Game 568 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0

Game 568
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0
Sunday, January 11, 1976
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs, bolstered by young and untried minor leaguers, managed to out-daydream the Montréal Canadiens and wind up on the short end of a 2-0 score before 15,863 spectators at the Forum last night.

With sparkplugs Lanny McDonald and Stan Weir sidelined with injuries, coach Red Kelly had to dig deep into the minors and haul out Don Ashby and Scott Garland as replacements. Today he will be looking for another as Errol Thompson left the game with an undetermined ankle injury.

Kelly thought so much of the work of the newcomers that he had them playing on power-play opportunities in the second period. One alignment featured Jack Valiquette centring Dave Williams and Pat Boutette with firepower on the blueline supplied by Ashby and Bob Neely. Garland was limelighted on another.

Valiquette, Boutette and Ashby are untried rookies and it didn’t surprise anyone that the unit failed to penetrate the Canadiens’ mighty penalty-killing unit.

“Those guys really worked for us. Garland has never played a National Hockey League game and it was experience for him. You’ve got to go with what you’ve got,” Kelly confessed.

The Leafs’ farm club in Oklahoma City is not overly stocked with competent performers and further depletion may cause havoc with Kelly and general manager Jim Gregory, the builder of the elaborate Central League structure.

“You just can’t afford to lose players like we have,” Kelly said. “Minor leaguers’ timing is a lot different and it’s much harder to fit them into the lineup.”

Players on both teams had watched the inspired play of the Philadelphia Flyers in their impressive win over the Central Red Army earlier in the day and that may have accounted for the boring spectacle.

Both clubs plodded from the opening faceoff and both goalies were saved early and often by goalposts. Guy Lafleur, Doug Jarvis and Murray Wilson all hit posts in the first period for Montréal and Brian Glennie’s long shot smashed off the crossbar behind Habs’ goalie Ken Dryden.

Lafleur gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 13:15 when Jarvis beat George Ferguson at the draw. Lafleur’s low shot beat Wayne Thomas cleanly.

“I didn’t think I got that much on the puck,” Jarvis said. “It sort of wobbled back to Guy and I didn’t think he had a chance to get good wood on it.”

Lafleur, a 27-goal shooter so far this season has been juggled on different lines all season long with Jarvis and left-winger Yvon Lambert his most recent partners.

“Jarvis is a slow type of player. He stresses defence and is a little slow making the play but that doesn’t take away from his strong points. It will just be a matter of getting used to the new line,” Lafleur said.

The Canadiens’ second goal came off a defensive miscue on the Leafs’ part. The defence pair of Neely and Ian Turnbull ran into each other the Canadiens blueline and Steve Shutt raced away to score on Thomas with a backhander at 11:00 of the third period.

For Dryden, it was the eighth shutout of the season. He was only tested 27 times compared with Thomas’ 29.

Dave Williams, the Leafs self-proclaimed duplicate of Boston Bruins superstar Bobby Orr, engaged in what he knows best when he scrapped twice with Doug Risebrough. Although both matches ended in draws, Williams raised his hands in victory.

The Leafs (18-16-8) meet the Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Detroit Red Wings on the road this week before embarking on a three-game western road trip next week.

“If we play .500 hockey in the next month I will be pleased,” Kelly said.

NOTES: Last night’s game was so dull that the Leafs’ public relations director Howard Starkman failed to let out a cheer in the press box.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 12, 1976

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 13:15 – Lafleur (Jarvis)
TOR PEN – 19:48 – Sittler, roughing
MTL PEN – 19:48 – Risebrough, roughing

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 01:55 – Risebrough, tripping
MTL PEN – 04:31 – Roberts, holding
TOR PEN – 09:47 – Garland, interference
MTL PEN – 14:33 – Wilson, tripping

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 11:00 – Shutt (Mahovlich, Robinson)
MTL PEN – 13:17 – Risebrough, fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:17 – Williams, fighting major
MTL PEN – 19:26 – Risebrough, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:26 – Williams, fighting major

MTL – Dryden (W + SO, 27-27)
TOR – Thomas (L, 27-29)

MTL – 13+11+5 = 29
TOR – 12+9+6 = 27

MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Michel Larocque. Defence: Don Awrey, Pierre Bouchard, Rick Chartraw, Guy Lapointe, Jim Roberts, Larry Robinson. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer (C), Doug Jarvis, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Peter Mahovlich, Doug Risebrough, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, Murray Wilson.
TORGoaltenders: Gord McRae, Wayne Thomas. Defence: Dave Dunn, Brian Glennie, Greg Hubick, Borje Salming, Rod Seiling, Ian Turnbull. Forwards: Don Ashby, Pat Boutette, George Ferguson, Scott Garland, Inge Hammarstrom, Bob Neely, Darryl Sittler (C), Blaine Stoughton, Errol Thompson, Jack Valiquette, Dave Williams.

MTL – 30-6-6 (.786)
TOR – 18-16-8 (.524)