Game 556 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3

Game 556
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3
Wednesday, October 17, 1973
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Eddie Johnston should have looked wind-swept from the Canadiens speeding to his goalmouth, but instead he only looked relieved after the Toronto Maple Leafs’ come-from-behind 5-3 win last night.

For two periods, the Canadiens enjoyed all the best scoring chances only to be thwarted by the Boston Bruin discard. “If we’d had normal goaltending,” said Leaf rookie Lanny McDonald, “the score may have gone to double figures.”

The Canadiens tested Johnston half a dozen times a period, until the Leafs took over in the final 20 minutes.

“I felt good, I like to play in Montréal,” said Johnston. “Good goaltending at this time of year is important, it gives the guys a boost.

“You see, what people don’t realize about this team is that it’s going to get a lot better. We have a young defence and it’s playing well now, but it will get better and better. By the same reasoning half of our players are only starting to get to know each other. Around Christmas, maybe the 15th of December, this team will really come alive.”

Johnston inspired his 18 teammates – and his five brothers in the crowd of 16,533. He grew up in Montréal before turning professional in 1956, and he joined the Bruins in 1962.

He was the dominant individual in the Leafs’ first Forum win since three years ago, but much of the jubilation in the visitors dressing room was because so many players contributed.

McDonald, the 20-year-old rookie from Medicine Hat, shot the winning goal with little more than two minutes remaining. He couldn’t have timed his first National Hockey League score better.

“I think it’s a great sign, the way we won – leading 2-0, losing the lead, falling behind, and then trying it up and winning.”

A 62-goal scorer last year in the Western Canada Hockey League, McDonald probably would have half a dozen goals by now if the shots he has taken were against junior goaltenders.

“I was getting the feeling I wasn’t doing my part. When you score a lot of goals in junior you know you’re expected to get some here. I wasn’t feeling the pressure too much because we’ve been winning. But usually when you score a winning goal it gets you going, and I hope it’s true this time.”

The loss was the first in three games for the Canadiens. The Leafs now have won three and lost one.

Dave Keon set up McDonald’s winner, passing to him for an instant release from 25 feet. Defenceman Borje Salming made the play possible by knocking down a Canadien clearing attempt and passing to Keon.

Pierre Jarry shot the final goal into an empty Canadien net with five seconds remaining.

The Leafs scored on two of only five shots they got at the Canadiens’ Michel Larocque in the first period, taking a 2-0 lead that lasted until the Canadiens succeeded on two power plays late in the period.

Paul Henderson, who ended up with two goals and an assist, opened the scoring on a Leaf power play. Darryl Sittler skated around the back of the Canadien net and directed a pass to Henderson in the slot. Henderson made the play that sent Norm Ullman in alone to beat Larocque for the 2-0 goal.

Jacques Lemaire and Peter Mahovlich where the Canadien power-play scorers, with Chuck Lefley putting the Montréal team ahead early in the final period.

Included in the severe test of the Leafs’ young defenders was a stretch of one minute and 17 seconds in the opening minutes of play when the Canadiens held a two-man advantage. Brian Glennie was penalized, unfairly he thought, for giving Guy Lapointe the check Lapointe called the hardest hit of his career. Referee Wally Harris ruled Lapointe was tripped by Glennie’s leg, but the Leaf defenceman claims he caught Lapointe with his hip and upper leg.

Lapointe left the game and didn’t return until the second period with his right knee tightly bandaged.

With Glennie in the penalty box, Garry Monahan was called for hooking Yvan Cournoyer, Mike Pelyk, Ian Turnbull and Borje Salming successfully dissected the Canadien attack for most of the two-short drama; until Keon, Jim McKenny and Bob Neely took over.

Salming and fellow Swede Inge Hammarstrom played their best game of the season. “Watch them improve as time goes on,” said Johnston. “Once Salming has been around the league a couple of times he’ll know what to expect and it will be much easier for him.”

How much the Leafs will improve remains in question. The return of Ron Ellis, who’s expected to be out another week with a bruised and strained hip, will be one important step. “I’ll say right now we’ll be in the playoffs,” Johnston told a Montréal interviewer, “and as high as second.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 24, 1975

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:24 – Glennie, tripping
TOR PEN – 01:07 – Monahan, hooking
MTL PEN – 09:31 – Shutt, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 09:57 – Henderson (Sittler, McKenny)
TOR GOAL – 11:56 – Ullman (Henderson, Salming)
TOR PEN – 15:46 – Neely, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 16:20 – Lemaire (Cournoyer, Savard)
TOR PEN – 17:06 – McKenny, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 18:12 – P. Mahovlich (F. Mahovlich, Lemaire)

2nd Period

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:34 – Lefley (Cournoyer, Lemaire)
TOR PEN – 02:07 – Sittler, fighting major
MTL PEN – 02:07 – Lapointe, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 08:18 – Henderson (Jarry, McKenny)
TOR GOAL – 17:43 – McDonald (Keon, Salming)
TOR EN GOAL – 19:55 – Jarry (Glennie)

TOR – Johnston (W, 27-30)
MTL – Larocque (L, 25-29)

TOR – 6+8+16 = 30
MTL – 11+9+10 = 30

TORGoaltenders: Doug Favell, Eddie Johnston. Defence: Brian Glennie, Jim McKenny, Mike Pelyk, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull. Forwards: Inge Hammarstrom, Paul Henderson, Pierre Jarry, Rick Kehoe, Dave Keon (C), Lanny McDonald, Garry Monahan, Bob Neely, Eddie Shack, Darryl Sittler, Errol Thompson, Norm Ullman.
MTLGoaltenders: Michel Larocque, Michel Plasse. Defence: Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, Jim Roberts, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, John Van Boxmeer. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Chuck Lefley, Jacques Lemaire, Frank Mahovlich, Peter Mahovlich, Henri Richard (C), Steve Shutt, Murray Wilson.

TOR – 3-1-0 (.750)
MTL – 2-1-0 (.667)


Eddie Johnston (TOR)
⭐⭐ Paul Henderson (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Chuck Lefley (MTL)