Preseason Game 02 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4

Preseason Game 02
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4
Saturday, October 7, 1967
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Montréal Canadiens last night was not a complete loss. Not as far as coach Punch Imlach was concerned.

He learned something in defeat and hopes his players also benefitted.

The remark was undoubtedly a facetious one, but following the Leafs’ 3-2 win over the New York Rangers Saturday, Imlach said he hope the Canadiens would knock his club “off cloud nine.”

“A defeat may help us more than a win at this point. If we were to win this one and then beat Québec I might have trouble talking to these guys before we open the league next weekend with that doubleheader against Chicago.”

His club understandably had become a bit cocky, rolling to 10 wins, a tie and two losses before last night’s defeat. They hammered the Canadiens 6-1 this past Wednesday in Toronto. Imlach was beginning to feel his team might be paying too much attention to the “powerhouse” tag they acquired.

Imlach never likes to lose, not even an exhibition game. But he probably would have preferred to see his team get drubbed 5-0 than the way they did.

After trailing 3-1 in the first period the Leafs rallied for two goals in the second period and went ahead for the first time on Murray Oliver’s goal at 4:17 of the third period.

But the Canadiens continued to skate as they usually do in the Forum and took advantage of mistakes by defenceman Larry Hillman. They tied the game at 11:39 on Jacques Lemaire’s goal and won it when Hillman put the puck on Ralph Backstrom’s stick and the shifty centre beat Bruce Gamble.

Gamble wasn’t especially sharp on either goal. He settled down after a shaky first period when he played the angle badly on long drives from Jean Béliveau and Bobby Rousseau, but was on his stomach when Yvan Cournoyer scored.

Besides Oliver, Leaf scorers were Wayne Carleton, Dave Keon and Allan Stanley. Stanley, 41, looked more like a 21-year-old as he dashed in to grab a rebound in front of Rogatien Vachon and score.

Imlach also came to the conclusion during the game that centre Mike Walton may not be the best man between Ron Ellis and Oliver. He put Oliver back at centre, his normal position before coming to the Leafs from Boston in the trade for Eddie Shack. Bob Pulford took over on the left side and the line clicked for a goal its third time on the ice.

The line whipped the puck among themselves as if it were tied to their sticks. By the time Oliver flipped it in the net three Canadiens and Vachon were prostrate on the ice.

The crowd was only 8,963 for the exhibition game, smallest ever to watch a Leaf team in the Forum. Surprisingly many were Leaf fans and set up a “Go Leafs Go” chant several times in the second period.

The Canadiens played without Terry Harper, who suffered a shoulder separation in a game in Boston on Friday. He will be out for about five weeks.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 8, 1967

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 02:25 – Béliveau (Ferguson, Vadnais)
TOR PEN – 06:08 – Pronovost, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 07:20 – Cournoyer (Béliveau, Laperrière)
MTL PEN – 12:41 – Savard, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 13:22 – Carleton (Pappin, Hillman)
TOR PEN – 16:01 – Oliver, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 17:07 – Rousseau (Richard, J.C. Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 17:43 – Vadnais, roughing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 04:25 – Keon (Armstrong, Mahovlich)
TOR PEN – 09:50 – Armstrong, fighting major
MTL PEN – 09:50 – Vadnais, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 14:20 – Stanley (Pulford, Conacher)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:07 – Harris, tripping
TOR GOAL – 04:17 – Oliver (Pulford, Ellis)
TOR PEN – 05:47 – Dorey, high sticking
MTL GOAL – 11:39 – Lemaire (Vadnais, Redmond)
MTL GOAL – 15:34 – Backstrom

MTL – Vachon (W, 24-28)
TOR – Gamble (L, 29-34)

MTL – 12+11+11 = 34
TOR – 12+10+6 = 28

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