a 3-2 score at the Forum in Montreal. In the other National Hockey League game, the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers skated to a 3-3 tie in New York.
Leafs Unbeaten in Seven
The win for the Leafs extended their unbeaten streak to seven games and moved them past Canadiens into sole possession of second place in the National Hockey League standings.
Sawchuk’s brilliance was never more evident than a three-save stretch with less than five minutes to play to ensure Toronto’s one-goal lead would remain intact. Yvan Cournoyer, Dave Balon and Henri Richard all had glorious scoring chances, only to be denied by Sawchuk.
Canadiens and Leafs traded goals in the first period. Yvan Cournoyer opened the scoring just shy of the two-minute mark. Brian Conacher tied it for Toronto with 1:18 left in the period.
Leafs took a 2-1 lead with the only goal of the middle frame, scored by captain George Armstrong. The Chief rammed home the rebound from a Brian Conacher shot.
Dave Balon evened the score at 2-2 after only 41 seconds of the third. He was left all alone in front of the Leafs net and scored off Bobby Rousseau’s rebound.
Jimmy Pappin scored the winning goal for Toronto on a power play at 9:21. Montreal was two men short. John Ferguson had gone off for boarding Eddie Shack, followed immediately by Jim Roberts for spearing Pappin.
Montreal coach Toe Blake was naturally critical of referee John Ashley’s work, especially the situation that allowed the five on three power play. He questioned why Pappin hadn’t been penalized for cutting Roberts with a high stick in the first period, and Shack for getting his stick up on Ferguson just before the Habs strongman took the boarding penalty:
I suppose Jean (Beliveau) cut Roberts and Hodge got Fergy. They must have because the referee didn’t see the Leafs do it.
Blake believes his Stanley Cup champs are suffering from complacency so far this year and he didn’t mind saying that to Toronto reporters:
We’ve been lacking overall effort since the start of the season. I haven’t got a reason for it. The fellows must be complacent, although it’s the last thing I expected from this team. Most of them went through it all before when the team was picked to win everything.
At the same time, I don’t think we’ve ever had as much publicity about being the club to beat – even with those great teams of the 1950s. Maybe it has had an effect on the players.
Montreal played without centre Ralph Backstrom, who has a slightly torn groin muscle. Left winger Dick Duff dressed but did not see any action.
Connelly Comes Through for Bruins
Wayne Connelly’s goal with 34 seconds left in the game lifted the Boston Bruins to their 3-3 tie with the Rangers in New York. Connelly’s score came just 53 seconds after Ron Murphy had narrowed a Rangers 3-1 lead by one for the Bruins.
The Madison Square Garden crown, happy after the Rangers took a 2-0 first period lead, turned surly in the final minute and booed the home team off the ice at the final whistle.
New York’s early lead came thanks to goals by Reg Fleming and Bob Nevin. Ron Stewart got one back for Boston before the initial frame came to an end. His pass to winger Johnny McKenzie caromed into the net off Rangers veteran Harry Howell.
The Rangers netted the only goal of the middle stanza when Howell connected for his third of the year. That set the stage for the Boston comeback.
Both late Boston goals came on close-in shots on New York goalie Ed Giacomin. Giacomin had entered the game midway through the second period when starter Cesare Maniago left the game with a facial cut. He had played well up to that point.
Boston coach Harry Sinden opted to start Gerry Cheevers in goal. Cheevers had just been called up from Oklahoma City of the Central Professional Hockey League to replace the injured Eddie Johnston.
- Victoria Maple Leafs outscored the Los Angeles Blades 7-5 in a WHL game at Los Angeles. Milan Marcetta and rookie Neil Clarke each had two goals for Victoria.
- California Seals scored in overtime to edge the San Diego Gulls 6-5 in the other WHL contest. Danny Belisle had the winner just before the four-minute mark of extra time for the Seals. It was the first game in the Seals’ new Oakland arena.
- Springfield Indians got by Cleveland Barons 3-1 in the only AHL game. Randy Miller and Bill Smith scored in the final five minutes to give the Indians the victory.
- Carl Wetzel, former Detroit Red Wing goaltender, has been reinstated as an amateur and wants to play for the U.S. national team.
- NHL statistician Ron Andrews reports that the first NHL goal scored on a penalty shot was was by Ralph (Scotty) Bowman for the St. Louis Eagles in the 1934-35 season. (no relation to Scotty of the new St. Louis Blues).
- Boston Bruins have sent right winger Ted Hodgson to the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL.
- Northrup Knox, who made the bid for the NHL expansion franchise for Buffalo, has been named president of U.S. Polo Association.
- Victoria Maple Leafs LW Andy Hebenton is slated to play his 1000th consecutive professional game this Saturday against California Seals at Oakland.
- Victoria’s Larry Keenan is out for six weeks with a broken heel.
- Mel Swig, former president of the California Seals, says there is still a movement afoot to put an NHL-calibre arena in downtown San Francisco.
- Eddie Litzenberger, who retired from Rochester Americans just before training camp, is mulling a return to the ice wars.