Game 498 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2

Game 498
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, November 2, 1966
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Maple Leafs, the worst third-period team in the National Hockey League, blew a two-goal margin last night and then were forced to hold on to gain a 2-2 tie with the Montréal Canadiens.

A crowd of 15,887, the largest to attend a hockey game in Maple Leaf Gardens since 1946, saw the Leafs assume a 2-0 lead in the first period. But the Canadiens, like the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, discovered the handicap was far from insurmountable. They counted a power-play goal in the second period and tied the game on a 50-foot bouncing shot after only 33 seconds had elapsed in the final period.

In five games the Leafs have been outscored 6-1 in the final period. They have also been outscored 5-4 in the second period. Only in the first period do the Leafs have an edge on their opposition, counting six goals against two.

What do these statistics prove?

Beside the obvious fact that the Leafs are unable to protect or add to a lead, it emphasizes that mistakes and inexperience are keeping them from becoming a serious contender.

The Leafs, burdened by the loss of centre Dave Keon in the first period, actually were fortunate to end with a draw. Keon was struck on the left ankle by a puck shot by teammate Jim Pappin.

Twice in the final six minutes the Leafs were penalized, but effective checking by Ron Ellis and Larry Jeffrey enabled them to kill both penalties.

For the second game in a row Eddie Shack incurred a senseless penalty with about two minutes to go and the score tied.

Last night he was nailed by referee Vern Buffey for charging Claude Provost at 17:59. Fortunately for Shack, the Canadiens had expended most of their energy in attempting to go ahead when Frank Mahovlich was penalized at 14:08 for high sticking Jean Béliveau and never did get a shot on Terry Sawchuk during the final two minutes.

The tie enabled the Leafs to move back into a third-place tie with the Boston Bruins. Each team has five points. The Canadiens, with seven points, are a point back of league-leading Chicago.

John Brenneman, acquired from the Rangers during last summer’s draft meetings mainly for the purpose of stockpiling the Leafs’ farm system, and Frank Mahovlich scored for Toronto.

Yvan Cournoyer and J.C. Tremblay accounted for Montréal’s goals.

The huge crowd was electrified by Mahovlich’s goal and let loose a burst of cheering and applause that hasn’t been heard in the Gardens since the Beatles sang “I Want To Hold Your Hand” a few years ago.

The actual completion of the unassisted scoring play was almost an anticlimax to the brilliant rush. “The Big M,” whirling around the centre ice area like a giant ballerina, circled around Bobby Rousseau and knifed across the Canadiens blueline.

J.C. Tremblay moved up to accost the Leaf left-winger but “The Big M” shifted the Hab defenceman and also gave Ted Harris the feint before firing a shot at Charlie Hodge.

Hodge, who took over in goal when Gump Worsley injured his arm during the pregame warmup when a shot struck him, blocked the drive. But Mahovlich jammed the rebound in on the short side.

Brenneman, the speedster who continues to impress and improve in each start, started the play for his own goal when he out-hustled two Canadiens for the puck in the corner and got it out to the side boards to Bob Pulford.

Pulford passed back to Larry Hillman at the blueline, who slapped the puck at Hodge. Brenneman, who admits he is often out of position, was in the right spot this time as he snared the rebound and beat Hodge easily.

Cournoyer, a power-play specialist, fired a high shot over Sawchuk’s shoulder after Rousseau set him up in the Leaf zone with Tim Horton in the penalty box. Rousseau, by far the best Montréal player, also gained an assist on J.C. Tremblay’s goal.

Tremblay, who has the knack and the luck for scoring on those long bouncing shots that bewilder and give goalies nightmares, flipped his drive from just inside the red line.

Some of the Leafs’ firepower was diminished when Keon was hurt. Coach Punch Imlach experimented with Wayne Carleton and Pete Stemkowski between Mahovlich and Pappin but the line was never a threat again. Until Keon got hurt, this line was the best on the ice.

The Leafs were outshot 34-30 but again got outstanding goaltending, this time from Sawchuk.

The Gardens’ penalty-timing apparatus in the huge new Sportstimer was operating last night.

Carleton and Terry Harper tossed a few aimless punches at each other in the second period.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 3, 1966

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:40 – Shack, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 06:45 – Brenneman (Hillman, Pulford)
TOR GOAL – 12:48 – Mahovlich
MTL PEN – 17:06 – Richard, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:26 – Horton, charging
MTL PP GOAL – 05:52 – Cournoyer (Rousseau, Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 07:58 – Harper, holding
MTL PEN – 17:02 – G. Tremblay, cross checking
MTL PEN – 17:02 – Harper, roughing
TOR PEN – 17:02 – Carleton, roughing + misconduct
TOR PEN – 19:21 – Pulford, charging

3rd Period
MTL PP GOAL – 00:33 – J. Tremblay (Rousseau)
TOR PEN – 14:08 – Mahovlich, high sticking
TOR PEN – 17:59 – Shack, charging

TOR – Sawchuk (T, 32-34)
MTL – Hodge (T, 28-30)

TOR – 13+8+9 = 30
MTL – 11+11+12 = 34

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Bobby Baun, Kent Douglas, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), John Brenneman, Wayne Carleton, Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Larry Jeffrey, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Jim Pappin, 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, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Léon Rochefort, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 1-1-3 (.500)
MTL – 3-1-1 (.700)