Preseason Game 17 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Preseason Game 17
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Saturday, October 6, 1979
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs achieved their first objective by winning more games than they lost during the exhibition schedule.

The next problem is to decide exactly which players will form a winning combination to carry them through the National Hockey League season.

The Leafs finished their preseason schedule with a record of six wins, four losses and one tie, as a result of weekend victories over the Montréal Canadiens 3-1 and Buffalo Sabres 4-2.

“We skated well and that was a good surprise,” said Toronto coach Floyd Smith. “We had more chances than the shots indicated, but we didn’t get the shot on the net.”

Smith will have to trim the Toronto roster by Wednesday’s season opener against the New York Rangers.

Excluding injured utility man Ron Wilson, who will miss about five weeks work because of a knee injury, the Leafs are carrying 20 skaters and three goalies. The team can have only 17 skaters and two goalies in uniform for an NHL game.

Best bets to stay with the team are rookie centres Laurie Boschman and Mark Kirton and defenceman Greg Hotham.

It is doubtful centre Jim Jones will be retained. With centre Walt McKechnie on the injury list, that leaves Smith with at least one cut to make. Hotham has been impressive during the preseason games and Smith’s decision could be whether to keep Joel Quenneville or Dave Hutchison with the Toronto team. Hutchison sat out both weekend games. Smith refused to make any comments on possible changes after last night’s win.

Saturday night, the Leafs ceased to be a plaything for the Montréal Canadiens, toppling the Stanley Cup champs 3-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The victory, behind the standout goaltending of Mike Palmateer, was the first for the Leafs over the Canadiens in almost three years. The Leafs had been unsuccessful in 19 consecutive tries.

Ron Ellis, Lanny McDonald and Dave “Tiger” Williams beat Michel Larocque in the third period to give the Leafs the win. Pierre Larouche scored his seventh goal in preseason play in the second period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 edge.

The Habs finished their 11 game schedule in 15 days with a record of 5-4-2.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 8, 1979

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:33 – Williams, hooking
MTL PEN – 05:57 – Gainey, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:47 – Boutette, slashing
MTL PEN – 13:10 – Tremblay, high sticking major

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:46 – Larouche (Dupont, Napier)

MTL PEN – 07:50 – Lupien, slashing

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:47 – Ellis (Boschman, Anderson)

TOR GOAL – 03:16 – McDonald (Sittler, Salming)
MTL PEN – 08:19 – Lupien, cross checking
TOR PP GOAL – 08:49 – Williams (Sittler, Salming)
TOR PEN – 10:14 – Palmateer, slashing
TOR PEN – 13:50 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PEN – 16:40 – Quenneville, holding

TOR – Palmateer, Crha (W)
MTL – Larocque, Herron (L)

TOR – 8+8+8 = 24
MTL – 6+9+14 = 29

TORGoaltenders: Jiri Crha, Mike Palmateer. Defence: Dave Burrows, Greg Hotham, Joel Quenneville, Borje Salming. Forwards: John Anderson, Laurie Boschman, Pat Boutette, Jerry Butler, Ron Ellis, Jimmy Jones, Mark Kirton, Dan Maloney, Lanny McDonald, Rocky Saganiuk, Darryl Sittler, Dave Williams.
MTLGoaltenders: Denis Herron, Michel Larocque. Defence: Brian Engblom, Gaston Gingras, Rod Langway, Gilles Lupien, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard. Forwards: Norm Dupont, Bob Gainey, Réjean Houle, Doug Jarvis, Yvon Lambert, Pierre Larouche, Rick Meagher, Pierre Mondou, Mark Napier, Doug Risebrough, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay.