50 Years Ago in Hockey: Wings Whip Wobbly Habs

The Detroit Red Wings hung the worst beating of the season on the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Olympia in Detroit. Roger Crozier made 22 saves for the shutout as the Wings hammered the Habs 6-0. In the other two National Hockey League games, a late goal by Dave Keon gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-3 tie with the New York Rangers while Chicago beat Boston 4-2.

On Saturday evening it was the Leafs over the Rangers 3-1 and Montreal getting by Detroit by a similar 3-1 score.

Ullman Feisty

After the loss in Montreal Saturday, the Red Wings dominated a Montreal team that seemed discombobulated at best on Sunday. The game was marked by numerous skirmishes and grappling matches, with 18 penalties being called. Norm Ullman, who scored the game-winning first goal of the game, was one of the more belligerent Red Wings. He was assessed three minors and a 10-minute misconduct.

Six players shared in the Detroit scoring. In addition to Ullman, the Wings also got goals from Peter Mahovlich, Bruce MacGregor, Andy Bathgate, Murray Hall and Gordie Howe. The Ullman and Mahovlich goals were just 23 seconds apart in the opening period.

The Red Wings were fired up right from the first drop of the puck, outskating and outbumping the Canadiens throughout the match. Pat Curran of the Montreal Gazette said that it was just as difficult to name Detroit’s best player as it was to find a single Canadien who played well. It was a total team effort for the Red Wings.

Detroit outshot Montreal 35-22 in the contest.

Detroit coach Sid Abel knew why his club was so dominant in this game:

The only way to beat the Canadiens is to skate faster and stronger than they can and that’s what we did tonight. We never gave them a chance to get going. But this wasn’t our best game of the season. We actually played better in that 8-1 win over Boston.

Coach Toe Blake was so upset with his charges that he wouldn’t discuss the game with reporters. Captain Jean Beliveau was left to do the explaining and just wanted his mates to put this game behind the them:

The only thing for us to do is try and forget this one. We have another game Wednesday against the Leafs and we can’t be this bad again.

An ugly incident halfway through the third period resulted in Detroit defenceman Gary Bergman being banished from the game. Bergman took a vicious chop with his stick at Montreal’s Claude Provost which, thankfully, missed. Referee Bill Friday sent Bergman to the showers with a five-minute major and a game misconduct for intent to injure.

Ref’s Call Irks Abel

J.C. Tremblay and Gump Worsley do their best to cover a loose puck Saturday night in Montreal.
J.C. Tremblay and Gump Worsley do their best to cover a loose puck Saturday night in Montreal.

Saturday, the usually mild-mannered Abel was furious with referee Vern Buffey’s work in Montreal’s 3-1 home-ice win. Abel was particularly upset with a call Buffey made early in the third period with Montreal leading 2-1.

Buffey called back an apparent Detroit goal only 33 seconds into the third period that would have tied the game. He ruled that Detroit forward Floyd Smith was in the goal crease when Norm Ullman rifled home a 20-footer into the Montreal net. Eighty-one seconds later, Henri Richard scored the insurance goal that basically ended Detroit’s night.

Abel was livid at the time and did not calm down after the game:

That’s about the worst call I’ve ever seen.

Abel’s comments were a little more extensive, but cannot be repeated here.

Bobby Rousseau and Dave Balon also scored for Canadiens. Smith had given Detroit a 1-0 first period lead.

Gump Worsley was a standout in goal for the Habs, making 31 saves.

Keon Ties it for Leafs

Dave Keon’s goal at 16:42 of the third period gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-3 tie with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Keon caught Ranger goalie Eddie Giacomin wandering out of his goal crease and slid the puck into an unguarded cage to salvage a point for the Leafs in a game they richly deserved to lose.

Rangers led 1-0 at the end of the first period on Bob Nevin’s second goal of the season. Brit Selby’s first tied things up for Toronto early in the second period. But the Rangers, on goals by former Canadiens Billy Hicke and Boom Boom Geoffrion, took a 3-1 after 40 minutes.

Brian Conacher netted his fourth of the year at 8:14 of the third to draw the Leafs to within one. That set the stage for Keon’s late-game heroics. Or, if you prefer, Giacomin’s costly gaffe.

