Game 594 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3

Game 594
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 3
Saturday, February 27, 1982
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

After a season of floating through the schedule, the Toronto Maple Leafs have suddenly come to life.

They played a fine, rugged game to earn a 3-3 tie against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday night and the only floater in sight was the third-period shot by John Anderson which somehow eluded Montréal goalie Denis Herron to put the Leafs in front.

But the Canadiens came back with a fluky goal of their own when Guy Lafleur scored from behind the net with less than three minutes left in the game. The puck deflected in off goalie Vincent Tremblay’s stick.

“We might as well try shots from behind the net,” chuckled Montréal defenceman Larry Robinson. “We can’t score from in front.”

Tremblay, who was otherwise superb and a justifiable selection as the game’s first star, shouldered the blame.

“I know it was my fault,” he said. “I gave up a bad goal at the end. I blame myself for that but on the other hand, I’m proud to get a tie in here. I have a bad cold and when I started the game, I didn’t know if I’d be able to finish.”

Despite Tremblay’s protestations, it wasn’t really his fault that the Leafs emerged with only a tie. Had it not been for his efforts, the Canadiens could have been in front by that stage and in fact, it was only remarkable goaltending that prevented the Canadiens from winning the game in the dying minutes when the Leafs seemed to lose some of their composure.

“The kid (Tremblay) played great,” said Leaf coach Mike Nykoluk. “We worked hard in there and Montréal only started to come out of it after they got that fluky goal.”

The Leafs led 1-0 after the first period thanks to some hard work by Terry Martin who knocked the puck off Robinson’s stick just as the Canadiens were breaking out of their zone. With the Montréal forwards caught up ice, three Leafs converged on the goal and Martin finished off the play he had started.

“Reggie (Houle) and Pierre Mondou were wide open up the middle,” said Robinson. “I had the puck on my backhand and I heard one of them yell. I switched to my forehand and I was looking up ice and I lost the puck between my skates. That’s when Martin came in and poked it away.”

In the second period, the Canadiens went in front on goals by Mario Tremblay and Mark Hunter but only 16 seconds after Hunter’s goal, Toronto’s Rick Vaive streaked down the right wing and blasted a high screamer past Herron’s right shoulder to tie the score.

In the third period, the teams traded lucky goals and for the second game in succession, the Canadiens had come back for a late tie on a goal from behind the net.

“We haven’t been playing well for five games,” said Montréal coach Bob Berry. “This was the sixth. I don’t think we were ready for Toronto tonight. They started off well and they checked well. They took a lot of ice away from us.

“Sure we came on a bit in the third period but sometimes when you’re not ready to play, it takes a couple of periods to get going.”

Toronto defenceman Bob McGill had been of the opinion that the Canadiens could be taken if something could be done to make his team aggressive so with only 20 seconds gone in the game, he fought Montréal enforcer Chris Nilan.

“I thought perhaps I could get something going early,” said McGill. “I wanted to get us going physically so the other guys might say, ‘Let’s get going.’ That’s the way I’m supposed to play. It’s the way I have to play if I’m going to be effective.

“We’ve got to get going somehow,” McGill continued. “If we keep working hard and work together like this, we can run Winnipeg right out of it.”

Also mentioned in the Leafs’ dressing room were “the breaks.” The consensus was that the team has been playing well lately but some bad bounces of the puck – such as Saturday’s tying goal – have been costly.

“It can’t keep going like this,” insisted Nykoluk. “We’ve been playing well for the last couple of weeks but we haven’t had any breaks yet. If we can keep that same desire, with the way we’re playing now, things are going to change. This was one of our total efforts for 60 minutes. The guys played their hearts out.”

NOTES: Fred Boimistruck jammed his left ankle into the boards when he was checked by Bob Gainey during a second-period power play. He has a suspected torn ankle and will be out indefinitely, probably for the rest of the season…The Canadiens’ leading scorer, Mark Napier, is playing despite a slight charley horse suffered on Tuesday in Québec…Vaive’s goal was his sixth in the Leafs’ past four games…Had the Leafs hung on for the win, it would have been their first in the Montréal Forum since March 24, 1976…In their 13 games against Adams Division opponents this year, the Leafs are now 0-10-3.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 1, 1982

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:20 – McGill, fighting major
MTL PEN – 00:20 – Nilan, fighting major
TOR PEN – 02:04 – Saganiuk, tripping
TOR PEN – 12:34 – Paiement, fighting major
MTL PEN – 12:34 – Risebrough, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 13:22 – Martin (Boudreau, Aubin)
TOR PEN – 17:18 – Boschman, hooking

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:11 – Tremblay (Houle, Mondou)
TOR PEN – 07:56 – Vaive, roughing
MTL PEN – 07:56 – Risebrough, roughing / high sticking double minor
MTL GOAL – 15:25 – Hunter (Picard, Jarvis)
TOR GOAL – 15:41 – Vaive (Derlago, Johansen)
MTL PEN – 17:18 – Houle, hooking

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 05:40 – Anderson, hooking
TOR GOAL – 09:02 – Anderson (Salming)
TOR PEN – 09:34 – Gavin, fighting major
MTL PEN – 09:34 – Delorme, fighting major
TOR PEN – 12:47 – McGill, delay of game
MTL GOAL – 17:04 – Lafleur (Robinson, Acton)

MTL – Herron (T, 31-34)
TOR – Tremblay (T, 34-37)

MTL – 12+10+15 = 37
TOR – 14+14+6 = 34

MTLGoaltenders: Denis Herron. Defence: Gilbert Delorme, Brian Engblom, Gaston Gingras, Robert Picard, Larry Robinson. Forwards: Keith Acton, Bob Gainey (C), Réjean Houle, Mark Hunter, Doug Jarvis, Guy Lafleur, Pierre Mondou, Mark Napier, Chris Nilan, Doug Risebrough, Mario Tremblay, Doug Wickenheiser.
TORGoaltenders: Vincent Tremblay. Defence: Jim Benning, Fred Boimistruck, Trevor Johansen, Bob McGill, Barry Melrose, Borje Salming. Forwards: John Anderson, Norm Aubin, Laurie Boschman, Bruce Boudreau, Bill Derlago, Stew Gavin, Dan Maloney, Terry Martin, Wilf Paiement, Rocky Saganiuk, Rick Vaive (C).

MTL – 35-12-16 (.683)
TOR – 17-32-16 (.385)