Game 486 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 486
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Thursday, November 18, 1965
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

If the Maple Leafs ever consider sending Eddie Shack to Rochester again, they will have to contend not only with the fans in Toronto – but the fans in Montréal, too.

Montréal fans cheered Shack every time he returned to the bench after a shift here last night, even though the man who usually is regarded as Public Enemy Number One was beating their beloved Canadiens.

The Leafs scored three goals in the final period – one by each member of a new line – to whip the Canadiens 3-1 in their third meeting of the National Hockey League season.

Manager-coach Punch Imlach replaced veteran Red Kelly with newcomer Larry Jeffrey from Detroit on a line with Shack and Bob Pulford. The result was phenomenal. Jeffrey raced out and knocked over a Canadien on his first shift and continued to play his most aggressive hockey since becoming a Leaf.

Shack was charging up and down his wing, doing some remarkable stickhandling and passing, and Pulford was his usual reliable self.

Pulford assisted on the first two Leaf goals – by Shack and Jeffrey – then scored himself in the final minute of play when the Leafs were shorthanded.

Bobby Baun received a penalty with a minute remaining in the game and the Canadiens pulled goaltender Gump Worsley to try for the equalizer. Pulford, Orland Kurtenbach, Tim Horton and Allan Stanley kept them from taking a clean shot at Johnny Bower, and then Pulford made his biggest play.

He squirted between two surprised Canadiens at the Leaf blueline to take a loose puck, and in one motion, shoveled it down the ice into the empty net.

But it was Shack who got the cheers – and the first star of the game.

It started on a shift in the second period, when he kept the puck to himself with a fine ragging display. Rambunctions Eddie received an ovation from the usually partisan Montréal fans.

It was Shack’s fifth game since being recalled from Rochester and during that time he has been Toronto’s best player by a country mile. He also has scored three goals, which prompted assistant manager King Clancy to yell “Who’s Bobby Hull? He’s not going to run away on Shack.”

Most people are afraid to jump on the Shack bandwagon, saying he is indeed a changed man, because there is always the feeling the Old Eddie will skate out there one night.

But he is a changed man. The demotion to Rochester probably was the best thing that ever happened to him. He is not getting foolish penalties and is sticking to his wing. He is checking and shooting better and can even pass now.

In the dressing room and on road trips, he is not the loud kibitzer any more. Instead, he seems to be a rather serious young man. Whatever has happened – it is helping the Leafs.

For two periods, the Canadiens led 1-0 on Ralph Backstrom’s goal, and it looked as if it might be another 5-1 rout such as the last time Toronto was here.

The Canadiens kept shooting the puck from the centre ice area into the Leaf zone and the Leaf defencemen looked woefully inept in their attempts to get it out.

Then, in the third period, Pulford passed out to Shack and he whacked it past Worsley. The play gave a lift to the entire Leaf team. Pulford beat defenceman Jacques Laperrière five minutes later, passed across the goalmouth and both Shack and Jeffrey took a swipe at it. Jeffrey’s swipe made contact for his first goal as a Leaf.

Imlach made another line change in the final period that showed immediate results when he put veteran George Armstrong back on a line with Dave Keon and Frank Mahovlich.

Armstrong and Keon have always played well together, but neither has been particularly impressive this season. Suddenly, they too, started to click.

While the Canadiens did not play as well as they can, it was a big win for the fourth-place Leafs and may have been what they really needed to bolster their sagging spirits.

Jeffrey looked like an entirely different hockey player and you can bet your week’s pay that Imlach will not break this lineup before seeing them in the two successive games this weekend against the Chicago Black Hawks.

NOTES: Morley Kells and Brian McFarlane of MacLaren Advertising uncovered some valuable old film here yesterday, which they will probably use between periods on a future hockey telecast. They found the film in the archives of the National Film Board. One piece shows a group of railroad workers in 1898 playing shinny on their lunch hour. The other is of the welcome home parade in 1922 when the Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup. King Clancy, current assistant manager of the Leafs, was an 18-year-old defenceman at the time…John Bower was in the Toronto net for the third game in succession, allowing Terry Sawchuk to rest a knee injury…Punch Imlach said before the game that he would be able to tell after two shifts if the Leafs could skate with the Canadiens. The first shift, the Canadiens could not get the puck. In the second, the Leafs could not get out of their own end…the Canadiens have named former Hab Floyd “Busher” Curry as an assistant to chief scout Claude Ruel on a part-time basis…Frank Mahovlich, who had not been particularly aggressive in the first two periods, flattened Ralph Backstrom with the hardest check of the night in the third period…the Canadiens drew only 12,500 fans to their first Wednesday night game here (against Boston), and only 13,376 last night (partly because of a snowstorm). These were the two smallest crowds in years.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 19, 1965

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 10:25 – Backstrom (Balon, Provost)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 17:15 – G. Tremblay, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:18 – Berenson, interference
TOR GOAL – 06:09 – Shack (Pulford)
TOR GOAL – 11:23 – Jeffrey (Pulford, Baun)
TOR PEN – 19:00 – Baun, slashing
TOR SH EN GOAL – 19:34 – Pulford (Kurtenbach)

TOR – Bower (W, 27-28)
MTL – Worsley (L, 25-27)

TOR – 7+6+15 = 28
MTL – 11+5+12 = 28

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Kent Douglas, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Ron Ellis, Larry Jeffrey, Eddie Joyal, Dave Keon, Orland Kurtenbach, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, Brit Selby, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski.
MTLGoaltenders: Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 4-6-2 (.417)
MTL – 6-3-3 (.625)