Game 499 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 499
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, November 9, 1966
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Brian Conacher, a member of the new breed of athlete, feels that sport is not the be-all and the end-all of his existence.

When his working night on the ice has ended, he wants to turn his mind to other things.

Last night he was concentrating on his duties as an all-purpose forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was prominent in the Leafs’ dogged 3-2 victory over the Stanley Cup champion Montréal Canadiens, scoring his fifth goal and setting up linemate George Armstrong for another, before 14,203 fans in the Forum.

Jim Pappin counted the winning goal for the Leafs, breaking a 2-2 tie near the middle of the final period with a blazing drive from inside the Canadiens blueline. It was his first this season. The goal came with two Habs, John Ferguson and Jim Roberts, in the penalty box.

Yvan Cournoyer and Dave Balon scored for Montréal.

The victory moved the Leafs into second place past the Canadiens and stretched their undefeated streak to seven games. They are only one point back of league-leading Chicago. They have been beaten only once, 1-0 by New York, this season, although they have five ties.

The Canadiens, in losing their third game, have lost two in a row.

When Conacher goes on road trips he usually brings along his school books. He is studying for his degree at the University of Western Ontario. He needs only three more papers to achieve this goal.

Conacher studies such books as The English Revolution, 1650-1688, and makes notes while his teammates play cards, read magazines or discuss the game en route to the next NHL city.

He sometimes complains that he doesn’t have enough time to read all the books he would like and discusses politics freely and intelligently.

Another thing that bothers Conacher is his left wrist. He realized that he would need a much harder shot than the one he possessed if he was going to make the jump from the American Hockey League to the NHL.

“I worked on strengthening my wrists all summer long by lifting barbells.”

In an exhibition game in Rochester he injured his left wrist on his last shift on the ice. The wrist has been bothering him ever since. He carefully bandages it before each game or practice.

“It only bothers me when I play. When I’m not practicing or playing it feels fine. I’m sure if I was to give it a week or two’s rest it would be okay.”

However, Conacher has been unable to rest the wrist and it may never be strong this season.

His wrist looked anything but weak when he drilled a high drive past Hab goalie Charlie Hodge near the end of the first period to tie the game.

“Conacher is the best worker I’ve ever seen,” said Leaf assistant general manager King Clancy. “And his shot is improving. He’s firing in strikes now, something he wasn’t doing before.”

Armstrong, who set up Conacher, was credited with his first goal of the season when he teamed with linemates Pete Stemkowski and Conacher. Stemkowski, who seconds earlier had set up Conacher, again put him in the clear. After failing to score, Conacher grabbed the puck and set up Armstrong neatly.

Cournoyer’s goal, his second against the Leafs this season, came on a power play in the first period. Balon tied the game up in the opening seconds of the final period when he was left unattended at the side of the net. He flipped in Bob Rousseau’s rebound.

Henri Richard was by far the Habs’ best forward. He was robbed of a tying goal in the final five minutes when he and his linemates, Balon and Cournoyer, each had a chance of getting the puck past Terry Sawchuk.

Sawchuk played brilliantly throughout, stopping 32 of 34 shots. The Leafs were outshot 34-25.

Punch Imlach, who hoped to get eight points in the Leafs’ ambitious schedule of eight games in 12 nights, has seven in five games. The Leafs have games in Boston, Detroit and Chicago before returning home.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 10, 1966

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:58 – team, too many men on the ice
MTL PP GOAL – 03:15- Cournoyer (Béliveau, G. Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 05:08 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR GOAL – 18:42 – Conacher (Douglas, Armstrong)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 08:24 – Baun, tripping
TOR GOAL – 14:12 – Armstrong (Conacher, Stemkowski)
TOR PEN – 16:05 – Baun, kneeing

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:41 – Balon (Richard, Rousseau)
MTL PEN – 07:57 – Ferguson, cross checking
MTL PEN – 09:07 – Roberts, spearing
TOR PP2 GOAL – 09:21 – Pappin (Mahovlich, Keon)
TOR PEN – 12:30 – Ellis, interference

TOR – Sawchuk (W, 32-34)
MTL – Hodge (L, 22-25)

TOR – 9+9+7 = 25
MTL – 13+8+13 = 34

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Bobby Baun, Kent Douglas, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), John Brenneman, 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: Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Léon Rochefort, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 3-1-5 (.611)
MTL – 4-3-1 (.563)