Game 497 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 497
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, March 30, 1966
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens made a heartening discovery at Maple Leaf Gardens last night.

They discovered goalkeeper Johnny Bower was human, and they pounced on his human errors for the third-period goals that gave them a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League.

Henri Richard broke a 1-1 tie and Gilles Tremblay made it definite for the Habs with third period shots that Bower would normally handle with one hand while stifling a yawn with the other.

Richard’s winner was an ice-hugging blast from right wing that zipped between Bower’s skates somehow. Tremblay’s goal trickled through and barely touched the goal line before Marcel Pronovost hooked the puck out.

If Bower was lax on those shots, however, he was far removed from that condition on other occasions when he kicked out and blocked several meritorious efforts by the visitors.

Bob Pulford fired the Toronto goal past Ted Harris at 19:33 of the first period and it held up until Yvan Cournoyer deflected J.C. Tremblay’s shot from the left point past Bower at 5:35 of the third period.

That was Cournoyer’s 16th goal of the season and his 15th on a power play. Eddie Shack was serving one of his three penalties of the game.

For two periods, the game was devoid of the muscle flexing usually on display when Montréal faces Toronto. Even John Ferguson played in decorous fashion, giving some credence to the suspicion that Coach Toe Blake may have instructed his athletes to avoid belligerence and confine their efforts to hockey.

Whatever the reason, it changed in the final 20 minutes. Blake possibly roused the Habs with intermission oratory, while Leafs coach Punch Imlach was facing the television camera.

The Leafs turned in a spotty performance. At times they poured a barrage of rubber at Gump Worsley, who turned everything aside in spectacular fashion. At other times they stumbled around, groping for poor passes, many of which found a pathway to Montréal sticks.

Worsley protested the Toronto goal with a furious rush toward referee Frank Udvari. Gump had come out of his net to smother a rebound, but couldn’t find the handle. J.C. Tremblay, a tower of defensive strength for the Canadiens, knelt beside him, also trying to cover up.

Pulford, Red Kelly and Shack all poked at the puck, which finally came loose. Defenceman Harris moved between the posts and stopped one shot, but Pulford drove home the rebound.

NOTES: The Leafs drew three of the first four penalties, but the Canadiens took six of the last eight, including a bench minor in the first minute of the third period…Worsley, J.C. Tremblay and Pulford were the three stars, but as is his custom, Pulford refused to appear for his bow, which drew some boos from the lingering portion of the maximum 14,996 crowd…The Canadiens were unfortunate in the second period when Rousseau made a fine play, but his shot from the side went right across the crease behind Bower. Seconds later Claude Provost blasted a shot off the far post…Dave Keon also hit a post with Worsley beaten in the third period and Ron Ellis couldn’t hit on a close angle shot with Worsley lying helpless in front of the goal…Shack, who has resisted fighting all season, was involved in a short fracas with Ferguson in the last minute of play and preserved his non-belligerent status when Udvari gave each only a roughing minor…Conn Smythe was in the crowd, watching his first Leafs game in a non-executive position since he built his showplace in 1930.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 31, 1966

1st Period
TOR PEN – 04:20 – Pronovost, tripping
TOR PEN – 07:53 – Shack, hooking
MTL PEN – 11:46 – Harper, interference
TOR PEN – 12:48 – Stemkowski, high sticking
MTL PEN – 17:30 – Provost, slashing
TOR GOAL – 19:33 – Pulford (Kelly, Shack)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 15:15 – Harper, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:00 – Pulford, hooking
MTL PEN – 19:35 – Talbot, cross checking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:53 – team, delay of game
TOR PEN – 04:20 – Shack, high sticking
MTL PP GOAL – 05:35 – Cournoyer (J. Tremblay, Rousseau)
MTL GOAL – 09:16 – Richard
MTL PEN – 11:31 – Rousseau, tripping
MTL GOAL – 16:36 – G. Tremblay (Provost)
MTL PEN – 19:13 – Ferguson, roughing
TOR PEN – 19:13 – Shack, roughing

MTL – Worsley (W, 38-39)
TOR – Bower (L, 27-30)

MTL – 7+10+13 = 30
TOR -12+10+17 = 39

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

MTL – 39-21-8 (.632)
TOR – 34-24-9 (.575)