Preseason Game 01 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1

Preseason Game 01
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, October 4, 1967
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Frank Mahovlich finished off two of the niftiest scoring plays you will ever see last night when the Maple Leafs drubbed the Montréal Canadiens 6-1 in an exhibition hockey game at the Gardens.

But to a Montréal observer, who has been accustomed to this sight down through the years, it wasn’t “The Big M”‘s goal scoring that was impressive. It was Mahovlich’s eagerness to backcheck.

Midway through the first period coach Punch Imlach put Mahovlich out with Dave Keon to kill a penalty.

“The Big M” was forechecking in the Canadiens’ zone when the play dashed toward the Leaf end. Mahovlich, who has been criticized because he often ignored his checking assignments, came back like an elastic band that had just been sprung.

He corralled right winger Bobby Rousseau and snuggled up so close to him in such a tight embrace that Vern Buffey sent Mahovlich off for holding.

Jacques Beauchamp, the Montréal sportswriter who used to work as the Canadiens’ practice goaltender, yelled, “Sacre bleu. Am I seeing right? ‘The Big M’ coming back?”

The crowd, announced as 15,779, loved it and gave Mahovlich an ovation.

He also rocked the house with the game’s first goal at 6:47 of the second period. Keon, who played a masterly two-way game, put “The Big M” in the clear inside the Montréal blueline. Mahovlich dashed in on Rogatien Vachon and left him sprawled on the ice as he flicked the puck into the far corner.

Keon also did the work on Big M’s second goal, which came with 26 seconds left in the game. He dumped the puck out in front of the net as Mahovlich arrived to flick it past Gump Worsley.

Bob Pulford, who centred two lines, scored twice within 23 seconds in the third period to break up a 2-1 game. They were his first preseason goals. Rookie Mike Byers, who scored the winner on a play with another rookie, Gerry Meehan, and Ron Ellis counted the other Leaf goals.

Yvan Cournoyer knocked in Montréal’s only goal.

The Canadiens were without centre Henri Richard and left wingers John Ferguson and Dick Duff.

Duff and Richard have sore knees. Duff’s injury is the most serious. He suffered it last Saturday against Chicago and he may be out of action for at least another week. Ferguson has bruised ribs.

The Leafs played without centre Pete Stemkowski, who is nursing a badly cut finger on his right hand, and defenceman Tim Horton, who has a sore leg.

The game, a boring spectacle at times, produced a couple of robust moments in the first period when Ted Harris and Jim Pappin traded punches and Murray Oliver poked Terry Harper in the face.

Oliver, a lightweight, objected to Harper’s using his stick to massage his back while he was pinned to the ice in front of the Montréal goal. When Oliver got to his feet, he quickly jabbed a right in Harper’s face.

Apparently aware that Leaf players are expected to be pugnacious, Oliver also was nailed for elbowing Cournoyer.

The game was delayed for about three minutes in the second period when referee Vern Buffey returned to the dressing room to sharpen the edges of his skates. He slipped on the tile in the officials’ dressing room between periods and lost the edge on his skates.

“It was a wonder I was able to finish the period, my skates were so bad,” said Buffey.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 5, 1967

1st Period
MTL PEN – 02:04 – Harris, high sticking + fighting major
TOR PEN – 02:04 – Pappin, high sticking + fighting major
TOR PEN – 08:35 – Oliver, elbowing
TOR PEN – 10:14 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR PEN – 13:44 – Oliver, roughing
MTL PEN – 13:44 – Harper, roughing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 06:47 – Mahovlich (Keon)
TOR PEN – 09:27 – Walton, holding
MTL GOAL – 15:09 – Cournoyer (Béliveau, Harper)
TOR GOAL – 15:42 – Byers (Meehan, Pronovost)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 04:45 – Savard, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 05:29 – Pulford (Mahovlich, Hillman)
TOR GOAL – 05:52 – Pulford (Carleton, Pappin)
TOR GOAL – 15:14 – Ellis (Walton, Oliver)
TOR GOAL – 19:34 – Mahovlich (Keon, Rupp)

TOR – Bower (W), Gamble
MTL – Vachon (L), Worsley

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower, Bruce Gamble. Defence: Jim Dorey, Larry Hillman, Marcel Pronovost, Duane Rupp, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Mike Byers, Wayne Carleton, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Gerry Meehan, Murray Oliver, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Mike Walton.
MTLGoaltenders: Rogatien Vachon, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay, Carol Vadnais. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, Danny Grant, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Claude Provost, Mickey Redmond, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay, Bryan Watson.