Ranger coach Emile Francis was frustrated by Giacomin’s egregious error in a game in which he otherwise performed admirably:

One of these days Giacomin will learn that a goalkeeper’s place is in the nets: that you can’t go roaming in this league. When that happens, we’ll have a big-league goalie.

Ranger Penalty Shot Sparks Leafs

Rangers president William Jennings
Rangers president William Jennings

Saturday’s Leafs-Rangers game was a quiet affair until New York’s Bob Nevin was awarded a penalty shot at 6:10 of the third period. With Toronto leading 1-0, referee Bill Friday ruled that Toronto’s Brian Conacher pulled down Nevin when he was breaking in alone on the Toronto goal. Toronto goalie Terry Sawchuk and the rest of the Toronto bench protested vociferously but Friday held steadfast and allowed Nevin the free try. The New York captain took full advantage and made no mistake to tie the game at 1-1.

Even New York Ranger president Bill Jennings was dubious about the call. Watching on television in New York, Jennings said he was amazed:

I was amazed – and I might add delighted – when Friday awarded Nevin that shot. I understand a player has to be in the clear and in full possession of the puck before being awarded such a shot.

The camera followed that play perfectly and Bob never had full possession of that puck. If that was a good call then we should have had 50 more penalty shots in this league over the past two seasons.

The play cost Sawchuk his 99th NHL shutout.

Nevin’s goal seemed to awaken a Toronto team that had been just so-so up to that point.  Ed Giacomin stymied the Leaf assault until 17:14 when Larry Jeffrey put the home side ahead when he scored into another net vacated by Giacomin who was once again caught on an ill-fated excursion outside the crease.

Brian Conacher added an insurance goal with the New York netminder legitimately out of the goal, on the bench in favour of a sixth attacker with two seconds left in the game.

Hall Impressive in Return

Dennis Hull
Dennis Hull

Glenn Hall made an impressive return to the nets for the Chicago Black Hawks  as they upended the Boston Bruins 4-2 at Boston Garden. Hall made 27 saves in his first game of the year, sharing the spotlight with young Dennis Hull. Bobby’s little brother had a three-point night with a goal and two assists to pace the Chicago offence.

Wally Boyer’s first goal as a Black Hawk gave Chicago a short-lived 1-0 lead at 6:04 of the opening frame. Bobby Orr and Pit Martin put the Bruins in the lead with goals just over a minute and a half apart to move Boston ahead 2-1 after one.

The Black Hawks owned the second period, outshooting Boston 14-7. Hull tied the game at 1:10. Pierre Pilote put the Hawks ahead to stay at 14:13.

Eric Nesterenko added an insurance goal with 20 seconds left in the game.

The Bruins lost goalie Ed Johnston to injury with five minutes left in the first after he was struck in the left eye by a wayward stick. Young Bernie Parent replaced him.

Big Scores in AHL

Rochester goalie made a save, but took two stitches on this try by Pittsburgh's Gary Jarrett (17).
Rochester goalie Bob Perreault made the save, but took two stitches on this try by Pittsburgh’s Gary Jarrett (17).

American Hockey League play last night saw two of the most lop-sided scores in recent memory. The Rochester Americans walloped the Pittsburgh Hornets 9-1 while the Hershey Bears dismantled the Buffalo Bisons 15-6 right in Buffalo.

At Rochester, the Americans put on their biggest offensive display in two seasons before a crowd of 5,012. Veteran Gerry Ehman had a big night for the Amerks with three goals and two assists. Eddie Joyal had a pair for Rochester, with singles coming from Duane Rupp, Stan Smrke, Don Blackburn and Mike Walton. Dick Gamble had four assists.

Terry Gray spoiled the shutout bid by Rochester goalie Bobby Perreault.

In Buffalo, Wayne Rivers was the star with a seven-point evening. Rivers scored three times, adding four assists. Three Bears, Roger DeJordy, Michel Harvey and Chuck Hamilton, scored two goals each. Gil Gilbert, Bruce Cline, Mike Nykoluk, Gene Ubriaco, Paul Popiel and Myron Stankiewicz  added singles.

Hershey’s 15 goals was one shy of the American Hockey League record.