Game 488 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 488
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Thursday, December 16, 1965
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Maple Leafs are starting to make sounds like a hockey team and the conductor of Punch Imlach’s brassy little band is a big guy named Frank Mahovlich.

“The Big M” (a nickname used only when he is going well) had two good nights in succession and the result was a double win for limping Toronto. They dropped the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 at home Wednesday, ending the Wings’ seven-game winning streak, then surprised the Montréal Canadiens 3-2 here last night.

This isn’t to imply Imlach’s team is out of the woods, or a sudden contender for the Stanley Cup, but it isn’t a bad record for a team that has called up six players from the minors in 24 games.

Mahovlich scored what proved to be the winning goal for the second night in succession, this one a blast from his wing Gump Worsley probably didn’t see, and “The Big M” could have had a few more.

The Leaf took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Bob Pulford, jumped into a 3-1 lead in the second, and spent the entire third period trying to keep the hungry Canadiens from stealing their two points.

The Habs took advantage of a slashing penalty to Mahovlich in the third period to pull one goal behind on a scoring shot by Yvan Cournoyer, one of the more unusual specialists in the National Hockey League.

It was Cournoyer’s ninth goal of the season. They have all come on power plays because they are the only ones he takes part in, unless spotted on a makeshift line.

From that point on, the Leafs were reeling, bolstered by fine goaltending by surprise starter Johnny Bower. It was expected Terry Sawchuk would get the call for this one, but Imlach apparently was playing a hunch.

Marcel Pronovost knocked Dick Duff skates-over-shoulder pads at 17:37 of the final period, was penalized and the Canadiens had another big chance.

Since obtaining Darryl Sly from Rochester this week, Imlach has been using him up front with Orland Kurtenbach to kill penalties.

However, the Leafs coach changed his mind on Pronovost’s penalty and sent Bob Pulford, Kurtenbach’s regular mate, over the boards and put Tim Horton and Allan Stanley, his two steadiest defencemen, out with them.

Horton reacted like a toy bull, knocking Canadiens over anywhere in the Leaf zone, and the other three kept clearing the puck out as the 13,761 fans tried to help the Habs with vocal support.

Pulford, Mahovlich and rookie Brit Selby were the Leaf scorers. The Canadiens got goals from Bobby Rousseau and Cournoyer. Rousseau’s was his 15th of the season.

Pulford scored on a power play, tipping in a shot by Kent Douglas from the point after Eddie Shack had made a fine pass to Douglas.

Selby was set up beautifully by Wally Boyer – who is making it difficult to send him back to the minors – and Mahovlich combined on a give-and-take play with Dave Keon before scoring.

Rousseau’s goal came on a loose puck with Bower and Pronovost, the last line of defence, lying on the ice. Cournoyer scored on his own rebound after Bower had made a great save on his first shot.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 17, 1965

1st Period
TOR PEN – 06:13 – Horton, tripping
MTL PEN – 11:26 – Larose, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 13:17 – Pulford (Douglas, Shack)
MTL GOAL – 18:08 – Rousseau (Béliveau, Duff)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 13:41 – Shack, interference
TOR GOAL – 17:21 – Selby (Ellis, Boyer)
TOR GOAL – 19:39 – Mahovlich (Keon, Armstrong)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 11:08 – Mahovlich, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 12:24 – Cournoyer (Béliveau, Rousseau)
TOR PEN – 17:37 – Pronovost, tripping

TOR – Bower (W, 26-28)
MTL – Worsley (L, 28-31)

TOR – 8+11+12 = 31
MTL – 8+6+14 = 28

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

TOR – 10-10-4 (.500)
MTL – 14-5-4 (.696)