Game 533 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 3

Game 533
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, December 10, 1969
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

For the longest while it seemed that Toronto Maple Leaf coach John McLellan’s hunch was going to work.

McLellan started 45-year-old Johnny Bower in goal against the Montréal Canadiens, and everything was fine for Bower until the third period when the Canadiens scored four goals to beat the Leafs 6-3.

Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire, Serge Savard and Claude Provost were the Canadiens’ shooters in the final period.

Goals by Jim McKenny, Mike Walton and Ron Ellis gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead after two periods.

Savard and Bobby Rousseau scored for the Canadiens in the second period.

“What the hell, this is my hunch and I’m going to go with it,” McLellan said Tuesday night after he had made up his mind on Bower.

He decided against using Marv Edwards or Bruce Gamble, both of whom have been playing well, and went with the veteran who last played in a game October 7. That was the Leafs’ Blue-White charity exhibition.

The Leafs entered the game with a lineup unlike anything seen in Toronto uniform this year. It will be seen again tonight when the Leafs play in Philadelphia.

Injuries necessitated the insertion of two new defencemen – Gord Nelson from the Leafs’ Tulsa team, and Chris Evans from Phoenix.

Regulars Jim Dorey and Jim McKenny formed one combination, and Nelson and Evans worked with Tim Horton.

McLellan used lines of Norm Ullman, Terry Clancy and Ron Ellis; Jim Harrison (acquired from Boston yesterday for Wayne Carleton), Murray Oliver and Bob Pulford; and Mike Walton, Brit Selby and George Armstrong. Floyd Smith was also used.

Leaf vice-president Frank “King” Clancy called the first period “the best of the year, so far as taking men out.”

The Leafs performed diligently for Bower, keeping his goal area cleaner of Canadiens than any Leaf goalmouth has been this year. Nelson hit every Canadien he could and Evans also was impressive.

Harrison, meanwhile, seemed out of condition but willing to hit hard in the corners. That is why the Leafs acquired him.

Harrison played centre in Dave Keon’s spot. Keon has a broken thumb. He warmed up with the team but could not shoot properly and did not play.

Keon said he doubted he would play tonight.

The Canadiens wasted no time testing Bower. Both teams were penalized at 0:38 of the first period and soon afterward Cournoyer broke in between two Leafs and blasted a shot at Bower, who took the shot with his pads.

Ralph Backstrom and Christian Bordeleau also tested Bower, and did not like the results. Bordeleau gave the goaltender an elaborate move intended to leave him gasping for space to fall on, but Bower stood still and made perhaps the most difficult of his 14 stops in the period.

Claude Provost tried shooting fast and low to Bower’s short side. That didn’t work either.

Then, at 17:46, the Canadiens’ Mickey Redmond was penalized for slashing.

Norm Ullman won the faceoff that followed, got the puck back to Dorey, who passed to McKenny, who scored his sixth goal of the season. Goaltender Rogatien Vachon appeared to be screened on the play.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 11, 1969

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:38 – Clancy, interference
MTL PEN – 00:38 – Provost, high sticking
MTL PEN – 17:46 – Redmond, slashing
TOR PP GOAL – 17:52 – McKenny (Walton, Ullman)
TOR PEN – 17:58 – Nelson, hooking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 00:10 – Dorey, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 00:43 – Savard
TOR GOAL – 02:11 – Walton (Armstrong)
TOR GOAL – 04:02 – Ellis (Clancy, Dorey)
TOR PEN – 04:35 – Horton, tripping
TOR PEN – 10:31 – Horton, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 11:44 – Rousseau (Lemaire, Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 12:26 – Richard, tripping

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:26 – Cournoyer (Rousseau)
MTL GOAL – 07:18 – Lemaire (Redmond, Harris)
MTL GOAL – 11:30 – Savard (Richard, Redmond)
TOR PEN – 12:33 – Dorey, tripping
MTL PEN – 14:43 – Savard, slashing
MTL EN GOAL – 19:54 – Provost

MTL – Vachon (W, 22-25)
TOR – Bower (L, 33-38)

MTL – 14+10+15 = 39
TOR – 10+9+6 = 25

MTLGoaltenders: Rogatien Vachon, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Christian Bordeleau, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, Réjean Houle, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Claude Provost, Mickey Redmond, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau.
TOR Goaltenders: Johnny Bower, Marv Edwards. Defence: Jim Dorey, Chris Evans, Tim Horton, Jim McKenny, Gord Nelson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Terry Clancy, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Murray Oliver, Bob Pulford, Brit Selby, Floyd Smith, Norm Ullman, Mike Walton, Ron Ward.

MTL – 13-5-8 (.654)
TOR – 9-12-4 (.440)