Game 601 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1

Game 601
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, March 17, 1984
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Bruce Dowie didn’t want last night’s National Hockey League game here to end.

That made him a majority of one.

The Maple Leafs’ backup goalie, Dowie made his 11-minute, 58-second NHL debut against the Montréal Canadiens on an errand of mercy, replacing another rookie, Allan Bester, who has seen rubber in such quantity in starting 20 consecutive games for the Leafs that he’ll become either a bus tire or a babbling idiot if it continues.

When the Canadiens scored their sixth goal against Bester on their 41st shot in the third period – the final score was 6-1 – that meant the tiny freshman had faced 154 shots in the past three games. To Leafs coach Mike Nykoluk, that was enough and he went to the bullpen for Dowie.

In those three matches, the Toronto club has been outshot, 158-68, by the Canadiens, Hartford Whalers and Minnesota North Stars. They have three wins and three ties in their past 16 games but they remain in the hunt for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With six games to play, the Leafs trail the Chicago Black Hawks, who have seven games to go, for fourth place in the puny Norris Division. The Hawks were on hand for last night’s game here because they meet the Canadiens tomorrow evening to close out a six-game road trip. Their losing the previous five contests is the reason why the Leafs have even remote thoughts about playoff participation.

However, even Nykoluk conceded last night that his injury-riddled team isn’t playing very much like a club that wants to work in April.

The Canadiens aren’t a very formidable squad this season – last night’s win lifted them to a .500 record for the season – and they have an injury list as long as the Leafs’ but they encountered almost no resistance, except from the plucky Bester, in subduing the visitors.

“We just got whipped pretty bad by the Canadiens,” said Nykoluk. “We weren’t too bad in the first period but then we seemed to do dumb things that totally got away from how we prepared for the Canadiens.

“Our players know we have the goalie who can put us in the playoffs but they aren’t doing anything to help him. What really gets me is that because of him, we’re only down, 2-0, after two periods, but our guys don’t dig in and do anything about it.

“We had that good stretch a while back when we beat some top clubs, like two wins over the Boston Bruins, and I wonder why we can’t play like that now, when it really counts. I wish I knew the reasons why.”

Called up this week from the Nova Scotia Voyageurs during Canadiens’ injury emergency, winger Mike McPhee scored twice for the winners. Craig Ludwig, Bobby Smith, Guy Carbonneau and Kent Carlson had the others.

The Leafs’ Greg Terrion ruined what appeared to be a certain shutout for Canadiens’ goalie Rick Wamsley at 16:27 of the third period.

The Canadiens’ hopes of rescuing something from their own version of a disaster season have taken an upturn this week with a nifty 3-2 conquest of the Edmonton Oilers, a grind-it-out win over a top club, and the total domination of the Leafs. The club now has a 6-4 won-lost mark under coach Jacques Lemaire.

“The big thing is that we’ve been keeping the goals against down and in a league where the goals go in the net at a merry old rate, that’s an accomplishment,” Larry Robinson of the Canadiens said.

“We’re not out of any woods by means but it shows that some of the things Lemaire is trying to do are starting to pay off. He’s instilled a large amount of confidence in the team and, for the first time this season, the game is fun, at least for me.

“Earlier (when Bob Berry was the coach), I was playing 35 or 40 minutes a game and I was just whipped and strung out. I had no life and didn’t want to do anything but sleep. Now, I’m playing just as much but I get the occasional day off and I’m feeling good.”

A former Marlboro junior, Muskegon Mohawk and St. Catharines Saint, Dowie faced four shots in his NHL debut, something he’s happy to have behind him.

“I doubt if anyone is going to remember it but me, but I’m glad I got the chance to play in the NHL, even for part of a period,” he said. “It’s something every player looks forward to and I’m glad that at least I was in.”

The Leafs hope to have two players, defenceman Gaston Gingras and winger John Anderson, off their injury list for Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, March 18, 1984

1st Period
TOR PEN – 10:43 – Farrish, hooking
TOR PEN – 14:00 – McGill, high sticking + fighting major
MTL PEN – 14:00 – McPhee, high sticking + fighting major
MTL GOAL – 18:37 – Carbonneau (Robinson)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:16 – Carlson (Robinson, Nilan)
MTL PEN – 09:04 – Chelios, holding

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:23 – Ludwig (Hamel, Lafleur)
MTL GOAL – 03:05 – Smith (Turnbull, Hamel)
MTL GOAL – 05:25 – McPhee (Ludwig, Lafleur)
MTL GOAL – 08:02 – McPhee (Chabot, Ludwig)
MTL PEN – 10:09 – Walter, hooking
TOR PEN – 12:05 – Martin, holding
TOR GOAL – 16:27 – Terrion (Gavin, Nylund)

MTL – Wamsley (W, 12-13)
TOR – Bester (L, 35-41), Dowie (4-4)

MTL – 16+15+14 = 45
TOR – 4+3+6 = 13

MTLGoaltenders: Richard Sévigny, Rick Wamsley. Defence: Kent Carlson, Chris Chelios, Jean Hamel, Craig Ludwig, Larry Robinson, Bill Root. Forwards: Guy Carbonneau, John Chabot, Bob Gainey (C), Guy Lafleur, Larry Landon, Mike McPhee, Mats Naslund, Chris Nilan, Steve Shutt, Bobby Smith, Perry Turnbull, Ryan Walter.
TORGoaltenders: Allan Bester, Bruce Dowie. Defence: Jim Benning, Dave Hutchison, Jim Korn, Dave Farrish, Bob McGill, Gary Nylund, Bill Stewart. Forwards: Russ Courtnall, Dan Daoust, Bill Derlago, Stew Gavin, Gary Leeman, Terry Martin, Dale McCourt, Walt Poddubny, Greg Terrion, Rick Vaive (C).

MTL – 34-34-5 (.500)
TOR – 24-41-9 (.385)