Game 509 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 4

Game 509
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 4
Wednesday, March 8, 1967
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Rogatien Vachon, a 21-year-old goalie from the small northern Québec community of Palmarolle, was almost invincible the last time he faced the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last night at Maple Leaf Gardens he had difficulty stopping the routine shot when the Leafs scored often and early in gaining a 6-4 decision over the Montréal Canadiens before 15,801.

The Leafs are only one point back of the second-place New York Rangers and have a game in hand. They will meet the Rangers, who lost to Detroit 3-1 last night, at the Gardens Saturday night.

A week ago in Montréal the rookie netminder, who has replaced veteran Charlie Hodge in the Habs’ goal, came within 49 seconds of shutting out the Leafs.

He followed that performance with two exceptional efforts against Detroit and New York, including his first National Hockey League shutout. But the bubble burst for the kid last night.

Before the game was 11 minutes old the Leafs had pumped five goals past him, four of which were largely his fault. The Leafs needed all of the goals, including the one they counted in the second period to build a 6-1 lead because the Canadiens kept advancing to the attack until they had whittled the score down to 6-4.

The Canadiens comeback brought Leaf fans back to reality in a game that for two periods was a rout.

While relaxing with a comfortable edge, the crowd was about to derive some excitement out of two fights and a mixup in the penalty box.

Carol Vadnais, the Canadiens’ tough rookie defenceman, and Mike Walton drew majors for a first period scrap. John (The Villain) Ferguson and Larry Hillman were given similar sentences for fighting in the second period.

The mixup in the penalty box involved the timing of penalties after the Ferguson-Hillman pushing and punching match. George Armstrong also went off with Ferguson and Hillman. The two Leafs joined Bob Baun in the box.

In the confusion of deciding when the players would return to the ice, the Leafs were left two men short for 1:18 instead of 46 seconds because Baun was 32 seconds late returning to the ice.

Scotty Morrison, league referee-in-chief, said the mistake was an error by the penalty timekeeper, Jack Hewitt.

The coincidental majors to Hillman and Ferguson should not have been taken into account in the timekeeping of Baun and Armstrong’s penalties.

The Leafs first period assault was their highest for a single period this season. However, it was magnified by Vachon’s ineptness because the Leafs seemed to be scoring on every shot.

The Leafs began finding holes in Vachon’s armor at 1:17. Their first goal tied the game at 1-1 after Gilles Tremblay gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead when he scored after 48 seconds.

The five Leaf goals came in a space of nine minutes and two seconds, well off the record set by the New York Rangers in 1942 when they counted give goals in three minutes and 42 seconds against the New York Americans.

Bob Pulford, who was named the game’s number one star, tied the score with a 90-foot shot from immediately inside the red line.

Vachon came out to catch the long looping shot but he didn’t advance far enough and the puck bounced in front of him and over his arm into the goal.

Two minutes later Pete Stemkowski outfought Ralph Backstrom for the puck after the faceoff and whipped in a shot from the circle when Vachon left an opening on the short side.

The Canadiens were shorthanded when Dave Keon went digging for a loose puck in Vachon’s pads. He fished it out and slipped it into the net. Vachon then had no chance against a three-way passing play by Stemkowski, Pulford and Jim Pappin, who scored.

Six seconds after Jean Béliveau had been penalized for holding Tim Horton, the Leaf defenceman scored on a long shot that skipped into the goal off Vachon’s stick.

The Leafs’ other goal, by Bob Baun, came on a long shot. It was Baun’s second goal of the season. Both have been scored against the Canadiens.

Henri Richard drew assists on Montréal’s first three goals. He set up Gilles Tremblay with a magnificent rush that swept him around Baun. Goals by Claude Provost and John Ferguson, his first against the Leafs, came from scrambles in front of Terry Sawchuk.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, March 9, 1967

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:48 – G. Tremblay (Richard, J. Tremblay)
TOR GOAL – 01:17 – Pulford (Pronovost)
TOR GOAL – 03:38 – Stemkowski

MTL PEN – 07:15 – Harper, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 07:44 – Keon (Horton, Pulford)
TOR GOAL – 09:38 – Pappin (Stemkowski, Pulford)

MTL PEN – 10:13 – Béliveau, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 10:19 – Horton (Armstrong, Keon)
MTL PEN – 12:10 – Vadnais, fighting major
TOR PEN – 12:10 – Walton, fighting major
TOR PEN – 17:26 – Stanley, hooking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 03:35 – Baun, interference
TOR PEN – 04:49 – Armstrong, roughing
MTL PEN – 04:49 – Ferguson, fighting major
TOR PEN – 04:49 – Hillman, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 07:07 – Baun (Kelly, Mahovlich)
MTL PEN – 07:23 – Vadnais, high sticking
TOR PEN – 14:43 – Hillman, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 15:14 – Provost (Rousseau, Richard)
MTL PEN – 17:50 – Larose, cross checking
TOR PEN – 18:55 – Walton, holding

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:07 – J. Tremblay (Provost, Richard)
TOR PEN – 04:00 – Baun, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 05:35 – Ferguson (Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 08:21 – Ferguson, hooking

TOR – Sawchuk (W, 23-27)
MTL – Vachon (L, 27-33)

TOR – 11+10+12 = 33
MTL – 6+13+8 = 27

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Bobby Baun, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, 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: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay, Carol Vadnais. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 26-22-10 (.534)
MTL – 24-25-10 (.492)