Game 541 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 4

Game 541
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 4
Saturday, January 30, 1971
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-4 win over the Montréal Canadiens Saturday night strengthened coach John McLellan’s belief that the final National Hockey League standing will show Toronto third and Montréal fourth in the Eastern Division.

If Montréal had won, McLellan would have needed to consider conceding third to the Canadiens. But the surprising Leaf show left them only six points behind the Canadiens, who lost to Chicago, 4-1, last night.

“It was a really big win for us, because they would have led us by 10 points if we lost,” he said. “This way, they’re within sight.”

The Leafs responded to the importance of the game with their best effort since beating Los Angeles 8-1 on January 18. The Canadiens provided a considerably sterner test than the Kings. They had been defeated in the Forum only four times this season.

Paul Henderson assisted on two goals by Norm Ullman, which provided a 2-1 lead, set up another by linemate Ron Ellis, and scored Toronto’s fourth. Dave Keon shook goaltender Phil Myre, who replaced Rogatien Vachon for the third period, for what proved to be the winner.

Peter Mahovlich proivded Montréal a 1-0 lead that lasted 58 seconds in the first period until Ullman scored his first. Jean Béliveau beat Jacques Plante to tie the score 2-2, and Frank Mahovlich later killed a 3-2 Toronto lead.

Jacques Lemaire shot Montréal’s final goal after Toronto led 5-3.

The Canadiens failed to tie the game in spite of frantic efforts in the final 62 seconds, when Myre was removed for an extra forward.

The Canadiens lost Serge Savard, their premier defenceman, with an injured leg when he was dumped by Bob Baun in the first period. It was a routine Baun move, in which he swivelled his hips into position to launch Savard. Afterward, Savard and Baun traded elbows and stick and play continued momentarily until Jim Harrison was penalized for kneeing Henri Richard. Then Savard was helped to the dressing room.

“I didn’t even know he was gone,” said Montréal coach Al McNeil. “Not until the next time I wanted him on the ice, and he wasn’t on the bench.”

Savard was taken to Montréal General Hospital, where it was learned he had suffered a fracture of the lower left leg.

Savard, 25, suffered a multiple fracture of the same leg last season and did not return to the Canadiens until November 7 of this season.

“I thought Baun turned the game around with that check,” said McLellan. “It was an innocent enough check, but afterward the Canadiens took two penalties trying to nail him.”

Phil Roberto left the Canadiens two minutes short for slashing at Baun, and John Ferguson tried giving Baun his well-known elbow treatment.

The result of the second-period penalties, three to Montréal and one to Toronto, was that the Leafs outshot the Canadiens 11-3. The game total favoured Toronto 29-20.

Whether the game was good or bad depended on which team you asked. As for the Forum crowd, 17,909, the vocal indication was strongly pro-Toronto. Visiting Leaf fans dominated, with chants of “Go Leafs Go!”

Myre remembered Keon’s fooling him last season with an identical fake-to-the-backhand, shoot-with-the-forehand move that succeeded for the winning goal. Myre thought there were too many bad goals for the game to be considered good.

“Not for people who know their hockey,” said Myre. “But the people like to see lots of red lights, I guess.

“One of these times I am going to learn about that Keon. He got me going and then he put it through my legs.”

McNeil said his team hadn’t played well. He pulled Vachon because “he wasn’t moving as good as I’ve seen Rogie moving.”

“We didn’t forecheck them enough. We gave them too many chances. Of course, one reason a team doesn’t play well is because of the other team, eh?”

Garry Monahan played alertly, putting Keon in the clear for the fifth goal and moving crisply throughout the game.

The Canadiens responded to the loss yesterday by recalling centre Bobby Sheehan from the Montréal Voyageurs.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 1, 1971

1st Period
TOR PEN – 05:00 – Monahan, fighting major
MTL PEN – 05:00 – Roberto, fighting major
MTL GOAL – 08:47 – P. Mahovlich (F. Mahovlich)
TOR GOAL – 09:45 – Ullman (Ellis, Henderson)
TOR PEN – 13:12 – Harrison, kneeing
MTL PEN – 14:19 – Lapointe, elbowing
TOR PP GOAL – 16:15 – Ullman (Henderson)
MTL GOAL – 19:09 – Béliveau (Cournoyer)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:38 – Ellis (Henderson)
MTL PEN – 02:59 – Roberto, slashing
MTL PEN – 08:15 – Ferguson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 10:46 – P. Mahovlich, holding
MTL GOAL – 15:57 – F. Mahovlich (Lapointe, Roberto)
TOR PEN – 16:42 – McKenny, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 02:15 – Ferguson, charging
TOR PP GOAL – 03:19 – Henderson (Pelyk)
MTL PEN – 04:08 – P. Mahovlich, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 10:34 – Keon (Monahan, Baun)
MTL GOAL – 11:06 – Lemaire (Tremblay)
TOR PEN – 12:10 – Dorey, hooking

TOR – Plante (W, 16-20)
MTL – Vachon (16-19), Myre (L, 8-10)

TOR – 8+11+10 = 29
MTL – 11+3+6 = 20

TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Jacques Plante. Defence: Bobby Baun, Jim Dorey, Rick Ley, Jim McKenny, Mike Pelyk. Forwards: George Armstrong, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Paul Henderson, Dave Keon (C), Billy MacMillan, Garry Monahan, Brian Spencer, Guy Trottier, Norm Ullman.
MTLGoaltenders: Phil Myre, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Réjean Houle, Jacques Lemaire, Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Henri Richard, Phil Roberto, Léon Rochefort, Marc Tardif.

TOR – 23-24-3 (.490)
MTL – 22-15-11 (.573)