Game 503 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Game 503
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, December 21, 1966
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Ignited by fist-swinging John Ferguson and Yvan Cournoyer’s three power play goals, the Montréal Canadiens overwhelmed the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 in a wild, brawling contest in the Montréal Forum last night before a crowd of 13,829.

Loose officiating by referee Art Skov was responsible for a wild first-period brawl involving almost every player on the ice. His unwillingness to call penalties before the brawling began incited some of the combatants into taking further liberties. The first period wasted 50 minutes.

King Clancy, the Leafs assistant general manager, said that Skov’s officiating was very poor.

“If he’d stepped in early things would never have got going.”

Clancy was particularly disturbed when Ferguson was waving and jabbing his stick in Eddie Shack’s face prior to Montréal’s second goal at the 5:43 point of the first period.

“If he’d called a penalty right then there would have been no donnybrook.”

Ferguson, who drew an assist on Ralph Backstrom’s goal, dropped his gloves and charged after Shack. The fight was on, with Ferguson winning decisions over both Shack and Kent Douglas, who moved in to break up the clawing match.

When it was all over, Skov assessed Ferguson a major and minor, Claude Larose a major, Backstrom a minor, Bobby Baun a major, Douglas a major and Shack a minor.

Ferguson, one of the noted brawlers in the league, and Larry Jeffrey battled briefly in the second period as Pete Stemkowski and the Habs’ Terry Harper punched each other. He didn’t get a penalty on the play. Douglas and Tim Horton moved in to calm down the husky left winger.

Skov, however, did nail Ferguson for high sticking on a play in which the Montréal player might have gotten a misconduct. On Cournoyer’s second goal, which made the score 3-1 in the second period, he left the Montréal bench and raced across the ice and high-sticked the Leafs’ Brian Conacher.

After the wild first period, play generally got sloppier as the two teams seemed to be exhausted.

They started with Bruce Gamble in goal, but switched to Gary Smith after the first period fight. Smith, who played well and thrilled the crowd by stickhandling out to centre ice before shooting the puck away, gave up four goals.

On Smith’s longest journey of his brief NHL career, the Canadiens almost scored when J.C. Tremblay’s shot toward an open net was blocked by Marcel Pronovost. The roaming Smith wasn’t back to the blueline when the shot was taken.

Smith once skated to centre ice while playing for Rochester in a game at Québec last season.

The individual star was of course, Cournoyer. His three power play goals tied a record set by Jean Béliveau, who scored three times during one penalty in the 1953-54 season.

Cournoyer has 10 goals and two assists, all on power plays. Six of his goals have come at the expense of the Leafs.

His first tied the game at 1:57 with Larry Jeffrey off for hooking. He retrieved a puck that had bounced off the Leafs’ George Armstrong and flipped it into an open net as Gamble was far out of his net.

He beat Smith twice in the second period, once on a 25-footer and the other time on a sliding shot that went between Smith’s legs. Smith appeared to be screened on the shot.

In losing for the fourth time in their past five games, the Leafs looked as if they might be winners in the first minute of play when Jeffrey pushed a loose puck past Charlie Hodge.

His goal came 14 seconds after Hodge had been hit by a drive from Red Kelly’s stick and the game was held up while Hodge received treatment.

But the Canadiens, playing without Béliveau, took advantage of Jeffrey’s penalty to tie the game. Then the brawling began.

Shack, who had knocked Ferguson to the ice near centre ice, was hounded by the Hab policeman as he too skated into the Leaf zone. Ferguson took a jab at Shack with his stick and waved it repeatedly in Shack’s face while Skov looked on a few feet away.

Ferguson left Shack long enough to take a pass from Larose before feeding the puck to Backstrom near the goal. Backstrom scored and Ferguson immediately dropped his gloves and went after Shack.

Shack attempted to protect himself with his stick but finally dropped it and wrestled with Ferguson. Douglas then made a mistake of trying to assist Shack and he was pummeled before the fight was broken up.

Shack grabbed Backstrom as a partner and the two did no harm to each other as they huddled along the boards. Other adversaries during the scuffle were Baun and Jacques Laperrière, Bob Pulford and Larose and John Brenneman and J.C. Tremblay.

Without provocation Baun and Larose suddenly began skating in circles trying to punch each other while Skov and linesmen Bob Frampton and Matt Pavelich looked on. Nobody made a move to halt their set-to which ended when Larose swung and Baun fell to the ice. He slipped.

Backstrom, who scored twice, and Jim Roberts counted Montréal’s other goals. Roberts’ goal was his first point of the season. Kent Douglas’ drive from the point on a power play gave Toronto its other goal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 22, 1966

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 00:39 – Jeffrey (Ellis, Pronovost)
TOR PEN – 00:57 – Jeffrey, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 01:57 – Cournoyer (Richard, Rousseau)
MTL GOAL – 05:23 – Backstrom (Ferguson, Larose)
MTL PEN – 05:23 – Ferguson, roughing + fighting major
TOR PEN – 05:23 – Douglas, fighting major
MTL PEN – 05:23 – Backstrom, roughing
TOR PEN – 05:23 – Shack, roughing
MTL PEN – 05:23 – Larose, fighting major
TOR PEN – 05:23 – Baun, fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:26 – Horton, holding
TOR PEN – 16:14 – Armstrong, interference

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:18 – Harper, fighting major
TOR PEN – 04:18 – Stemkowski, fighting major
TOR PEN – 05:21 – Horton, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 06:13 – Cournoyer (Duff, Richard)
MTL PEN – 06:13 – Ferguson, high sticking
MTL PEN – 12:37 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PEN – 14:36 – Pulford, holding
TOR PEN – 14:36 – Pappin, misconduct
MTL PP GOAL – 15:24 – Cournoyer (Duff, Rousseau)
MTL PEN – 16:17 – Backstrom, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 16:43 – Douglas (Mahovlich, Kelly)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 17:19 – Roberts (Rousseau, J. Tremblay)
MTL GOAL – 19:43 – Backstrom (Larose, Harper)

MTL – Hodge (W, 24-26)
TOR – Gamble (2-4), Smith (L, 23-27)

MTLGoaltenders: Garry Bauman, Charlie Hodge. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Gary Smith. Defence: Bobby Baun, Kent Douglas, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), John Brenneman, Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Larry Jeffrey, Frank Mahovlich, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski.

MTL – 12-11-2 (.520)
TOR – 11-9-7 (.537)