Game 549 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3

Game 549
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, March 22, 1972
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Spotting the Montréal Canadiens a 3-0 lead in the Forum is like turning a swarm of hornets loose in a nudist colony.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had this frightening experience here last night and survived without any scars, emotional or physical.

Jim Harrison scored a power play goal with one minute and 44 seconds left in the game to give the Leafs a 3-3 tie. The comeback not only stunned the Canadiens but also the crowd of 17,940. Everyone, except those in the vicinity of the Leafs bench, thought the classy Canadiens had another win wrapped up halfway through the game when they had a 3-0 lead.

The Leafs have seldom played more energetic hockey throughout the National Hockey League season than they did in the third period. Only the deliberate, unflappable netminding of Ken Dryden kept them from achieving a win.

Dryden made stop after stop as the Leafs stormed the Montréal goal in the final 20 minutes. He did his job so thoroughly that the Leafs had reason to be discouraged but they kept coming back.

“They worked like hell in that third period,” said King Clancy, who will abandon his pinch-hit coaching role today. John McLellan is scheduled to come back after 30 days of sick leave.

“The only disappointment about the whole thing is that we didn’t win,” continued Clancy. “We played well enough to win.”

“It was a big point,” said Harrison, who has scored three goals in the Leafs’ past two games. His goal was the 19th he has scored this season. He wasn’t sure how he accomplished it. Neither was Dryden. Neither was Leafs defenceman Brad Selwood, who shot the puck from the right point.

“I just took a swipe at it,” said Harrison.

Dryden was unaware if the puck touched Harrison or if Selwood’s shot had gone cleanly through a tangle of players. Selwood didn’t see the puck change direction after he fired.

“But I don’t care. It was in. That’s all that counts.”

The Leafs, who get notions of earth movers and dynamite to ram a puck past Dryden, were wondering after the game how the Detroit Red Wings ever scored seven on him last Sunday.

“That’s a big question,” said the Leafs’ Dave Keon, with his normal, poker-faced expression. He didn’t offer a big answer.

“I hear they didn’t try so hard against Detroit,” offered Harrison.

Dryden, who was there, submitted a different version.

“They (the Wings) played three periods like the third period here tonight. Actually, the Wings got us in a pond hockey game. It was awful.”

The traffic around the Montréal goal in the third period was, in Dryden’s estimation, a little exciting, but not so dangerous as everyone assumed. The Leafs, he said, were in too close most of the time to set up good scoring chances. Several times he reached out and clapped a big globe over the puck, like the operator of a shell game. The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 15-9 in the third period, 10-5 in the second.

“There was a lot of action around our goal in the third period,” said Dryden. “The puck was going every way, bouncing off sticks or legs. I think their best chance was by (Jim) McKenny.”

Dryden, of course, stopped that one. He also stopped five or six shots in a row before Harrison was credited with the tying goal.

Rookie Guy Lafleur, who was much more aggressive than is customary for him, was in the penalty box when Harrison tied the score. Lafleur was sent off for hooking Garry Monahan near the Leafs net.

“It wasn’t a penalty that should have been called in a game like that,” said Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman. “The Leafs had the puck and were going the other way.”

Bernie Parent thought he would be watching this game from the Leafs bench, but he played in goal. Originally the assignment was to have been given to Jacques Plante but Clancy changed it before the game.

Clancy said that Plante has a sore throat, but a more accurate explanation is probably that he wants Plante to be rested and ready to play in Vancouver tomorrow night. He thinks Plante’s style may be more suited to stopping the Canucks.

Parent, still ailing with a cold, was a little miffed at first when advised he would play but it didn’t impair his efficiency.

“I was just worried about winning the game,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling so hot and I hoped they were picking the best man.”

The Canadiens scored two goals in less than two minutes in the first period by Henri Richard and Jacques Lemaire. It was Richard’s first goal in 18 games.

Frank Mahovlich scored his 42nd of the season on a power play in the second period. The man in charge of records at the Forum unearthed the fact it was a record for a Montréal left-winger. Dickie Moore had owned the mark with 41 goals.

Parent was trapped out of his net on Lemaire’s goal. He waddled 30 feet out of his crease to stab the puck away from Yvan Cournoyer. The puck glanced off the side boards and Lemaire picked it up.

Lemaire’s shot might have soared wide of the Toronto net, but Parent executed a belly-flopper trying to stop it. The puck hit his left glove and ricocheted into the net.

Norm Ullman scored a power-play goal for the Leafs late in the second period, steering in McKenny’s pass. Paul Henderson moved the Leafs closer early in the third period. Ron Ellis dropped a pass and Henderson, who had a high, hard one blocked by Dryden earlier, beat him this time with a 40-foot slap shot.

Parent was trapped out of his net again in the third period but Bill MacMillan made one of the better ad lib stops of the game when he blocked a shot from Pete Mahovlich.

Clancy experimented with a variety of lines. Late in the game a line of Keon, Darryl Sittler and Pierre Jarry played efficiently. Jarry had alternated with MacMillan earlier on a line with Harrison and Monahan.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 23, 1972

1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:57 – Laperrière, holding
TOR PEN – 03:32 – Ley, hooking
MTL GOAL – 06:11 – Richard (Larose, Roberts)
MTL GOAL – 08:04 – Lemaire
TOR PEN – 09:11 – Baun, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 10:05 – Harrison, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 10:44 – F. Mahovlich (Lapointe, Lafleur)
MTL PEN – 16:52 – Roberts, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 18:31 – Ullman (McKenny)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:04 – Henderson (Ellis, McKenny)
MTL PEN – 04:56 – Tardif, hooking
MTL PEN – 07:44 – Tardif, interference
TOR PEN – 07:44 – Parent, interference
MTL PEN – 16:17 – Lafleur, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 18:16 – Harrison (Selwood, Monahan)

MTL – Dryden (T, 33-36)
TOR – Parent (T, 25-28)

MTLGoaltenders: Denis DeJordy, Ken Dryden. Defence: Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, Bob Murdoch, Jim Roberts, Serge Savard, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur, Claude Larose, Jacques Lemaire, Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Henri Richard (C), Marc Tardif.
TORGoaltenders: Bernie Parent, Jacques Plante. Defence: Bobby Baun, Brian Glennie, Rick Ley, Jim McKenny, Mike Pelyk, Brad Selwood. Forwards: Denis Dupéré, Ron Ellis, Jim Harrison, Paul Henderson, Pierre Jarry, Rick Kehoe, Dave Keon (C), Billy MacMillan, Garry Monahan, Darryl Sittler, Norm Ullman.

MTL – 44-15-14 (.699)
TOR – 30-29-14 (.507)


Henri Richard (MTL)
⭐⭐ Jim McKenny (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Frank Mahovlich (MTL)