Game 587 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3

Game 587
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, January 9, 1980

Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Two periods of shutout hockey were not enough to erase one clumsy first period as the Toronto Maple Leafs fell 5-3 to the Stanley Cup champion Montréal Canadiens last night at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Leafs constantly blundered in the face of Montréal’s speed during the first period and never recovered from a 4-0 lead which the Canadiens established in the first 10 minutes.

“We just dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of,” said Toronto coach Floyd Smith, who pulled rookie goalie Vincent Tremblay from the Leafs’ net after the 20-year-old netminder had missed three of the first seven shots.

“I thought it was best for the club to replace him. But the kid didn’t have much help in the first 10 minutes,” Smith said.

“Montréal didn’t rest after they scored five goals in the first period, but they just started to check and sat back in the third period just thinking about getting the puck out of their own end.”

Smith said that no return date for goaltender Mike Palmateer has been established, but added that defenceman Borje Salming would return for Saturday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

“They found out in hospital that he (Salming) was a very sick boy with a virus complicating his sinus condition. If we had taken him out now, it would have been a question of having him for four or five games rather than having him for 40 after he has recovered.”

Salming is a key part of the Toronto power play, which made no headway in three advantages last night. Smith said the Leafs would continue to work on their play with a man advantage. Last night, the Leafs changed shifts as many as three times to keep fresh players on the ice against the faster Habs.

Harrison admitted he felt weak in the legs, “but once the adrenalin got going, I was able to go on that. I lost weight because of the flu, but I felt better tonight than I had for two days.” Harrison faced 25 of the 32 shots taken by the Canadiens. Herron faced 22 shots from Toronto.

The Canadiens, who last night won their first game away from Forum ice since November 17, realize they must cut down on their goals-against average in the second half of the season.

“Out of our last 40 games, we’d like to get 60 points,” said defenceman Larry Robinson. “We’ve played much better the last couple of weeks and Claude (Ruel) has helped stabilize us as a team.”

Ruel, who took over from Bernie Geoffrion, was satisfied with Montréal’s performance in the second and third periods against the Leafs.

“But I was not happy with the two goals they scored in the first period. It wasn’t until the second period that we started to play sound, fundamental hockey. In the third period, we didn’t give the puck to them and we played it safe. When you do that, you know the chances are going to come.”

Montréal left winger Steve Shutt admitted that at least part of the team’s problem this year has been that players have lost confidence in themselves.

“Claude has helped a great deal. The advantage he has over Geoffrion is that he knows the players inside and out. He knows what we are capable of doing and how to use each one of us. It’s a matter now of us re-evaluating what we’re doing on the ice, taking a good look at the other teams and realizing what our potential is.”

Mario Tremblay, Montréal’s rugged right winger, opened the scoring at 1:47 after veteran defenceman Carl Brewer lost the puck to Yvon Lambert and Tremblay easily beat Vincent Tremblay.

That was the start of a brief and bewildering eight minutes in the Toronto net for the young netminder.

He watched Ian Turnbull cough up the puck to Doug Risebrough to set up a goal by Lambert. After Steve Shutt advanced the score to 3-0 with his 24th goal of the season, Tremblay made a hasty exit and Toronto coach Floyd Smith inserted Paul Harrison, who had missed the Leafs last game because of the flu.

Harrison was in goal less than a minute when Doug Jarvis continued the Montréal onslaught, tucking Rick Chartraw’s rebound into the net.

The Leafs mounted a very abrupt rally and set a club record by scoring two goals in a nine-second span to narrow Montréal’s margin to two goals. John Anderson scored his 11th goal of the season, then Dan Maloney scored his first of two goals for the night before Guy Lafleur restored a three-goal advantage for the Habs by faking Harrison to the ice at 15:15.

Maloney had the only goal of the second period, converting a good pass into the slot from Walter McKechnie to beat Denis Herron at 7:25.

The first two periods left the goalies feeling more like shooting gallery targets than hockey players. The Leaf took 21 shots at Herron, while Canadiens fired seven at Tremblay and 19 at Harrison.

The match was the third meeting of the season between the rivals. The Leafs won the first game 3-2 in Toronto, while the Canadiens overpowered Toronto 8-4 in Montréal.

The Leafs turned in a third period of excellent checking hockey, the sort of play which might have salvaged the game had it occurred in the first period. The loss continued Toronto’s miserable record of late, leaving them with only two wins against six losses in their past eight games. The Leafs have only one home game remaining, against the Vancouver Canucks Saturday, before embarking on a seven-game road trip which takes them across the continent.

The Canadiens, who still have not kicked all of their early-season problems, moved four games over the .500 level with their 20th victory of the season against 16 losses and six ties.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 10, 1980

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 01:47 – Tremblay (Lambert, Engblom)
MTL GOAL – 06:14 – Lambert (Risebrough)
MTL GOAL – 07:46 – Shutt (Robinson)
MTL GOAL – 09:25 – Jarvis (Chartraw, Engblom)
TOR GOAL – 11:32 – Anderson (Saganiuk, Boschman)
TOR GOAL – 11:41 – Maloney (Ellis, Hutchison)
MTL GOAL – 15:55 – Lafleur (Langway)
TOR PEN – 18:33 – Hutchison, high sticking / elbowing double minor
MTL PEN – 18:33 – Langway, high sticking

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 07:25 – Maloney (McKechnie, Ellis)
MTL PEN – 10:15 – Lapointe, tripping
TOR PEN – 16:46 – team, too many men on the ice

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:48 – Robinson, tripping
TOR PEN – 07:20 – Hutchison, hooking
MTL PEN – 11:56 – Houle, holding

MTL – Herron (W, 28-31)
TOR – Tremblay (4-7), Harrison (L, 23-25)

MTLGoaltenders: Denis Herron, Michel Larocque. Defence: Rick Chartraw, Brian Engblom, Rod Langway, Guy Lapointe, Gilles Lupien, Larry Robinson. Forwards: Bob Gainey, Réjean Houle, Doug Jarvis, Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Pierre Larouche, Pierre Mondou, Mark Napier, Doug Risebrough, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Paul Harrison, Vincent Tremblay. Defence: Carl Brewer, Dave Burrows, Greg Hotham, Dave Hutchison, Ian Turnbull. Forwards: John Anderson, Laurie Boschman, Jerry Butler, Ron Ellis, Pat Hickey, Dan Maloney, Walt McKechnie, Wilf Paiement, Rocky Saganiuk, Darryl Sittler (C), Bob Stephenson, Dave Williams.

MTL – 20-16-6 (.548)
TOR – 17-19-4 (.475)