Playoff Game 68 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Playoff Game 68
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, Game 1
Monday, April 16, 1979
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Guy Lafleur and Jacques Lemaire, two of the main men Toronto Maple Leaf coach Roger Neilson said his club had to control if it hoped to drink from the National Hockey League Stanley Cup, last night showed why their potentially vast contributions to the Montréal Canadiens must be neutralized.

Lafleur, a magician on the attack, scored once and assisted on three others and Lemaire added two goals as the Canadiens defeated the Leafs 5-2 in the opening game of their Stanley Cup quarter-finals at The Forum.

With the Leafs and Canadiens tied 2-2 at the end of the second period, Lafleur and Lemaire led a well-choreographed offensive display in the final period by providing the kind of attack the Leafs must contain if they hope to survive past this playoff round.

Steve Shutt and Yvon Lambert scored the other goals for the Canadiens who fought back from a 2-0 disadvantage early in the second period after Lanny McDonald and Dan Maloney had put the Leafs in front.

The Canadiens completely dominated play, had more clear-cut scoring chances and ended up outshooting the Leafs 33-28.

The Leafs had high hopes coming into this series, looking back on their upset win over the favoured New York Islanders in last year’s quarter-finals, but were sadly outmatched by the Canadiens.

With the Canadiens holding the home ice edge, the Leafs must win at the Forum. They get their next chance at that tomorrow night in the second game of the series. “We expect the Leafs to be tougher than they were against us last year,” said centre Pierre Mondou, referring to the Leafs’ abrupt 4-0 elimination by the Canadiens in the semifinals.

They were coming off a gruelling series with the Islanders, (Borje) Salming was missing and one series led into the next. This season they are rested and healthy.” But it didn’t turn out that way.

Mike Palmateer, the Leafs’ brilliant goaltender, was left defenceless on several attacks and still played well. Ken Dryden, in the Canadiens’ net, was not tested seriously on most occasions.

The Leafs, a National Hockey League team of bellicose nature, knew they couldn’t afford to take many penalties because of Montréal’s devastating power play.

The Canadiens scored twice on the power play and had another, by defenceman Guy Lapointe, whistled back when Lambert was called by referee Bruce Hood for jostling Palmateer at the edge of the Leaf crease.

The Leafs came out hitting in the opening minutes of the first period, a 20-minute segment in which Hood assessed 32 minutes in penalties. It was this approach that was a deciding factor in the Leafs victory over the Atlanta Flames in the preliminary round. “We had no intention of stopping the hitting, either.” Neilson said. “They just went ahead by two goals and that’s what happened. “We’re not downcast,” added the optimistic Leaf coach. “Last year against the Islanders we lost the first two and came back.”

The Canadiens’ coach Scotty Bowman said Leafs started off well and he expressed concern when Montréal could not capitalize on scoring breaks with the man advantge in the first period. “When your power play is not hitting like it should the crowd sort of gets on you.” said Bowman. “But Shutt’s goal followed by Lafleur’s on the power play turned that around for us.”

Lafleur was shadowed for a large part by Pat Boutette but still managed his four points. “Boutette does a good job sticking with you,” said Lafleur, “and I doubt if you will see many more four point nights in this series.” A crowd of 15,946 watched at The Forum as McDonald opened the scoring at 9:36 of the first period after racing behind Canadien defenceman Brian Engblom to beat Dryden with a long snap-wristshot.

Maloney’s second goal of the playoffs pushed the Leafs ahead 2-0 at 3:13 of the second period but Shutt got that one back at 4:33 when his shot rolled between Palmateer’s legs.

With Ian Turnbull in the penalty box for interference, Lafleur tied the score at 13:05 when he ripped a shot from the blueline that Palmateer lost sight of on its flight to the net.

Lemaire broke the tie after Leaf defenceman Dave Hutchison blindly rolled a shot off the boards and Shutt in turn fed Lemaire deep in the slot area.

Lemaire, after taking Lafleur’s pass after Salming lost the puck, beat Palmateer again at 7:15 and Lambert finished things off when he scooped Larry Robinson’s pass across the crease into the net at 9:59 on another Canadien power play.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 17, 1979

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:20 – Turnbull, roughing / charging double minor
MTL PEN – 00:20 – Mondou, roughing
TOR PEN – 03:26 – Palmateer, roughing
MTL PEN – 04:26 – Lambert, interference
TOR PEN – 04:26 – Palmateer, slashing
TOR PEN – 07:01 – Maloney, interference
TOR GOAL – 09:36 – McDonald (Turnbull, Sittler)
MTL PEN – 10:13 – Robinson, boarding
TOR PEN – 10:13 – Boutette, charging
TOR PEN – 14:08 – Jones, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:08 – Chartraw, roughing
TOR PEN – 14:08 – Boutette, fighting major
MTL PEN – 14:08 – Tremblay, fighting major

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:13 – Maloney (McKechnie, Ellis)
MTL GOAL – 04:33 – Shutt (Robinson, Lafleur)
MTL PEN – 05:20 – Lemaire, tripping
TOR PEN – 12:11 – Turnbull, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 13:05 – Lafleur (Shutt, Lapointe)
MTL PEN – 15:37 – Shutt, interference

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:23 – Lemaire (Shutt)
MTL GOAL – 07:15 – Lemaire (Lafleur, Robinson)
TOR PEN – 08:25 – Salming, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 09:59 – Lambert (Robinson, Lafleur)
TOR PEN – 18:59 – Turnbull, hooking

MTL – Dryden (W, 26-28)
TOR – Palmateer (L, 28-33)

MTL – 8+15+10 = 33
TOR – 6+11+11 = 28

MTLGoaltenders: Ken Dryden, Michel Larocque. Defence: Rick Chartraw, Brian Engblom, Guy Lapointe, Gilles Lupien, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard. Forwards: Bob Gainey, Réjean Houle, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Jacques Lemaire, Pierre Mondou, Mark Napier, Doug Risebrough, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Paul Harrison, Mike Palmateer. Defence: Dave Burrows, Dave Hutchison, Joel Quenneville, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull, Ron Wilson. Forwards: John Anderson, Pat Boutette, Jerry Butler, Ron Ellis, Paul Gardner, Jimmy Jones, Dan Maloney, Lanny McDonald, Walt McKechnie, Darryl Sittler (C), Dave Williams.