Preseason Game 14 – Canadiens 9, Maple Leafs 3

Preseason Game 14
Canadiens 9, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, September 27, 1978
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens are such a complete hockey machine that coach Scotty Bowman will have trouble deciding which players are the spare parts before the National Hockey League waiver draft early in October.

The Habs, three time Stanley Cup champions in as many seasons, last night dismantled the Toronto Maple Leafs 9-3 before a disappointed crowd in an exhibition match at Maple Leaf Gardens. Half the fans had left before the third period ended.

Bowman can protect only 18 skaters when the draft to equalize talent around the league takes place. Last night, the 18 players who were in uniform looked good enough to stay. However, there were five regulars out of the lineup.

“We hope to move some players before the draft,” Bowman said. “The problem is that some people around the league are reluctant to talk draft picks. If the team finishes really low, giving up a draft pick could mean losing a man to build a team around.

“But we don’t want to lose players in the draft. Heck, the longer they’ve been around, the cheaper they can be bought. The most important thing to our team is the talent coming in.”

The talent in the Montréal exhibition lineup this season includes Mark Napier, a former Birmingham Bull, and Halifax farmhands Rodney Schutt and Pat Hughes. All three newcomers were outstanding opportunists last night.

Napier set up three goals, Hughes had a goal and an assist and Schutt had a goal. Serge Savard and Doug Jarvis each had two goals to lead the Montréal onslaught. The other goals for the Habs came from Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire and Doug Risebrough.

The Canadiens allowed the Leafs a 2-0 advantage through the early part of the second period, before storming back with seven consecutive goals and blowing the home side out of its own rink. Tickets for last night’s game went on sale to the general public, which seldom has an opportunity to see the Leafs live because of the huge number of season ticket holders.

“This wasn’t our normal crowd. I wish we could have put on a better show for them,” said Toronto coach Roger Neilson. “It was not a night to be impressed,” he said, showing himself to be in midseason form in understatement.

The Leafs went with only five defencemen. The number was cut to four early in the second period when rookie Joel Quenneville left the match with a bruised thumb.

The only impressive newcomer for Toronto last night continued to be goalie Paul Harrison, who held the Canadiens to 22 shots during his half of the match. The Habs poured in on Pierre Hamel in the second half.

Defenceman Ian Turnbull set up the first two Toronto goals. He knocked Lafleur off the puck to set up Don Ashby’s first period goal against Michel Larocque. In the second, he went around two Montréal defenders and was checked to the ice behind the Canadien net. While on his stomach, he swept the puck out to John Anderson, who beat Larocque.

Ken Dryden took over in the Montréal net and was beaten only by a shot from Darryl Sittler during the third period.

It was the Montréal regulars who killed the Leafs. Once that was done, the job of burning the remains was left to the muckers – the new kids and the old workers like Mario Tremblay and Yvon Lambert.

“The difference between the Canadiens and other clubs is that some of the others downgrade their lesser lights,” Bowman commented. “Everyone can be a star if he gets a chance to play. Hughes, Schutt and Napier are hustling because they want jobs.”

Bowman said that three players from his Stanley Cup winning side would go unprotected, since he finished last season with 21 men and can protect only 18. Hughes and Schutt are on a special list of second year players and do not need to be protected.

The loss was the third in exhibition play for the Leafs and the most humiliating. They had lost previously 5-1 to Boston and 6-3 to the Buffalo Sabres. Toronto plays its third game in as many nights in Moncton, N.B. tonight when the Leafs meet Bobby Orr and his Chicago Black Hawks. The same teams return to the Gardens for a game Saturday night and meet a third time in Chicago Stadium Sunday.

Neilson said he hopes to play first string goalie Mike Palmateer tonight. Palmateer has been bothered by a strained back muscle. Defenceman Borje Salming will begin scrimmages with the Leafs next week. He has been missing from all the preseason games with a broken finger.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, September 28, 1978

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:52 – Quenneville, high sticking
MTL PEN – 08:57 – Lapointe, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:33 – team
TOR GOAL – 16:21 – Ashby (Anderson, Turnbull)
TOR PEN – 17:06 – McDonald, slashing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:50 – Anderson (Turnbull)

MTL GOAL – 05:41 – Savard (Lafleur, Shutt)
MTL GOAL – 09:18 – Lemaire (Lafleur)
MTL GOAL – 13:16 – Lafleur (Shutt, Lemaire)
MTL GOAL – 15:55 – Risebrough (Napier)
TOR PEN – 16:34 – Kirton, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 17:59 – Savard (Robinson, Lemaire)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:25 – Schutt (Hughes, Napier)

MTL GOAL – 05:33 – Hughes (Napier, Engblom)
TOR GOAL – 07:21 – Sittler (McDonald, Williams)
MTL GOAL – 10:50 – Jarvis (Robinson, Savard)
TOR PEN – 16:46 – Ashby, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 18:10 – Tremblay (Lambert, Lupien)

MTL – Larocque (12-14), Dryden (W, 16-17)
TOR – Harrison (20-22), Hamel (L, 13-20)

MTL – 15+19+8 = 42
TOR – 9+9+13 = 31

MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Michel Larocque. Defence: Pierre Bouchard, Brian Engblom, Rod Langway, Guy Lapointe, Gilles Lupien, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard. Forwards: Yvan Cournoyer, Pat Hughes, Doug Jarvis, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Jacques Lemaire, Mark Napier, Doug Risebrough, Rodney Schutt, Pat Shutt, Mario Tremblay, Murray Wilson.
TORGoaltenders: Pierre Hamel, Paul Harrison. Defence: Dave Burrows, Greg Hotham, Trevor Johansen, Joel Quenneville, Ian Turnbull. Forwards: Don Ashby, Jerry Butler, Ron Ellis, Jimmy Jones, Mark Kirton, Dan Maloney, Lanny McDonald, Garry Monahan, Darryl Sittler, Lorne Stamler, Dave Williams, Ron Wilson.