Game 540 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

Game 540
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0
Wednesday, December 9, 1970
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs last night beat the Montréal Canadiens 4-0 in a fight-filled game that cost the players of both clubs at least $3,100 in fines.

Dave Keon, Bill MacMillan, Garry Monahan and George Armstrong scored the goals and Bruce Gamble earned the shutout, but hockey became almost incidental to the battling.

In one first-period incident, all players of both teams except the Leafs’ Jacques Plante left the benches. The result of the fracas was 102 minutes in penalties assessed by referee Bill Friday. Total for the first period was 130 penalty minutes, compared with the record of 184 minutes in one period, set in another game between Montréal and Toronto in Toronto on the corresponding date in 1953.

The final amount of money the players will finally pay in fines depends on the assessment of National Hockey League president Clarence Campbell. Players are fined at least $100 for leaving the bench, an increase over previous years. Campbell can add to that amount.

The tone of the game was established early when John Ferguson charged Bill MacMillan, cross-checking him to the ice. MacMillan had inadvertently hit Ferguson over the back of the head with his stick and Ferguson was seeking revenge.

Friday called only a minor charging penalty, although the rule book calls for a major when there is an obvious intent to injure. MacMillan lay on the ice, seemingly unconscious for several minutes. The Leafs didn’t threaten any immediate retaliation.

Later, at 14:27 of the first, Darryl Sittler and Bill Collins collided behind the Montréal goal and soon all players were on the ice, milling in heaps. Montréal goaltender Phil Myre was atop one pile, which included Keon, Jim Harrison and Marc Tardif.

The crowd cheered as Gamble left his goal, lumbered down the ice and piled on top of Myre. Ferguson was the first player to leave the bench, followed by Dorey. Then all the players but Plante streamed into action, while the Montréal training staff threw all available sticks onto the ice.

There were no clear decisions in the fights. Brian Spencer earned the only victory of the night, in a second period battle with Terry Harper.

The fighting, wrestling, pinching, screaming and taunting quieted down with each period, though Spencer and Phil Roberto seemed ready to swap punches late in the game, and MacMillan and Pierre Bouchard threatened with 55 seconds left.

The total for the game was 179 penalty minutes, with the Canadiens receiving 45 minutes in minors and majors and six 10-minute misconducts. The Leafs, comparatively angelic, were caught for 41 minutes in minors and majors plus three misconducts. The record for a game is 204 minutes, set in that 1953 Leaf-Canadien battle.

It was the type of entertainment a father might like his peewee son to witness, in order to learn as many infractions as possible in 60 minutes of hockey. With four Canadiens sentenced in the penalty bench at one time, one of them had to sit on the stairs between the red seats, where Stafford Smythe and other members of the Leaf nobility perch.

Guy Trottier was out of uniform with a severely bruised shoulder (torn muscle is considered a possibility), suffered Tuesday when he was checked heavily by Pittsburgh’s Greg Polis.

The Leafs were fortunate they had summoned Spencer, a rowdy left wing, from Tulsa. Otherwise, they would have run out of bodies.

Paul Henderson was taken to hospital in the first period and Mike Walton was another absentee, for the fourth consecutive game, with his unexplained ailment.

Spencer, who had 14 points and 98 minutes in penalties in 22 games in Tulsa, arrived just before the game. He was expected to be tired, but he quickly showed he was ready for anything, especially Harper.

Jim Dorey, who missed the previous three games with the flu, left his sickbed and played regularly. He fought Claude Larose in the first bout of the game and ended up on top.

The fighting obscured the excellence of the Leafs’ play, which was in complete contrast to the lethargy they displayed in Pittsburgh while losing 4-0 Tuesday.

Gamble was exceptionally alert while earning his first shutout of the season and reducing his bulging 4.29 goals-against average.

His teammates skated vigorously enough to make it an off night for the Canadiens, even if it didn’t start that way.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 10, 1970

1st Period
MTL PEN – 05:03 – Larose, fighting major
TOR PEN – 05:03 – Dorey, high sticking + fighting major
MTL PEN – 06:26 – Ferguson, charging
TOR PEN – 06:26 – Ley, roughing
MTL PEN – 06:26 – Redmond, roughing
TOR PP GOAL – 07:04 – Keon (McKenny, Pelyk)
TOR PEN – 09:24 – Sittler, charging
MTL PEN – 12:17 – Tardif, elbowing
MTL PEN – 13:20 – Lapointe, slashing
MTL PEN – 14:27 – Collins, major + misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:27 – Ley, major + misconduct
MTL PEN – 14:27 – Harper, major + misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:27 – Sittler, major + misconduct
MTL PEN – 14:27 – Tardif, major + misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:27 – Harrison, major + misconduct
MTL PEN – 14:27 – Lapointe, leaving penalty bench + misconduct
TOR GOAL – 17:02 – MacMillan (Keon, Dorey)
TOR PEN – 18:21 – Pelyk, cross checking
MTL PEN – 18:39 – Tremblay, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:33 – Glennie, hooking
TOR GOAL – 10:05 – Monahan (Keon)
MTL PEN – 12:55 – Roberto, slashing + misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:46 – Spencer, high sticking major + fighting major
MTL PEN – 14:46 – Harper, fighting major

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 03:34 – Tardif, interference + misconduct
TOR GOAL – 10:57 – Armstrong (Harrison)
TOR PEN – 12:06 – Dorey, elbowing
MTL PEN – 15:11 – Roberto, high sticking
TOR PEN – 15:11 – Spencer, high sticking
MTL PEN – 19:05 – Bouchard, charging

TOR – Gamble (W + SO, 33-33)
MTL – Myre (L, 28-32)

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Jacques Plante. Defence: Bobby Baun, Jim Dorey, Brian Glennie, Rick Ley, Jim McKenny, Mike Pelyk. Forwards: George Armstrong, Doug Brindley, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Paul Henderson, Dave Keon (C), Billy MacMillan, Garry Monahan, Darryl Sittler, Brian Spencer, Norm Ullman.
MTLGoaltenders: Phil Myre, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Pierre Bouchard, Terry Harper, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Bill Collins, John Ferguson, Réjean Houle, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Mickey Redmond, Henri Richard, Phil Roberto, Léon Rochefort, Marc Tardif.

TOR – 8-18-1 (.315)
MTL – 12-10-4 (.538)


Dave Keon (TOR)
⭐⭐ Bruce Gamble (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Norm Ullman (TOR)