Game 543 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 543
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, March 18, 1971
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs were beaten 4-1 last night in a game which could serve as evidence that the National Hockey League schedule is too long.

The Leafs started off at a vulnerably slow pace, partly due to the absence of Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson and Brian Spencer, and the Canadiens soon geared down to match them.

Frank Mahovlich scored two goals, one in the first period and one in the third, and his brother Peter set up others by Phil Roberto and Guy Lapointe.

The Canadiens led 2-0 halfway through the first, but Dave Keon shot his 35th goal of the season to give the game a deceiving air of competition in the second.

“We should have knocked them out in the second period when we had four power plays,” said Montréal coach Al McNeil, “but they came out of the second still in the game, which means we weren’t sharp.

“So we missed the knockout and had to go for the decision. I think the score reflected the play.”

The win was only the second for Montréal over Toronto this season, against four Leaf wins.

Referee Bill Friday, working his second consecutive Leaf-Canadien game, drew as much criticism from Leaf coach John McLellan as McNeil unloaded in Toronto on March 10.

“He slept for 60 minutes,” said McLellan. “I complained to Clarence Campbell (president of the NHL) – he was sitting up behind our bench and I turned to him and complained. It was unbelievable.”

The complaint was not so much with the penalties Friday called, but with the infractions he ignored.

Thus there was a slight difference from McNeil’s complaints, which concerned the penalties Friday did assign.

“Ferguson (John) cuts Billy MacMillan for six stitches and gets no penalty,” said McLellan. “Béliveau (Jean) and Bob Baun swing at each other and Baun gets a two-minute penalty.

“And then the payoff was their fourth goal. There should have been no goal and Mahovlich should have had two minutes.”

Lapointe’s goal, late in the third period, came off Peter Mahovlich’s pass, but McLellan objected to Mahvolich’s additional assistance.

The Bigger M used his elbow to bulldoze Bernie Parent, the Toronto goaltender, out of position.

McLellan saw it as interference. Friday apparently saw only a goal into a gaping net. McNeil said afterward that he saw it as justice.

“Look, the calls we’ve had in the last few games. I’m not going to complain. We had two called back in Oakland and they gave one to St. Louis on a 60-foot shot that still isn’t in the net.

“So I’ll bitch when a goal’s taken away on us and no questions asked when it’s for us. Friday’s a senior referee, he doesn’t miss a thing. I told you the same thing when we lost in Toronto, and he’s right tonight when we won.”

Campbell visited the Forum television studio after the game, presumably to double his viewing pleasure of the final goal. At least Lapointe was satisfied – it was his first goal in 33 games and, coincidentally, his 23rd birthday.

Ken Dryden, the Montréal goaltender, seemed slightly shocked that he was the third-star choice of the French television crew. He made 25 stops, compared with Parent’s 40.

Fortunately, the game was shown only on the CBC French network. It had all the excitement of an exhibition staged at a distant military base, perhaps in Jamaica in July.

The Canadiens took advantage of Leaf confusion and lethargy in the first period as soon as the line of Keon, MacMillan and Garry Monahan had finished the first shift.

Both Guy Trottier and Jim Harrison were at centre when Lapointe’s pass went to Frank Mahovlich, who was enjoying the wide open spaces of left wing.

Mahovlich took a few giant steps over the Toronto blueline and beat Parent with a slapshot from 20 feet. Brother Pete set up Roberto during a power play later in the period.

Roberto was taken to hospital in the third period after he slid feet-first into the boards and injured his ankle. Preliminary examination revealed no break, but he was taken to hospital for X-rays.

Notes: Jim Dorey played left wing with Harrison and Trottier. Dorey is suffering from an ear infection that has left him run down, but he played energetically…Keon was playing his first game after missing two with damaged ligament in his right thumb, but was extremely effective…Baun and Brian Glennie were the Leafs’ best hitters. Glennie twice sent Ferguson bouncing. Baun and Béliveau feuded from early in the second period. Baun was penalized after he replied to Béliveau’s sticking his glove in his face, according to Baun’s version. The roughing penalty gave Montréal a two-man advantage for 65 seconds, until Monahan returned from an earlier holding call. Béliveau was penalized for holding Baun minutes later, and it was during the consequent Leaf power play that Keon picked off a rebound and popped it behind Dryden.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 19, 1971

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 01:44 – F. Mahovlich (Lapointe, Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 01:52 – Lapointe, elbowing
TOR PEN – 03:44 – Baun, elbowing
MTL PEN – 03:44 – Roberto, high sticking
TOR PEN – 08:35 – McKenny, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 10:30 – Roberto (P. Mahovlich, Lemaire)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 00:25 – Monahan, holding
TOR PEN – 01:20 – Baun, roughing
TOR PEN – 04:14 – Dorey, holding
MTL PEN – 06:11 – Béliveau, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 06:57 – Keon (McKenny, MacMillan)
TOR PEN – 09:24 – Pelyk, tripping
MTL PEN – 12:14 – Ferguson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 18:36 – Tremblay, slashing
TOR PEN – 18:36 – MacMillan, charging

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:35 – Dorey, roughing
MTL PEN – 02:35 – Lapointe, roughing
MTL GOAL – 05:22 – F. Mahovlich
TOR PEN – 14:24 – Baun, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:24 – Ferguson, roughing
MTL GOAL – 16:22 – Lapointe (P. Mahovlich)

MTL – Dryden (W, 25-26)
TOR – Parent (L, 40-44)

MTL – 17+13+14 = 44
TOR – 7+9+10 = 26

MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Rogatien Vachon. Defence: Pierre Bouchard, Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Réjean Houle, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Henri Richard, Phil Roberto, Léon Rochefort, Bobby Sheehan, Marc Tardif.
TORGoaltenders: Bernie Parent, Jacques Plante. Defence: Bobby Baun, Jim Dorey, Brian Glennie, Rick Ley, Jim McKenny, Mike Pelyk, Brad Selwood. Forwards: George Armstrong, Jim Dorey, Denis Dupéré, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Dave Keon (C), Billy MacMillan, Garry Monahan, René Robert, Guy Trottier.

MTL – 36-21-13 (.607)
TOR – 34-30-6 (.529)