Game 534 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3

Game 534
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, February 11, 1970
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Mike Walton’s last-minute score last night gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-3 tie with the Montréal Canadiens.

For the longest while it seemed the Leafs were going to gain their first win over Montréal this season.

An earlier goal by Walton and Ron Ellis’ 24th of the season gave Toronto a 2-1 lead that lasted most of the second period.

But then, for the longest time it seemed Montréal was going to win again. Mickey Redmond tied the score 2-2 late in the second and Serge Savard gave Montréal the lead at 7:40 of the third, while the Canadiens were shorthanded.

The Leafs sagged at that point and only goaltender Bruce Gamble prevented Montréal from expanding the lead.

Spurts of offence kept the game mildly interesting for the 16,837 who braved a heavy snowstorm.

Montréal coach Claude Ruel classed the game a must for the Canadiens, who are struggling to take over first place in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Division.

It’s a Leaf cliche to say that every game’s a must. A cliché, but true for the last-place team.

In earlier games here, the Leafs twice submitted to 6-3 defeats. In Toronto, the Leafs tied the Canadiens 2-2 in their first game and lost 3-1 in the second.

Ralph Backstrom scored last night after only 2:06 of the first period when he took a pass from Christian Bordeleau and had plenty of time to beat Gamble.

Walton got his first goal on a power play, tying the score when Dave Keon won a faceoff in front of Montréal goaltender Rogatien Vachon and got the puck back to Walton at the blueline. The goal followed Backstrom’s by little more than a minute.

Gamble cleared the puck to Ellis and recorded his first NHL assist early in the second period. Ellis’ shot deflected off J.C. Tremblay, who was one of two Montréal defencemen facing a three-man Toronto attack.

Redmond’s tying goal was similar to Walton’s. This time, Richard beat Keon on a faceoff and passed back.

Leaf defenceman Jim McKenny was victimized on Montréal’s third goal when he lost a puck-control duel with Jacques Laperrière. Serge Savard took over, broke in alone and knocked his own rebound past Gamble, who had fallen to the ice making the first save.

McKenny enjoyed an otherwise solid night on defence, however, and assisted on Walton’s tying goal.

Gamble left the net with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Norm Ullman replaced him as an extra attacker. Six seconds later, Walton slapped the rebound of a Jim Harrison shot into the open side of Vachon’s net.

The Leafs were strongest when their top two lines, Ullman, Henderson and Ellis and Keon, Murray Oliver and Bob Pulford, were on the ice, especially in the first two periods.

The Leafs’ other line, which featured various combinations of Walton, Harrison, Brit Selby, George Armstrong and Floyd Smith, had more trouble. One reason is that they played against a Montréal line usually centred by Jean Béliveau, who is slowly regaining condition after his mid-season ankle injury. Béliveau took short turns on the ice, but played effectively.

Vancouver Canucks general manager-coach Joe Crozier was at the game. He would not reveal the purpose of his two-day visit. He plans to return to Vancouver this morning. Crozier said he still is not sure if he will be retained by the NHL Canucks next season.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 12, 1970

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 02:06 – Backstrom (Bordeleau, Provost)
MTL PEN – 02:27 – Harris, cross checking
TOR PP GOAL – 03:35 – Walton (Keon)
TOR PEN – 13:19 – Horton, tripping
TOR PEN – 18:37 – Quinn, tripping

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:08 – Ellis (Gamble)
MTL PEN – 02:32 – Harper, slashing
TOR PEN – 05:58 – Ley, delay of game + misconduct
MTL PEN – 08:45 – Redmond, tripping
MTL GOAL – 16:22 – Redmond (Richard)
TOR PEN – 19:25 – Harrison, tripping
TOR PEN – 19:37 – Horton, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 06:22 – Harris, hooking
MTL SH GOAL – 07:40 – Savard (Laperrière)
TOR EA GOAL – 19:17 – Walton (Harrison, McKenny)

MTL – Vachon (T, 25-28)
TOR – Gamble (T, 27-30)

MTL – 8+9+13 = 30
TOR – 12+6+10 = 28

MTLGoaltenders: Phil Myre, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Christian Bordeleau, Yvan Cournoyer, Lucien Grenier, Jacques Lemaire, Claude Provost, Mickey Redmond, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau.
TOR Goaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Gerry McNamara. Defence: Brian Glennie, Tim Horton, Rick Ley, Jim McKenny, Pat Quinn. Forwards: George Armstrong, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Paul Henderson, Dave Keon (C), Murray Oliver, Bob Pulford, Brit Selby, Floyd Smith, Norm Ullman, Mike Walton.

MTL – 28-12-13 (.651)
TOR – 21-21-9 (.500)