Game 596 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 4

Game 596
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 4
Tuesday, December 28, 1982
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Eventually, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ winless road string has to come to an end.

It almost did last night in an unlikely place – the Montréal Forum – but, when the National Hockey League festivities finally ended, the score stood at 4-4 and the slump had reached 28 games.

Although the Leafs would have enjoyed a win, it seems fair to say that they weren’t exactly brokenhearted by the tie.

“Tonight was great,” Leaf captain Rick Vaive said. “The guys didn’t give up. It seemed like before, when something went wrong, the guys would give up. But, tonight, nobody gave up. It was a great effort by everybody.”

The “something” that went wrong last night was a goal with 16 seconds left in the second period. Better coaches always tell their charges that goals in the first or final minute of a period provide the opposition with a major psychological lift and, therefore, should be avoided at all costs.

But, with the Leafs appearing to be on the verge of taking a two-goal lead into the dressing room, they suddenly got sloppy in their own end and Mario Tremblay’s backhander made the score 4-3.

“We talked about that in the dressing room,” Vaive said. “We said, ‘Look, we’re still winning. Forget about that last goal. We’ve still got a one-goal lead in the third period,’ Then we went out and worked hard.”

As might be expected, the Canadiens’ point of view was somewhat different.

Montréal coach Bob Berry gave the Leafs credit for their effort, saying, “they skated well, bumped and played a discplined game.” But he was concerned about his own team’s lack of drive.

“From about 6 o’clock on in our dressing room, I got the feeling that they were thinking all we had to do was show up, put our uniforms on and get two points,” he said.

“And I didn’t see anything to make me change my mind. They got two breakaways in the first period. How can they (the Canadiens) be thinking about the game when that happens?”

Vaive had one of those breakaways with the game less than three minutes old, but was beaten by Richard Sévigny. “He just poked it off my stick,” Vaive said. “He sort of went forward and I had him beat. I just went to flip it up into the net when he swung his stick and knocked it away.”

Mats Naslund opened the scoring about a minute later, but it took the Leafs only eight seconds to tie the game on a goal by Dan Daoust.

Then it was the Leafs’ turn to give the Canadiens a boost. After Jim Korn put Toronto in front 2-1, the Leafs allowed Steve Shutt to tie it only 26 seconds later when Keith Acton stole the puck from Barry Melrose and passed to Shutt in front.

Then the other breakaway that Berry mentioned made it 3-2 for the Leafs. Mike Kaszycki was stopped by Sévigny, but Billy Harris was there to fire home the rebound.

When Walt Poddubny scored with Sévigny out of his net at 12:40, Berry made a drastic move. He replaced Sévigny with Mark Holden, who is filling in for the injured Rick Wamsley.

“I thought that play was icing from my angle,” Berry said. “Anyway, I don’t blame the last goal on any particular individual. I just felt that, the way things were going, a change had to be made.”

From the Canadiens’ point of view, it worked.

That goal late in the second made the score 4-3, but, with less than five minutes left in the game, Montréal’s Larry Robinson blasted a shot from the right faceoff circle past Bunny Larocque.

“It wasn’t a hard shot,” Robinson said. “Somebody was coming out at me. I don’t know who it was, but I could see an opening and shot it there.”

“It shouldn’t have been allowed,” Larocque said. “Doug Wickenheiser charged me in front. He hit me right in my crease. Then the puck went into the corner and came back and he was back in the crease again. I don’t think the goal should have been good. He was in the crease and he should have been called for interference.”

Referee Ron Wicks, who had been pulling his Noah’s Ark act and sending the players off two by two all night, wasn’t about to make a call that would outrage one side at that point in the game. He waved off Larocque’s protest and the Leaf road slump continued.

“Everyone’s making a big thing out of it,” Leaf coach Mike Nykoluk said. “If we keep making an effort like that, things will change. We’ve played pretty well in other games on the road, too. We just came up empty.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 29, 1982

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:28 – Harris, hooking
MTL GOAL – 04:19 – Naslund (Mondou, Tremblay)
TOR GOAL – 04:27 – Daoust (Anderson, Korn)
MTL PEN – 06:22 – Napier, hooking
TOR GOAL – 09:09 – Korn (Terrion, Harris)
MTL GOAL – 09:35 – Shutt (Acton)
TOR GOAL – 17:27 – Harris (Kaszycki, Martin)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 06:57 – Harris, interference
MTL PEN – 06:57 – Gainey, roughing
TOR PEN – 11:13 – Melrose, fighting major
MTL PEN – 11:13 – Wickenheiser, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 12:40 – Poddubny (Nigro)
TOR PEN – 15:08 – Poddubny, roughing
MTL PEN – 15:08 – Acton, roughing
MTL GOAL – 19:44 – Tremblay (Naslund, Ludwig)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 02:55 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PEN – 09:13 – Benning, hooking
MTL GOAL – 15:28 – Robinson (Napier)

MTL – Sévigny (T, 11-15), Holden (4-4)
TOR – Larocque (T, 35-39)

MTL – 13+14+12 = 39
TOR – 12+3+4 = 19

MTLGoaltenders: Mark Holden, Richard Sévigny. Defence: Gilbert Delorme, Rick Green, Craig Ludwig, Robert Picard, Larry Robinson, Bill Root. Forwards: Keith Acton, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey (C), Réjean Houle, Guy Lafleur, Pierre Mondou, Mark Napier, Mats Naslund, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, Ryan Walter, Doug Wickenheiser.
TORGoaltenders: Michel Larocque, Vincent Tremblay. Defence: Jim Benning, Gaston Gingras, Jim Korn, Dave Farrish, Barry Melrose, Borje Salming. Forwards: John Anderson, Dan Daoust, Billy Harris, Peter Ihnacak, Mike Kaszycki, Terry Martin, Frank Nigro, Walt Poddubny, Greg Terrion, Rick Vaive (C).

MTL – 20-9-8 (.649)
TOR – 5-21-7 (.258)