Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 0
Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON
There was some speculation earlier this year that Johnny Bower was becoming so decrepit that he should totter creakily to the CNE grounds and donate himself to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Pro hockey’s oldest athlete proved in Maple Leaf Gardens last night that these reports were a gross exaggeration.
He gave encouragement to the aged, the infirm and shut-ins everywhere with a vigorous, defiant performance that compelled the indifferent Maple Leafs to thrash the Montréal Canadiens 5-0 in a National Hockey League game.
There was absolutely no indication, in the first half of the game, that the Maple Leafs, apart from Bower, were capable of beating any team by that margin.
Bower performed unbelievable physical contortions to stop pucks that seemed beyond his vision. For a great part of the game it was Bower against the Canadiens and the Montréalers were outmatched.
The rest of the Leafs, after admiring his dramatics for almost a period and a half, finally ran in three goals in the second period, but Bower was as busy as ever again in the final period.
It was the kind of game that drives goalkeepers to tranquilizers or a more potent elixir. The puck was traded back and forth, the checking was fragile and there appeared to be a boycott on bumping.
Many of the 15,927 persons reserved their cheers for the goalies.
The Canadiens employed two. Rogatien Vachon started, with Gump Worsley relieving him in the third period.
The Leafs’ final two goals were scored on Worsley.
Bower, in getting his first shutout of the season, blocked 40 shots. Many of them were tough drives and Bower has seldom, in his 23 years as a professional, performed more physical gymnastics to stop shots.
Vachon, until the Leafs scored three times in less than five minutes in the second period, was equally efficient. He moved remarkably fast a few times to block shots that were heating for net corners.
Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, George Armstrong and Mike Walton scored for the Leafs.
Another goal by the Leafs was disallowed by referee Bruce Hood. He said Brian Conacher was in the crease, which was true, but he was held there by Montréal defenceman Ted Harris. Jim Pappin’s shot hit Conacher’s skate and caromed into the net.
Pulford, the most aggressive of the Toronto forwards, had several other excellent scoring opportunities.
He was one of the few players on either team who played industriously on all his shifts.
Some of the Leafs’ other senior citizens, as if accepting Bower’s challenge, also turned back their speedometers a few thousand miles.
Armstrong assisted on two goals, showed uncommon speed on a few rushes and once gave a brief, stick-manipulating lesson that impressed the Canadiens.
Tim Horton played a boisterous, capable game on defence. That was fortunate for the Leafs because they had nobody else who could control the puck in their own zone.
Bower made excellent stops on John Ferguson, Jean Béliveau, Claude Provost and Henri Richard before his mates got him a lead.
Béliveau ran into Bower trying to force him to make the first move. He didn’t. Provost was given a breakaway, courtesy of a stray pass from the Leafs’ Wayne Carleton, but Bower stopped the shot.
Dick Duff gave Richard a breakaway pass in the second period and the lithe Montréal centre floated in to the Toronto crease before making his move, but Bower outguessed him.
The Leafs went right back to score the first goal. Keon’s shot was misjudged by Vachon and the puck rolled over the blade of his stick and across the goal line. Mahovlich made it 2-0 with a brutal shot that flared the net. It came directly from a faceoff, with Armstrong winning the draw.
Pulford turned on a burst of speed to arrive in front of the Montréal goal at the same instant as a setup pass from Ron Ellis on right wing. Pulford stabbed the puck past Vachon.
Armstrong took a pass from Walton and drove a shot past Worsley in the third period. Mahovlich started the play with an accurate pass out of his own zone.
Walton lifted in Brian Conacher’s rebound for his goal. Keon twisted away from a Montréal player on the boards to fire the puck in Worsley’s direction and Conacher gave it an extra whack.
The Canadiens, despite excellent scoring changes, were disorganized and weak in their checking.
They had lost only once in eight games before this one but their coach Toe Blake had suggested earlier that their record was misleading.
There’s one coach who wasn’t kidding.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 2, 1967
MTL PEN – 06:13 – Laperrière, hooking
TOR PEN – 11:16 – Pronovost, charging
MTL PEN – 16:01 – Larose, charging
TOR PEN – 03:53 – Carleton, holding
MTL PEN – 08:19 – J. Tremblay, tripping
TOR GOAL – 11:39 – Keon (Mahovlich, Armstrong)
TOR GOAL – 14:59 – Mahovlich (Armstrong)
MTL PEN – 15:13 – Duff, hooking
TOR PEN – 16:01 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR GOAL – 16:43 – Pulford (Ellis)
TOR GOAL – 06:15 – Armstrong (Walton, Mahovlich)
MTL PEN – 07:43 – Monahan, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 09:05 – Walton (Conacher, Keon)
TOR PEN – 17:34 – Conacher, elbowing
TOR – Bower (W + SO, 40-40)
MTL – Vachon (L, 21-24), Worsley (4-6)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 9+15+6 = 30
MTL – 17+8+15 = 40
TOR – Goaltenders: Johnny Bower, Bruce Gamble. Defence: Tim Horton, Marcel Pronovost, Duane Rupp, Darryl Sly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Wayne Carleton, Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Murray Oliver, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton.
MTL – Goaltenders: Rogatien Vachon, Gump Worsley. Defence: Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay, Carol Vadnais. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Garry Monahan, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.