Game 507 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2

Game 507
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, February 22, 1967
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

If there is any medicinal value to be obtained from a winning team, Maple Leafs manager-coach George Imlach should soon be restored to robust health in Toronto General Hospital.

The Leafs won their fourth game in a row at Maple Leaf Gardens last night, a boisterous 5-2 decision over the sagging Montréal Canadiens.

Imlach watched the game on television in his hospital room while his chief lieutenant King Clancy supervised from behind the Leafs bench for the second successive game.

As a result of their win, which lengthened their unbeaten streak to five games (four wins and a tie), the Leafs climbed into a tie with the Canadiens for third place in the National Hockey League, nine points behind the second-place New York Rangers.

This is quite a reversal in form for the Leafs who only a few weeks ago dropped into fifth place after losing 10 games in a row.

Goalkeeper Johnny Bower, who played most of the game with a badly bruised shoulder, again steadied the Leafs when the pressure was greatest. The Canadiens, not nearly so formidable as in other seasons, exposed the Leafs to several energetic flurries but Bower maintained the Leafs’ cool with numerous fine stops. The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 40-34.

Ed Shack, Dave Keon, Ron Ellis, Jim Pappin and Brian Conacher scored for the Leafs. Dick Duff and Claude Larose were Montréal’s scorers.

Frank Mahovlich, who has recovered his provocative rushing skill under Clancy’s guidance, didn’t score a goal, but set up two with his twisting rushes. Montréal goalie Charlie Hodge stopped him a couple of other times with good saves.

Keon was another industrious player for the Leafs. He gave a busy two-way performance, the type that used to be his trademark.

It may be accidental or it may be Clancy’s influence, but the Leafs, for the second game in a row, didn’t show the same devotion to defensive hockey. Actually, both teams probably saddened exponents of defence but the crowd of 15,871 didn’t seem to be concerned – not with the Leafs leading from the start.

The Leafs scored two goals in the first period, yielded one to the Canadiens in the second and then outscored the Canadiens 3-1 in the third.

John Ferguson, the Canadiens’ truculent left-winger, contributed another $25 to the NHL for spearing his favourite adversary, Shack, in the solar plexus in the third period. Any NHL player who is convicted of spearing pays $25 for the offence.

Ferguson had just returned to the Canadiens lineup after serving a three-game suspension for assaulting a linesman in Chicago. Earlier he was fined by the league for provoking another altercation in the penalty box in Detroit.

Mahovlich was being convoyed, supposedly, away from the Canadiens’ goal by defenceman Ted Harris in the first period when he slipped a lateral to Shack, who made one of his psychedelic moves and lashed the puck past Hodge.

Keon made it 2-0 on a power play goal. He was trying to pass to Conacher, who was parked in front of the Montréal net. Hodge slid out, the puck hit his pads and deflected into the goal.

Duff scored in the second period, intercepting a pass from Leafs defenceman Larry Hillman and racing in rapidly to beat Bower.

The Leafs deflated the Canadiens’ pressure with two fast goals in the third period. Ellis scored his 16th of the season and his first in 12 games. Mahovlich galloped the length of the ice with the puck and passed to Ellis deep in the Montréal zone. That play came directly after Bower had frustrated Henri Richard on a close-in scoring attempt.

Pappin’s shot, after a faceoff in the Montréal zone, deflected off Harris into the Montréal net. Larose scored his goal when Jean Béliveau drove into the Toronto end behind the net and passed back. Conacher came back with Keon two minutes later to get the Leafs’ fifth goal.

The Leafs had a tough time holding off the Canadiens in the first period. They served three of four penalties but Bower took care of the barrage, stopping 14 shots.

If the Canadiens had any intention of playing line against line, a system they frequently employ, they must have been bewildered by Clancy’s unorthodox formations. Sometime he has used his standard lines, at other times he created instant lines and then followed with variations of the instant lines.

Richard, with his great speed and floating rushes, was the Canadiens’ chief threat, although he was playing his first game in two weeks. He has been out with a knee injury.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 23, 1967

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:21 – Horton, interference
TOR GOAL – 08:00 – Shack (Mahovlich, Hillman)
MTL PEN – 08:33 – Backstrom, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 09:45 – Keon (Horton, Armstrong)
TOR PEN – 14:31 – Pronovost, tripping
TOR PEN – 19:36 – Stemkowski, tripping

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:34 – J. Tremblay, hooking
MTL PEN – 09:19 – Harris, hooking
MTL GOAL – 19:49 – Duff

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:51 – Ellis (Mahovlich)
TOR GOAL – 04:28 – Pappin (Walton, Pulford)
MTL PEN – 06:51 – Ferguson, spearing
TOR PEN – 12:27 – Stemkowski, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 13:47 – Larose (Béliveau)
TOR GOAL – 15:55 – Conacher (Keon, Shack)

TOR – Bower (W, 38-40)
MTL – Hodge (L, 29-34)

TOR – 11+8+15 = 34
MTL – 14+10+16 = 40

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Jim McKenny, Marcel Pronovost, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton.
MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Ted Harris, 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.

TOR – 21-21-9 (.500)
MTL – 22-23-7 (.490)