Game 506 – Canadiens 7, Maple Leafs 1

Game 506
Canadiens 7, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, February 1, 1967
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A two-inch-wide goalpost set the stage for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 7-1 loss to the Montréal Canadiens last night at The Forum.

The Leafs were trailing 2-1 early in the second period and were pressing for the tying goal. Suddenly Leaf centre Red Kelly battled his way down the boards. He fought past Montréal defenceman Terry Harper at the blueline and darted in on goal. Kelly slid a perfect pass to right winger Ron Ellis, who fired almost as quickly as the puck hit the blade of his stick.

It looked like a goal as it whizzed past goalie Charlie Hodge, who moved out to cut down the angle. But the puck caromed off the goalpost. Ellis chased after the rebound but the Habitants were in full flight. Harper fed a pass to Gilles Tremblay, who drilled a high shot from a difficult angle off goalie John Bower’s shoulder.

Bower lost sight of the puck as it bounced high in the air. Luck is with the Canadiens and it fell in front of the net. Henri Richard carefully bunted it into the net.

This was the turning point in the game.

Instead of the game being tied 2-2 the score was 3-1 and the rout was on. The Leafs were headed toward their eighth loss in a row.

Two more goals zipped past Bower before the period ended and two more were belted past him in the final period. The only surprising statistic was that the Canadiens outshot the Leafs only 29-28.

In only one other season in the 41-year history of the club have the Leafs lost eight games in a row. They lost the last eight games in the 1957-58 season and started the following season with three losses. Billy Reay, now with Chicago, was the coach.

The record for consecutive losses in one season is held by the defunct Philadelphia Quakers, who lost 15 without a tie or win during the 44-game schedule of the 1930-31 season.

Montréal probably would have won anyway, even if Ellis had tied the game. The Canadiens had a slight edge over the Leafs until the turning point and were skating with the confidence and poise they employed in winning the Stanley Cup last season.

But the Leafs, employing three players up from Rochester, Larry Hillman, Dick Gamble and Jim Pappin, might have made more of a game of it. As the score mounted the Leafs more and more looked like a team that does not have the personnel or the spirit to make the playoffs.

The Leafs actually led 1-0 when Bob Baun fired a shot from the blueline that ricocheted off a Montréal defender past Hodge. It was Baun’s first goal of the season.

That lead lasted until Yvan “The Terrible” Cournoyer took over to provide all the goals Montréal needed. The power play specialist, who has earned a berth on a regular line with Jean Béliveau and John Ferguson, scored twice while the Leafs were shorthanded late in the first period.

His two goals were his 17th and 18th of the season, 14 on power plays. The National Hockey League record is 22, held by Bobby Hull.

Cournoyer, who has scored 10 of his goals against Leafs nine on power plays, poked in a rebound from a scramble in front of Bower. His second came after Bobby Rousseau put him in the clear and he skated in to beat Bower with a waist-high shot.

Montréal’s other scorers were Ralph Backstrom, Dick Duff, Béliveau and Gilles Tremblay.

The Leafs looked like a reformed team until Richard’s goal. They were skating and hitting with more authority than in their previous seven games.

They had numerous opportunities to score but over-anxiousness and a bouncing puck foiled their chances.

Defenceman Hillman was the best of the three minor league additions – he teamed with Tim Horton, who was the Leafs best player. Pete Stemkowski, digging and hitting resolutely, was rated the Leafs’ best forward by assistant manager King Clancy.

In their eight-game tailspin the Leafs have scored 12 goals, compared with 38 by the opposition.

Baun was on the ice for five of the Montréal goals. His partner on four of the goals was Marcel Pronovost. Allan Stanley was his mate on the other. Horton and Hillman were on for two.

The Leafs have given up 32 power-play goals and have scored 22.

Coach Punch Imlach finally benched Ron Ellis and Larry Jeffrey, his regular penalty killers, after Cournoyer’s first goal. Brian Conacher, who missed numerous scoring chances, and Bob Pulford were up front for Cournoyer’s second goal. Pulford pulled a muscle in his shoulder and remained on the bench in the final period.

The Montréal defence, led by Harper, Jacques Laperrière and J.C. Tremblay, was impressive. So were forwards Richard, Tremblay and Rousseau.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 2, 1967

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 01:53 – Baun (Pronovost)
TOR PEN – 14:34 – Pronovost, elbowing
MTL PP GOAL – 15:10 – Cournoyer (Ferguson, Rousseau)
TOR PEN – 17:39 – Horton, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 19:13 – Cournoyer (Rousseau)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:50 – Richard (G. Tremblay, Harper)
MTL GOAL – 12:08 – Backstrom (G. Tremblay, J. Tremblay)
MTL GOAL – 14:22 – Duff (Rousseau, Richard)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:57 – G. Tremblay (Backstrom, Larose)
MTL GOAL – 14:56 – Béliveau (Ferguson)
MTL PEN – 15:49 – Price, hooking

MTL – Hodge (W, 27-28)
TOR – Bower (L, 22-29)

MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Noel Price, 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.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower, Gary Smith. Defence: Bobby Baun, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Dick Gamble, Larry Jeffrey, Dave Keon, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton.

MTL – 20-18-5 (.523)
TOR – 17-19-8 (.477)