Game 492 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 492
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, February 16, 1966
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

It doesn’t seem like so long ago that Ron Ellis sat with a bowed head in the Maple Leaf dressing room and said quietly that he had lost his confidence as a hockey player.

He struggled through the first half of the current National Hockey League season firmly entrenched in the much talked-about sophomore jinx.

From a 23-goal rookie season he had slumped to the role of a fringe player, unable to do anything right.

Something has happened to Ron Ellis. His two goals last night were big ones as the Maple Leafs upset the Montréal Canadiens 3-1 before a capacity crowd of 14,996.

Joining Ellis in his joyous frame of mind today are hundreds of people throughout the city who purchase tickets in those hockey pools where the winner is the holder of the ticket corresponding to the second of the final goal.

For the second game in succession, the final goal game in the final second of the game – 19:59 of the third period. This time, however, it was a more popular goal with followers of the local blue-sweatered squad.

Paul Henderson of Detroit scored in the final second Saturday night to give the Red Wings a 3-3 tie with the Leafs. Last night, in a similar situation – with Gump Worsley of the Canadiens out of the net – Bob Pulford scored in the final second for the Leafs.

This is an odd Leaf team this season. In the friendly confines of their home rink, they are terrors, able to handle the top three clubs with comparative ease. Put them in Boston or New York, where two points is supposed to be automatic, and something happens.

This was Toronto’s fifth win over Montréal this season against only three defeats. A ninth game ended in a tie.

Ellis, playing an extremely aggressive game, scored on a power play late in the first period to nullify an earlier goal by Montréal’s Jean Béliveau.

Béliveau had tipped in a long shot by Bobby Rousseau on which goaltender Terry Sawchuk had no chance. Ellis scored from a severe angle. His shot was deflected into the Montréal net by Worsley.

After a goalless second period, Ellis put the Leafs ahead to stay with a sizzling 20-footer after taking a pass from Wally Boyer on a three-on-one break. Seconds earlier, on the same shift, Ellis had fired a hard one that Worsley knocked to his feet.

The Leafs came up with a solid team effort. Worsley kept the Canadiens in the game in the first two periods as the Habs, who have been on the road for the past seven days, seemed to lack their usual zip.

Equal to Worsley was Sawchuk at the other end, but Terry did not have so many tough shots to handle even though Montréal outshot Toronto 32-31.

Edward Shack, who said earlier this week that his large and powerful muscles were rather weary, was given a chance to rest by George Imlach, the Leaf leader.

Shack started the game and fired the first shot – from centre ice and right on target – to prove that he felt better. Imlach alternated Orland Kurtenbach with Shack for the remainder of the game, giving Kurtenbach two shifts in succession at the end.

Frank Mahovlich, although he did not add to his goal total, was one of the most exciting figures on the ice. Tim Horton was a rock on defence.

For Montréal, lanky Jacques Laperrière was the best defender.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 17, 1966

1st Period
TOR PEN – 02:18 – Mahovlich, tripping
MTL GOAL – 15:17 – Béliveau (Rousseau, Duff)
MTL PEN – 17:09 – Talbot, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 18:12 – Ellis (Douglas, Boyer)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:37 – Harper, holding
MTL PEN – 07:02 – Ferguson, roughing
TOR PEN – 12:38 – Stanley, high sticking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 05:55 – Harper, roughing
TOR PEN – 05:55 – Douglas, roughing
TOR GOAL – 09:18 – Ellis (Boyer, Hillman)
TOR EN GOAL – 19:59 – Pulford (Mahovlich)

TOR – Sawchuk (W, 31-32)
MTL – Worsley (L, 30-32)

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

TOR – 23-18-7 (.552)
MTL – 26-16-7 (.602)