Game 565 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 4

Game 565
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 4
Saturday, March 22, 1975
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

It was no surprise that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montréal Canadiens served up another of their old-time entertaining hockey battles at The Forum Saturday night.

It wasn’t even a big surprise that the Leafs prevailed 6-4. Toronto has enjoyed success against the Habs this season.

What did surprise was how well the Maple Leafs did it. After some pathetic defensive performances against Buffalo and Atlanta when the Leafs allowed 19 goals in two games, they skated to quell the Montréal power play and set up a fortress around goaltender Gord McRae, holding the Canadiens to 20 shots – only two in the second period.

Toronto had a good defensive effort from Rod Seiling and a super one from Borje Salming, who was on the ice for some 40 minutes and always worked to kill penalties, thrusting himself recklessly in front of shots by Jacques Lemaire.

Salming credited the win to the way the Leafs were able to skate with the Canadiens. Seiling suggested it was more the famous rivalry.

“If we could get up like that against other teams we’d be fighting it out in the upper echelons, instead of being where we are,” Seiling said.

More than anything else, it was the energetic way in which the Leafs were able to muzzle the Canadiens’ power play. It was Toronto’s second win in The Forum this season. They tied two and lost one to Montréal in Maple Leaf Gardens.

Montréal coach Scotty Bowman said the Leafs were digging more than were his troops. The Canadiens did not look like a team that scored 86 times on the power play this season.

“Power plays aren’t everything,” Bowman said. “It doesn’t do you any good to have three forwards down the ice all the time if they don’t have the puck.

“The Leafs were forechecking well, they got the second effort out of their men that we weren’t getting.”

Darryl Sittler and Dave Keon, the latter skating to be lie his 35th birthday, were key players in halting the most potent power play in the league. The Leafs played two men short for two minutes 46 seconds early in the game, but McRae had only two difficult stops, one with a big sprawl to swipe the puck from Larry Robinson in the crease.

In the middle period, the Canadiens had the advantage three times but only had one shot. Instead, it was Toronto which stung Montréal at its own game as Errol Thompson fell in front of Michel Larocque to flip his 24th goal of the season. Thompson took the shot with both feet off the ice, landing with all his weight on the left side of his head.

Defenceman Jim McKenny, obviously concerned for his teammate’s welfare, skated over and advised, “Errol, stay down. You’re on national television.”

Stay down is what the Canadiens refused to do. Twice they had sudden replies for Leaf goals. When Sittler cashed in a Salming rebound to make it 2-1 after 19 minutes of the first period. Peter Mahovlich won the draw at centre and Glenn Sather tied the game 15 seconds later. When Lanny McDonald threatened to break the game open with Toronto’s fourth goal, Lemaire cut the lead to 4-3, 35 seconds later.

The Canadiens looked as though they might reverse things in the last period. Larocque, displeased with his work, asked Bowman to put Ken Dryden in the Montréal net and Dryden made brilliant stops on the shifty Sittler and Ron Ellis. At the other end, Mahovlich hit the post as the game opened up. Appropriately, the fastest man on the ice, Yvan Cournoyer, closed the gap to 5-4.

Sixteen seconds later, Dave Williams elbowed Murray Wilson. McRae made a long slide out of his net to steal the puck from Mahovlich, but aside from that, Keon, Bill Flett, Salming and Seiling kept the Canadiens at bay.

McKenny put the game out of reach, lifting an Ellis rebound over Dryden. The other Toronto scorers were Blaine Stoughton and Dave Dunn, who finished off a Sittler rush. Wilson snatched the puck off Salming’s skates for the opening goal.

Many fans were Leafs partisans, shipped in from Kingston. The crowd of 18,775, the largest this season, included 2,231 standees.

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

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:32 – Flett, holding
TOR PEN – 02:18 – Seiling, cross checking
MTL PEN – 03:13 – Mahovlich, high sticking
TOR PEN – 03:13 – Dunn, high sticking
MTL GOAL – 11:22 – Wilson (Lemaire, Roberts)
TOR GOAL – 16:19 – Stoughton (Neely, McKenny)
TOR GOAL – 19:00 – Sittler (Salming)
MTL GOAL – 19:12 – Sather (Roberts, Mahovlich)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 02:43 – Flett, hooking
TOR PEN – 07:13 – Salming, holding
MTL PEN – 09:23 – Risebrough, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 10:02 – Thompson (McDonald, Ferguson)
MTL PEN – 11:51 – Gainey, elbowing
TOR PEN – 13:51 – McDonald, tripping
TOR GOAL – 17:03 – McDonald
MTL GOAL – 17:38 – Lemaire (Gainey)
TOR GOAL – 19:15 – Dunn (Sittler, Williams)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 11:36 – Cournoyer (Lemaire, Robinson)
TOR PEN – 11:52 – Williams, elbowing
TOR GOAL – 16:07 – McKenny (Ellis)

TOR – McRae (W, 16-20)
MTL – Larocque (L, 16-21), Dryden (9-10)

TOR – 9+12+10 = 31
MTL – 11+2+7 = 20

TORGoaltenders: Doug Favell, Gord McRae. Defence: Claire Alexander, Dave Dunn, Brian Glennie, Jim McKenny, Borje Salming, Rod Seiling. Forwards: Ron Ellis, George Ferguson, Bill Flett, Dave Keon (C), Lanny McDonald, Bob Neely, Darryl Sittler, Blaine Stoughton, Errol Thompson, Norm Ullman, Dave Williams.
MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Michel Larocque. Defence: Don Awrey, Pierre Bouchard, Guy Lapointe, Jim Roberts, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Doug Risebrough, Glen Sather, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, Murray Wilson.

TOR – 29-31-13 (.486)
MTL – 43-12-17 (.715)