Game 603 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 2

Game 603
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 2
Saturday, February 9, 1985
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

If the magic of television didn’t exist, hockey fans in Toronto would figure that the scores and descriptions of games the Maple Leafs play on the road were fiction, the product of some fertile imagination.

After all, the Leafs who play at Maple Leaf Gardens, winners just once there in the past nine games, bear little resemblance to the team that performs on foreign ponds.

It’s as if the players go into a telephone booth in other cities and emerge in a leotard with a red “S” on the chest and returns to horn rims and a suit when they are in Toronto. A convincing 6-2 victory over the Montréal Canadiens at The Forum here gave the Leafs a 5-2-2 won-lost-tied record in their past nine road matches.

But because of the puny road mark the club has been unable to gain much ground on the Detroit Red Wings, who hold fourth place in the Norris Division. The Leafs trail the Wings, who lost to the Edmonton Oilers last night, by nine points.

Tonight at the Gardens, the Leafs have another chance to get something going at home when they meet the Canadiens in the second game of a rare weekend series. They’ll need a repeat of the solid work delivered here, one of their best all-around efforts of the season.

The absence of Borje Salming (bronchitis) and Al Iafrate (bruised knee) from the defence should have left a hole of huge proportions in that erratic corps. But Bill Root and, especially, Todd Gill – summoned from the St. Catharines Saints and Windsor juniors, respectively – more than took up the slack.

Gill played impressively in his NHL debut, recalled under the “triple emergency” legislation because the Leafs have three injured regulars and destined to return the minors when either Iafrate or Salming is sound.

The Leafs likely will dip into the Saints’ roster again for tonight’s game. Winger Jim Korn’s shoulder, which pops out of position frequently, did it again last evening when he was involved in a scrap with the Canadiens’ Chris Nilan.

Mirko Frycer, the Leafs’ represenative in Tuesday’s all-star game in Calgary, had a goal and two assists to lead the Toronto club’s attack. Russ Courtnall, Rick Vaive, John Anderson, Peter Ihnacak and Greg Terrion, with a shorthanded score, had the other goals.

Mario Tremblay and Mats Naslund had the Canadien goals, the first and last scores of the game, both on power plays.

Last night, the Leafs’ patchwork defence, notably the pair of Gary Nylund and Bob McGill, delivered a splendid effort in front of Tim Bernhardt, who played another tidy game in goal. The forwards were strong two ways – all three lines participated in scoring – and took advantage of their chances.

“I was very pleased the way our players made up the slack when two of our best players were missing,” said Leaf coach Dan Maloney.

“Our defence played an intelligent game and didn’t try to do too much: McGill and Nylund played an exceptional game, working well together and moving the puck quickly.”

Nylund, who has had problems this season when he tried to do too much, feels that the Leafs play with economy when they go against the top teams.

“We don’t want to take any real chances against the better teams because mistakes can really hurt us so we try to do the simple things well,” Nylund said.

“Maybe it’s that way on the road a little, too, where we don’t try to put on a show. It’s really hard to figure out why we don’t have a better record at home because I don’t think we play that much differently. But maybe when we’re in front of family and friends, we try to be a little too fancy.”

“I think Bob McGill and I can be fairly effective when we just try to do the little, basic things. If we get fancy, we get into trouble because we’re not fancy guys.”

The Leafs gave up the first goal, then plugged away to take a 2-1 lead out of the first period. They locked up their second win here this season with three goals in the second period.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, February 10, 1985

1st Period
TOR PEN – 09:31 – Jarvis, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 09:51 – Tremblay (Chelios, Kurvers)
TOR PEN – 10:33 – Korn, fighting major
MTL PEN – 10:33 – Nilan, fighting major
TOR PEN – 11:25 – Daoust, holding
TOR GOAL – 16:33 – Frycer (Ihnacak, Leeman)
TOR GOAL – 19:05 – Courtnall (Frycer, Benning)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:21 – Robinson, hooking
TOR GOAL – 06:48 – Anderson (Vaive, Daoust)
TOR PEN – 09:49 – Leeman, roughing / high sticking double minor
MTL PEN – 09:49 – Chelios, high sticking
MTL PEN – 10:45 – Green, holding
TOR GOAL – 12:19 – Ihnacak (Frycer)
MTL PEN – 13:09 – Hunter, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 15:06 – Vaive (Leeman, Daoust)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:07 – Vaive, holding
TOR SH GOAL – 07:14 – Terrion (Leeman)
TOR PEN – 14:08 – Benning, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 14:31 – Naslund (Smith, Chelios)
TOR PEN – 19:45 – McGill, hooking

TOR – Bernhardt (W, 32-34)
MTL – Soetaert (L, 15-21)

TORGoaltenders: Tim Bernhardt. Defence: Jim Benning, Todd Gill, Bill Kitchen, Jim Korn, Bob McGill, Gary Nylund, Bill Root. Forwards: John Anderson, Jeff Brubaker, Russ Courtnall, Dan Daoust, Miroslav Frycer, Stew Gavin, Peter Ihnacak, Wes Jarvis, Gary Leeman, Greg Terrion, Rick Vaive (C).
MTLGoaltenders: Steve Penney, Doug Soetaert. Defence: Chris Chelios, Rick Green, Tom Kurvers, Craig Ludwig, Larry Robinson, Petr Svoboda. Forwards: Serge Boisvert, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey (C), Mark Hunter, Mike McPhee, Mats Naslund, John Newberry, Chris Nilan, Bobby Smith, Mario Tremblay, Alfie Turcotte, Ryan Walter.

TOR – 12-35-7 (.287)
MTL – 27-18-10 (.582)