Preseason Game 18 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3

Preseason Game 18
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3
Saturday, September 20, 1980
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

“What really pleased me was the movement in our back end,” said Toronto Maple Leafs coach Joe Crozier.

The subject was the 5-3 tanning his Leafs had applied to the back ends of the Montréal Canadiens before a public sellout crowd at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

“Of course, I’m partial because I’ve always loved defencemen. But it was good to see that the whole workload back there wasn’t on Borje Salming.”

Last season, the superior Swedish defender often looked like the last survivor of an Indian raid, fighting bravely as he awaited the overdue arrival of the cavalry.

This season, the reinforcements have arrived. Using six mobile and physical defencemen, the Leafs controlled the puck well in their own end with a skill usually reserved for Montréal’s big three blueliners, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe.

The defensive personnel – Salming, Czechoslovak Slava Duris, Ian Turnbull, Dave Farrish, Robert Picard and Dave Shand – allowed for minimal danger in the Toronto zone, in spite of Montréal’s obvious offensive power.

“I was pleased with all of them. The Czech wasn’t quite as good as he’s been in practice, but he said he was a little tight. There was only one play where he was caught going the wrong way.”

If the Leafs can follow through with a regular season that is as strong as their play in training camp, the dividends of the youth movement instituted by general manager Punch Imlach should be plentiful.

Sophomore centre Laurie Boschman led the Toronto attack, scoring two goals and playing aggressively without being chippy.

This was the same young man who could not buy a goal in the first 12 games of last year’s regular season.

Montréal had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by Larry Robinson, when Boschman came back to put the Leafs in the lead with two goals on the same shift, 23 seconds apart.

In two heads-up plays, Boschman tipped a Turnbull pass behind Michel Larocque, then tucked in a pass from Terry Martin behind the net to put the Leafs in the lead to stay.

Less than two minutes later, converted left winger Darryl Sittler redirected a perfect long pass from rookie centre Normand Aubin to give the Leafs a 3-1 lead at 13:12.

In the second period, Rick Vaive jumped out of the way of a Bill Derlago slapshot then came back to earth to knock the rebound behind Montréal’s replacement goalie Denis Herron. Montréal rookie Doug Wickenheiser skated in for a breakaway goal on Toronto goalie Curt Ridley after Turnbull coughed up the puck.

Robinson’s second goal of the night, on a pass from Guy Lafleur with Duris caught out of position, came on a third period power play, narrowing the score to 4-3. A long slapshot by Farrish on an ensuing Toronto power play ended the scoring. Toronto’s goaltending looks good, with Jiri Crha playing the first half of the game and giving up only one goal on 15 first period shots. Ridley foiled a late two man breakway.

“It was also fortunate that that breakaway involved two guys (Mario Tremblay and Keith Acton) who couldn’t put the puck in the ocean,” Picard said boldly.

NOTES: The Leafs cut down training camp numbers again on Saturday before playing the Habs. Assigned to Moncton were goalie Vince Tremblay, defencemen Greg Hotham and Brian McCafferty and forwards Bruce Boudreau, Mel Hewitt, Jean-Gaston Douville, Benoît Laporte and Bill Riley…Defenceman Mike Kelly has been sent to the Hampton Aces of the Eastern Hockey League and underage junior draft selections Craig Muni (Kingston), Bob McGill (Victoria) and Fred Boimistruck (Cornwall) have been returned to the junior ranks.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, September 22, 1980

1st Period
TOR PEN – 02:09 – Boschman
MTL PEN – 09:07 – Gainey
TOR PEN – 09:07 – Paiement
MTL GOAL – 10:12 – Robinson (Houle)
TOR GOAL – 11:09 – Boschman (Turnbull, Hickey)

TOR GOAL – 11:32 – Boschman (Picard, Martin)
TOR GOAL – 13:12 – Sittler (Aubin)
TOR PEN – 14:13 – Anderson
MTL PEN – 16:39 – Napier

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:28 – Baker
TOR PEN – 04:28 – Saganiuk
TOR PEN – 06:13 – Shand
TOR PEN – 11:40 – Boschman
TOR GOAL – 16:02 – Vaive (Derlago, Shand)
MTL GOAL – 18:20 – Wickenheiser (Lapointe, Shutt)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 04:22 – Aubin
MTL PP GOAL – 04:52 – Robinson (Lafleur, Wickenheiser)
MTL PEN – 05:12 – Baker
MTL PEN – 12:09 – Chartraw
TOR PP GOAL – 13:51 – Farrish (Saganiuk)
MTL PEN – 14:46 – Wickenheiser
TOR PEN – 19:15 – Saganiuk
MTL PEN – 19:40 – Jarvis

TOR – Crha (W, 14-15), Ridley (15-17)
MTL – Larocque (L, 12-15), Herron (12-14)

TOR – 11+5+9 = 25
MTL – 15+7+10 = 32