Game 538 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 2

Game 538
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, October 28, 1970
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Ron Ellis and the Maple Leafs each doubled their production for the National Hockey League season at the Gardens last night.

There may be a moral in there somewhere.

Before last night, the Leafs had picked up a miserly two points from one win in six games. Ellis, the Leafs’ leading goal-scorer last season with 35, had collected three assists.

He scored one goal and assisted on two others in the Leafs 6-2 win over the Montréal Canadiens and some in the crowd of 16,413 waited expectantly to see if he would dive into the net to recover the puck after his goal in the third period which broke a 2-2 tie.

Ellis resisted the temptation although it was a prominent goal for him. It was the first time he has scored this season, including exhibition games.

After he finally broke the barrier the relaxed Leafs ran in three more on Montréal goalie Rogatien Vachon. They scored four goals in the third period, the first two in a 17-second span, the second two in 19 seconds.

It was the third loss in nine games for the Canadiens. They have won five and tied one.

Although Ellis scored the tie-breaker to ignite the Leafs’ third-period surge it was Jacques Plante, the 42-year old goalkeeper, who played the most dramatic role in the Leafs’ win.

He frustrated the Canadiens throughout the game with superlative stops, casually turning aside their high-powered slap shots, intercepting passes near his crease, carefully directing rebounds in a safe direction and even venturing outside his goal area to jostle Montréal players with gentle bodychecks.

Plante stopped 33 shots, 23 of them in the first two periods. The Canadiens outshot the Leafs, 35-32. Jim Harrison, Bill MacMillan, Guy Trottier, Dave Keon and Norm Ullman scored the Leafs’ other goals.

Yvan Cournoyer and Guy Charron scored for the Canadiens. It was the 10th goal of the season for Cournoyer, the first in the NHL for Charron.

Ellis, normally one of the more industrious Leafs, has expressed dejection in the past when his efforts failed to pay off with goals. He has even hinted at an early retirement from the NHL.

It appeared he might be in for another exasperating game last night. He had a breakaway in the second period, but Vachon turned aside his hurried shot. Early in the third period he swooped in on Vachon from the left corner but again the Montréal goalie stopped his shot.

A couple of plays later Paul Henderson recovered his own rebound off the boards behind the Montréal net circled around and passed the puck to Ellis. He quickly snapped it behind Vachon.

The Canadiens looked as fast and quick-breaking as in former years but their checking was refined and casual, comparable to that of the Leafs.

Vachon, who has not had some of his more memorable NHL games in the Gardens, did not look especially vigilant on three of the Leafs’ third-period goals although his defence didn’t overpower him with their attentions. Vachon made several tough stops but his overall performance suffered when compared to that of Plante.

The retirement of meanie John Ferguson has allegedly reduced the Canadiens to a submissive crew but defenceman Terry Harper and left-winger Peter Mahovlich seemed determined to inherit Fergy’s enforcer role.

Mahovlich, especially, flung the Leafs around in a manner which must have been disturbing to Toronto coach John McLennan and also the Leafs involved.

Mahovlich, who is 6 feet 5 inches and about 215 pounds, has great strength. The Leafs who challenged him usually rebounded several feet, either straight-armed there or merely bouncing off his bulk.

He decked Mike Pelyk twice in a few seconds late in the third period before Rick Ley took the big Montréaler to the ice with a low tackle. Mahovlich and Ley were each sent off for roughing.

Mahovlich and Harper provided the more boisterous moments of a game which was more of a skating exhibition than a test of brawn. Body-checking was avoided so meticulously much of the time that one could assume it was punishable by a match penalty.

The Leafs went ahead early in the first period on Harrison’s third goal of the season. Cournoyer tied it for the Canadiens while the Leafs had two players in the penalty box but MacMillan restored the Leafs’ lead in a minute. Charron scored the only goal of the second period.

Plante’s excellent performance manacled the Canadiens through the first two periods and after Ellis scored early in the third the Leafs quickly got the momentum they had been seeking.

Trottier scored his second goal of the year 17 seconds after Ellis had moved the Leafs ahead. Keon scored his third later in the period and Ullman fired his fourth 19 seconds after Keon’s goal.

Even with the win the Leafs remain in last place in the Eastern Division.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 29, 1970

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 04:36 – Harrison (Walton, Glennie)
MTL PEN – 10:03 – Charron, holding
TOR PEN – 12:32 – Pelyk, holding
TOR PEN – 12:36 – Selby, tripping
MTL PP2 GOAL – 13:49 – Cournoyer
TOR GOAL – 14:48 – MacMillan (Selby, Monahan)
MTL PEN – 16:09 – Laperrière, hooking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 03:43 – Dorey, slashing
MTL GOAL – 13:56 – Charron (Béliveau, Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 14:36 – Harper, interference
TOR PEN – 14:36 – Dorey, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:56 – Redmond, boarding
TOR PP GOAL – 03:11 – Ellis (Henderson, Selwood)
TOR GOAL – 03:28 – Trottier (Walton)
MTL PEN – 04:48 – Laperrière, interference
MTL PEN – 05:23 – Collins, hooking
TOR GOAL – 13:08 – Keon (Ellis)
TOR GOAL – 13:27 – Ullman (Henderson, Ellis)
MTL PEN – 15:31 – Mahovlich, roughing
TOR PEN – 15:31 – Ley, roughing
TOR PEN – 16:15 – Selby, holding

TOR – Plante (W, 33-35)
MTL – Vachon (L, 26-32)

TOR – 12+7+13 = 32
MTL – 10+15+10 = 35

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Jacques Plante. Defence: Jim Dorey, Brian Glennie, Rick Ley, Mike Pelyk, Brad Selwood. Forwards: Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Paul Henderson, Dave Keon (C), Billy MacMillan, Garry Monahan, Brit Selby, Darryl Sittler, Guy Trottier, Norm Ullman, Mike Walton.
MTLGoaltenders: Phil Myre, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Jean Béliveau (C), Guy Charron, Bill Collins, Yvan Cournoyer, Réjean Houle, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Larry Pleau, Mickey Redmond, Henri Richard.

TOR – 2-5-0 (.286)
MTL – 5-3-1 (.611)


Ron Ellis (TOR)
⭐⭐ Jacques Plante (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Mike Walton (TOR)