Playoff Game 69 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1

Playoff Game 69
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1
Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, Game 2
Wednesday, April 18, 1979
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Guy Lafleur recorded his second four-point night in two games as the Montréal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 last night to lead their Stanley Cup best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series 2-0.

The Canadiens made a mockery of Toronto’s attempt to slow them down by hitting. The Leafs kept running into hard-working Yvon Lambert around the side of the Toronto goal and the Canadiens made the Leafs look bad by taking advantage of defensive errors.

Lafleur capped his night with a pretty three-way passing play to set up Steve Shutt in the third period. Lanny McDonald scored the only Toronto goal in the final minute, stopping Ken Dryden’s bid for his 11th playoff shutout.

Goalie Mike Palmateer, who has been the mainstay of the Leafs’ playoff effort, left at 13:07 of the second period and was replaced by Paul Harrison.

By that point, the Canadiens had built up a 3-0 advantage and totally dominated the Leafs.

Montréal forwards split Toronto’s defensive combinations easily. Their passing was precise, their puck sense was sharp.

If the Leafs were maintaining their effort to check Lafleur, it was ineffective. The slick right winger participated in all three Montréal goals in the first two periods.

Bob Gainey gave the defending champions the lead at 2:50 of the first period, after a defensive miscue in the Toronto end. Dave Burrows failed to clear a pass up to Toronto captain Darryl Sittler and it was picked off by Jacques Lemaire, who sent it to Lafleur.

While Lafleur was drawing attention to the right wing, Gainey was battling Toronto’s Borje Salming for a parking place in front of Palmateer. Lafleur’s pass went in off Gainey and Salming smashed his stick against the net in frustration.

Later in the period, Lafleur scored from an improbable angle – behind the red line in the corner of the rink. He whipped a wrist shot across the ice and the puck bounced off Palmateer just inside the post.

The Toronto penalty killers were the best part of the Toronto performance in the first period, as they held off a five-minute power play by the Canadiens while Walter McKechnie served a major for clipping Mark Napier across the top lip with his stick. Napier needed eight stitches to close the gash.

The Canadiens did score a power-play goal in the middle period, as Lafleur fed a pass between Burrows and Salming to set up Lemaire for a breakaway.

Palmateer slid out to try and foil Lemaire’s shot, but the Canadiens’ chief playmaker tucked the puck in high.

Palmateer played another six minutes, but complained of severe dizziness after colliding with Shutt and retired to the Toronto dressing room.

Harrison did a commendable job in relief, making back-to-back saves on Pierre Mondou and Napier before the end of the second period and stopping Guy Lapointe and Lafleur twice on third period-power plays by the Canadiens. Two penalties to Pat Boutette early in the final period did nothing to help the Leafs cut into the Montréal lead.

Toronto’s best offensive attempts came in the second period. Although the Leafs were outshot 16-10 in the middle period, Dryden needed to make important stops on Ron Ellis after a faceoff in the Montréal end, Boutette on a try from the side of the net and Sittler when he stickhandled around Serge Savard for a backhand.

The series resumes Saturday and Sunday nights at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 19, 1979

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 02:50 – Gainey (Lafleur, Lemaire)
MTL GOAL – 09:33 – Lafleur (Larouche, Dryden)
TOR PEN – 12:13 – McKechnie, high sticking
MTL PEN – 16:53 – Robinson, hooking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 06:44 – Williams, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 07:01 – Lemaire (Lafleur, Robinson)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 00:20 – Boutette, charging
TOR PEN – 05:39 – Boutette, slashing
MTL GOAL – 13:19 – Gainey (Savard, Robinson)
MTL GOAL – 14:36 – Shutt (Lafleur, Lemaire)
MTL PEN – 14:52 – Engblom, fighting major
TOR PEN – 14:52 – Saganiuk, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 19:43 – McDonald (Sittler, Anderson)

MTL – Dryden (W, 27-28)
TOR – Palmateer (L, 20-23), Harrison (13-15)

MTL – 11+16+11 = 38
TOR – 12+10+6 = 28

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