Game 494 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

Game 494
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0
Thursday, March 3, 1966
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

King Clancy leaped to his feet last night in the Forum press box and yelled to all within earshot:

“You are looking at the world champions.”

He meant his Toronto Maple Leafs, who had just manhandled the Montréal Canadiens 4-0.

You know, “The King” may be right.

If any team is approaching the playoffs and reaching a peak in performance at the same time, it is Toronto.

Bruce Gamble also served notice that no matter what happens in the future to Toronto’s goaltenders, he will be down there in Tulsa waiting to prove he is still a National Leaguer.

Gamble was magnificent. He earned the second shutout of his NHL career (the other was several seasons ago when he was a regular at Boston) and helped the Leafs tie Detroit for third place with two big games in hand.

(Note to Bobby Hull: you haven’t got a pushover in the net when the Black Hawks visit Toronto tomorrow night.)

This was the second time the Leafs have blanked the Canadiens on Forum ice. They have won four of six games here and enjoy a 6-3 edge on the season with two games tied.

Red Kelly, Pete Stemkowski, Bob Pulford and Frank Mahovlich scored the goals for the Leafs. Two came in the first period and two in the third.

But the real star, in addition to Gamble, was Dave Keon, who came up with his second outstanding game in two nights.

His assist on Mahvolich’s third period goal, the last one in the game, left the sellout crowd of 15,457 buzzing.

Keon whipped down left wing, taking the entire Montréal team with him. He performed several cute little pirouettes, left the Habs looking at one another and whipped it across to Mahvolich, flying down the other side uncovered.

It was a game that for two periods threatened to break into a repetition of Wednesday’s brawl between the same teams at Toronto.

One would think referee Bill Friday had read the many criticisms of Frank Udvari, who handled Wednesday’s game.

Each time one of the players who had been involved in Wednesday’s battle broke a rule, Friday gave him the thumb.

The same players who took each other’s measure Wednesday were out looking for one another in the first two periods last night.

Montréal reporters had told of Terry Harper’s courage in not backing away from the Leafs’ Orland Kurtenbach Wednesday, even though Kurtenbach had beaten him soundly in a fight last season.

Harper, too, must have read the papers. He took after Kurtenbach again, with two black eyes and 16 stitches to remind him of Wednesday’s meeting. Kurt retaliated. For a minute it looked as if it was goodbye Harper, but the went to the penalty box with only an exchange of high sticks.

In the first period, Claude Larose pulled Stemkowski to the ice as the players milled around in a shoving duel. Stemkowski got up, pinned Larose, but was pulled away before anything serious started.

In the same scramble, Kent Douglas of the Leafs grappled with John Ferguson, the most boisterous player on the ice, but that did not develop either.

A person gets the feeling after watching these two games that the Toronto-Montréal rivalry is not dead.

George Imlach used his son Brent at centre between Tim Horton and Kurtenbach as he went with four forward lines for the entire game. He shifted Wally Boyer to left wing on the Kid Line, replacing Brit Selby, who is out with influenza.

Little Imlach played well, but did not have any good scoring chances. Stemkowski, one of the best Leafs over the past two weeks, centred the Kid Line.

The Imlachs, father and son, left together after the game to fly home while the team took the train. Brent flew in yesterday. He has an examination today at high school and his father ordered him to take yesterday off to study.

NOTES: Punch Imlach gave his Maple Leafs a rare day off today in appreciation of their efforts the two previous nights in games with Montréal.

The players may skate if they wish, but Dave Keon was definitely ordered to take a rest.

Veteran observers said Keon’s effort last night in the Leafs’ 4-0 win was perhaps the best of his NHL career.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 4, 1966

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 03:47 – Kelly (Shack)
MTL PEN – 04:19 – Ferguson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 08:16 – Harris, interference
TOR PEN – 10:26 – Boyer, tripping
TOR PEN – 11:40 – Kurtenbach, charging
TOR GOAL – 13:51 – Stemkowski (Kurtenbach, Baun)
MTL PEN – 15:22 – Ferguson, elbowing / charging double minor
TOR PEN – 15:22 – Douglas, charging
MTL PEN – 15:22 – Larose, roughing
TOR PEN – 15:22 – Stemkowski, roughing

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 12:15 – Kurtenbach, high sticking
MTL PEN – 12:15 – Harper, high sticking
TOR PEN – 15:26 – Stemkowski, holding
MTL PEN – 16:53 – Ferguson, interference
MTL PEN – 19:18 – Harper, holding

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:49 – Pulford (Shack, Kelly)
TOR GOAL – 10:38 – Mahovlich (Keon, Armstrong)
TOR PEN – 12:49 – Hillman, spearing

TOR – Gamble (W + SO, 31-31)
MTL – Worsley (L, 30-34)

TOR – 14+8+12 = 34
MTL – 9+7+15 = 31

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

TOR – 26-20-9 (.555)
MTL – 31-17-8 (.625)