Game 577 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 0

Game 577
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 0
Saturday, November 12, 1977
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to produce an offence Saturday night and were embarrassed by a shutout for the first time in 130 games. They dropped the contest to the Montréal Canadiens 5-0.

About the only offensive move by Toronto all night was a mere insult – yanking its goaltender in the final minute in order to put a sixth attacker on the ice. The game was out of reach. The only purpose of the tactic was to score against Montréal goalie Ken Dryden, last season’s winner of the Vézina Trophy as best netminder in the National Hockey League.

For the Leafs, it was a sobering finish to an otherwise successful six-game road trip.

They put on their show of bad manners before one of the largest crowds of this NHL season, 17,893 in the Forum.

Leaf Coach Roger Neilson readily admitted he had pulled his goalie, Mike Palmateer, with 30 seconds remaining in the third period for only one reason.

“We did that to break the shutout,” Neilson said. “Our goalies would understand it. We want to win the Vézina, too. We didn’t want to be shut out.

“We’ll do anything to win, right to the end of the game. We’re not just going to sit and die in the last minute.”

Because the tactic failed, Dryden recorded his third perfect game of the season.

The Canadiens got three goals from red-hot Guy Lafleur and one each from captain Yvan Cournoyer and Bob Gainey.

Three of the Montréal goals came on power plays, but Gainey scored while the Canadiens were shorthanded.

The Leafs were frustrated as much by their own ineptitude as by Lafleur’s speed, Larry Robinson’s rebounding body checks, Serge Savard’s ability to block shots and Dryden’s stinginess with rebounds.

Toronto outshot its opponent – a rare happening under the defence-oriented Neilson – taking 32 blasts at Dryden compared with 20 shots at Palmateer.

But charts compiled for Montréal coach Scotty Bowman showed that only about four of the Leafs’ chances were good ones – shots from the “slot area” in front of the net.

Toronto spent much of the night trying to move the puck out of its own end of the rink. The penalty-killing tandem of Jim Jones and Jerry Butler had an ineffective night.

Even the Leafs’ power-play squad had trouble keeping the puck – as was demonstrated by Gainey’s goal.

“What can you do?” Neilson said with a smile. “Jarv and Gaines know all our plays.” It was a joking reference to the fact that Gainey and Doug Jarvis of the Canadiens were apprentices under Neilson when they were juniors.

By the end of the second period, Toronto’s frustrations degenerated into tantrum throwing.

Defenceman Borje Salming took three penalties. One was for unsportsmanlike conduct after he questioned a linesman’s eyesight on Gainey’s goal.

Toronto captain Darryl Sittler fought with Jarvis. Dave “Tiger” Williams got into a brawl and his helmet absorbed several punches from Montréal’s Guy Lapointe.

“I know why they call him ‘Tiger,'” Lapointe said. “He scratches. I’m glad I hit him on the helmet. His head underneath it is harder.”

The Canadiens led 1-0 after the first period and 4-0 after the second. Salming said the team was dragging a little after three games in four nights, all on the road.

“It would have been easier if we could have scored goals to put pressure on them,” Salming said. “But the way it was, we had to open up the game and they got the breakaways.”

Palmateer was left alone several times to face lone Montréal marksmen. He turned away breaks by Jarvis, Lafleur and Cournoyer.

“I don’t think we expected to do really well against them,” Palmateer said. “The difference was that Montréal took advantage of all its scoring chances.

“They were getting rebounds, deflections. Look at us. We hit two goalposts and the shots bounced out.

“This has been our bad game, and it was only five goals. That’s not exactly respectable, but it could be much worse. In five games on the road, we had allowed only seven goals against – and one empty-net goal.”

The loss was the third for the Leafs in 13 games and left them in second place in the Adams Division behind the Buffalo Sabres.

On the road trip, Toronto had wins over Denver, Atlanta, Washington and Vancouver. They lost to Los Angeles and Montréal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 14, 1977

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:37 – Jones, high sticking
MTL PEN – 00:37 – Robinson, high sticking
TOR PEN – 01:21 – Salming, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 03:02 – Cournoyer (Mondou)
TOR PEN – 06:41 – Slaming, holding
MTL PEN – 07:04 – Shutt, slashing
TOR PEN – 13:32 – Shutt, tripping
TOR PEN – 19:15 – Turnbull, tripping

2nd Period
MTL PP GOAL – 01:03 – Lafleur (Savard)
MTL PEN – 01:51 – Nyrop, holding
MTL PEN – 02:22 – Jarvis, holding
TOR PEN – 10:09 – Glennie, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 10:58 – Lafleur (Lemaire, Lapointe)
MTL PEN – 15:51 – Houle, hooking
MTL SH GOAL – 16:38 – Gainey (Jarvis)
TOR PEN – 16:38 – Salming, unsportsmanlike conduct
MTL PEN – 18:48 – Lemaire, hooking
MTL PEN – 19:56 – Lapointe, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:56 – Williams, fighting major
MTL PEN – 19:56 – Jarvis, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:56 – Sittler, fighting major
MTL PEN – 19:56 – Gainey, game misconduct

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 08:40 – Mahovlich, slashing
MTL GOAL – 17:54 – Lafleur (Mondou)

MTL – Dryden (W + SO, 32-32)
TOR – Palmateer (L, 15-20)

MTL – 5+8+7 = 20
TOR – 11+9+12 = 32

MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Michel Larocque. Defence: Pierre Bouchard, Rick Chartraw, Guy Lapointe, Bill Nyrop, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer (C), Bob Gainey, Réjean Houle, Doug Jarvis, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Pierre Mondou, Steve Shutt, Murray Wilson.
TORGoaltenders: Gord McRae, Mike Palmateer. Defence: Randy Carlyle, Brian Glennie, Trevor Johansen, Jim McKenny, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull, Kurt Walker. Forwards: Pat Boutette, Jerry Butler, Ron Ellis, George Ferguson, Jimmy Jones, Bob Neely, Darryl Sittler (C), Errol Thompson, Jack Valiquette, Dave Williams.

MTL – 9-3-3 (.700)
TOR – 8-3-2 (.692)