Game 514 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1

Game 514
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, November 29, 1967
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The crowd came to pay homage to Frank Mahovlich at the Gardens last night and “The Big M” didn’t let them down.

Nineteen seconds after stepping on the ice for the first time in a National Hockey League game since November 1, Mahovlich had the fans applauding wildly.

He didn’t score the goal that put the Leafs ahead 1-0, but he set up the Maple Leafs’ scoring sensation, Mike Walton, who ripped a short drive past Montréal goalie Gump Worsley.

The Leafs won the sloppy, lack-lustre contest 2-1 and remained within two points of the first-place Boston Bruins, who also won last night.

Victory or defeat, good game or bad game, did not seem to be on the fans’ minds last night. All they were interested in was watching The Big M. The crowd of 16,001 was eager to applaud anything he did.

Mahovlich, who last played the night the Leafs walloped the Canadiens 5-0 here, was on the bench when the game started. Coach Punch Imlach started big Wayne Carleton on left wing with Walton and George Armstrong.

The line did nothing and the next time Imlach sent it out, Mahovlich was in Carleton’s place.

Again the crowd gave Mahovlich an ovation. It seemed they thought they were responsible for his four-week illness. Doctors said he was suffering from depression and tension.

The clock read 4:25 as Mahovlich lined up for a faceoff in the Leaf zone. Suddenly the puck shot up the right boards off Armstrong’s stick. Walton missed it in the centre ice zone and slid in over the Canadiens blueline.

Mahovlich darted in, beat Jacques Laperrière for the puck. Before the Canadiens’ other defenceman, Terry Harper, could cover up, Mahovlich passed to Walton.

The 22-year-old centre lashed a 15-footer past Worsley. It was his 12th goal and marked the seventh home game in a row in which he has scored.

The fans loved it. Many stood to applaud.

Mahovlich played well for a man who has been out of the lineup for the past 11 games.

The game was unlike Montréal-Toronto contests of recent years. Nobody wanted to hit. Only one penalty to the Leafs was called by referee John Ashley. The game was livened only by a rousing final three minutes, when both teams scored.

Playing without Henri Richard, Jean Béliveau and John Ferguson, the Canadiens were unable to take advantage of Leaf errors because of erratic shooting and goalie John Bower’s steady play.

When Yvan Cournoyer drilled a backhander off the crossbar with an open net and Bower out of position at 7:31 of the third period it looked as if the 41-year-old netminder was headed for his second successive shutout against the Canadiens.

However, at 18:20 the Canadiens’ ragged but persistent forechecking paid off when Gilles Tremblay knocked in a 15-footer with Bower on his back after making two saves.

The Leafs’ winning goal was scored by Jim Pappin at 17:14 of the final period when his shot from the corner hit Worsley’s skate and ricocheted into the net. It was Pappin’s eighth goal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 30, 1967

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 04:44 – Walton (Mahovlich, Armstrong)
TOR PEN – 12:02 – Pronovost, hooking

2nd Period

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 17:14 – Pappin (Stemkowski, Rupp)
MTL GOAL – 18:20 – G. Tremblay (Provost, Rousseau)

TOR – Bower (W, 33-34)
MTL – Worsley (L, 29-31)

TOR – 11+7+13 = 31
MTL – 13+9+12 = 34

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower, Bruce Gamble. Defence: Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Marcel Pronovost, Duane Rupp, Darryl Sly. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Wayne Carleton, Brian Conacher, Ron Ellis, Frank Mahovlich, Murray Oliver, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Pete Stemkowski, Mike Walton.
MTLGoaltenders: Rogatien Vachon, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay, Carol Vadnais. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Garry Monahan, Claude Provost, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 12-7-2 (.619)
MTL – 8-9-4 (.476)