Preseason Game 04 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3

Preseason Game 04
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, September 30, 1970
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON

The Montréal Canadiens scored three goals in less than seven minutes last night but had to hang on for a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in their exhibition game.

Peter Mahovlich, Guy Lapointe and Fran Huck gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead by 6:33 of the first period. Paul Henderson scored for the Leafs, but a goal by Yvan Cournoyer put Montréal ahead 4-1 by the end of the period.

Garry Monahan and Jim McKenny shot Leaf goals in the final period, with McKenny’s 4-3 score coming at 11:34 when the Leafs were playing one man short.

Phil Myre, the Montréal goaltender, stopped 37 shots and was the outstanding performer.

One free faceoff was called against Toronto.

Jacques Plante easily smothered the resulting shot by Mickey Redmond, who received a free pass from Henri Richard, and released a skimmer from about 30 feet.

But Myre provided the best goaltending of the evening. The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 40-38. Myre was equally good blocking shots with his glove, pads and stick through the game.

He stopped three drives by Mike Walton in the closing minutes after a penalty to Claude Larose at 15:59, and was as spectacular as necessary.

Claude Ruel, the Montréal coach, was impressed. He had been openly critical of goaltenders Myre and Rogatien Vachon in Montréal’s first exhibtion games.

“Always, we go for first place,” Ruel said, “but it is essential we get the goaltending. Boston is the team we have to beat, they won it all last year.”

Ruel was pressed for further information. Did he mean improved goaltending would be necessary to finish first? “Any team that wins needs good goaltending. I hope we’ll be better than last season. We cannot be worse.”

The Canadiens showed 16,485 fans they easily could finish first. Jean Béliveau and Henri Richard spent most of the time on the bench, yet Béliveau picked up two assists and came close to scoring when he reappeared in the third period.

Moreover the Canadiens played without John Ferguson, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay and Jacques Laperrière, all recovering from injuries. All will return soon with the exception of Savard. He is recovering from a broken leg and won’t begin scrimmaging for another two weeks.

“Another thing,” said Ruel, “you go out and kill eight penalties against Toronto and see how you do. That’s a good power play, one of the best in the league, when you have Ellis (Ron), Walton, Henderson and Ullman (Norm) shooting at you.

“We had to work like mad dogs.”

Jim McKenny, on the blueline with Walton completes the Leaf power play. He started the play that led to Toronto’s only power play goal, Henderson’s 3-1 score, by neatly arranging a passout from the corner. Ellis and Ullman carried assists.

Ellis passed to Monahan for the second Toronto goal. Monahan blasted a shot that Myre saw only in the net, just as Plante didn’t see Cournoyer’s drive.

“We had eight power plays to their four,” said Jim Gregory, the Leafs’ general manager. “If we had scored one more it would have been different.”

“What impressed me,” said Leaf coach John McLellan, “is the guys didn’t roll over and die after being down 3-0. They kept going.”

The Toronto rookie line of Darryl Sittler, Brian Marchinko and Bob Liddington still hasn’t been scored on, which leaves Gregory and McLellan pleased.

NOTES: Leafs supporters would point out the regulars missing from the Toronto lineup – Dave Keon, Jim Dorey, Rick Ley, George Armstrong and Brit Selby…Gregory signed Selby yesterday. Unsigned Leafs now are Ley, Gamble, McKenny, Monahan, Armstrong and Keon…Guy Trottier will be re-examined today; he left the game after being checked into the boards by Pierre Bouchard. Trottier suffered a severely swollen arm and required stitches over one eye. He set up Norm Ullman with a good pass on the play…Brian Glennie stood out on defence for the Leafs with several crunching bodychecks…Peter Mahovlich was a standout for the Canadiens.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 1, 1970