Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Saturday, December 26, 1987
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
It wouldn’t take a stranger more than five minutes of chatting with Maple Leafs coach John Brophy to realize his hatred of losing.
It has driven him into temper tantrums as a coach and a player – especially the former when he’s been known to order his team back onto the ice after a defeat for a stiff practice session.
But even he could tolerate the Leafs’ 4-2 National Hockey League loss to the Montréal Canadiens last night at the Gardens.
Not even by his strict work ethics could he be displeased with the effort of his team last night – especially his penalty killers.
When Brophy states flatly that his team played “an excellent game” in defeat, you know he’s pleased with the effort, and well he should in this one.
Last time the Canadiens were here, they hung a 10-3 drubbing on the Leafs.
Also, Les Habs just happen to own the best overall record in the National Hockey League – 21 wins and nine ties against only nine losses.
“There was absolutely no problem with the effort tonight,” Brophy said. “We were playing against the best team in the NHL; there’s not a better defensive team. You don’t get second and third shots against that team.”
The Leafs penalty killing thoroughly entertained the 16,382 fans in the first period.
The Leafs played shorthanded for about 8 ½ minutes and on two occasions, the Canadiens had a two-man advantage – one for 41 seconds and another for 54 seconds. Yet, they managed only a single shot on goal during this span.
The Habs had six manpower advantages in the period and came up empty. They were 0-for-8 on the night.
The Leafs opened the scoring early in the second when Dan Daoust got a rebound off Montréal goalie Brian Hayward’s mask and fired a shot into the open side.
However, before the period ended, Stéphane Richer tied the score and Ryan Walter put the Canadiens ahead 2-1.
Bob Gainey and Richer increased the Montréal lead in the third, both as a result of goaltender Allan Bester roaming from his goal, and Luke Richardson closed out the scoring at 17:38.
Brophy appeared disturbed with several calls – especially double minors – by referee Terry Gregson in the first period.
“I don’t know how we keep getting double minors; there’s another team out there too,” Brophy said. “And we seem to be getting called for an awful lot of penalties in the first period recently.
“We’re not leading the league in penalties, you know.”
Defenceman Al Iafrate, who drew assists on both Leaf goals, felt the Leafs had nothing to be ashamed about in this loss.
“We lost, but we played hard,” he said. “You can’t make many mistakes against the Canadiens or they’ll kill you. Once they get going in your end and start buzzing around, they’re excellent.
“They keep passing the puck back and forth until they get a guy in the clear and they don’t need many chances to put the puck in the net.
“We had our chances to redeem ourselves for that beating they gave us the first time they were here but we came up short.”
Unfortunately, it was the final game between these two great rivals this season. The Canadiens won all three as they also defeated the Leafs 3-1 in Montréal on November 9.
For the Canadiens, it was their first stop on a four-game road trip. They’ll play in Calgary, Vancouver and Los Angeles before returning home.
Despite their excellent overall record, it was their first win in four games. They had two ties and a loss going into last night’s game.
The Leafs are back in action here tomorrow night, when they meet the Washington Capitals and it’s a safe bet Brophy will be putting plenty of emphasis, again, on the Leafs’ power play at today’s practice.
They were 0-for-3 last night and it’s becoming an increasing concern for Brophy.
They have the worst power play in the league.
“It’s not that we don’t work on it enough,” Brophy said.
“Our intensity just isn’t what it should be when we have the man advantage. I wish I had the answer as to why it isn’t.”
Story originally published in The Toronto Star, December 27, 1987
TOR PEN – 04:22 – Salming, hooking
MTL PEN – 05:39 – Corson, roughing
TOR PEN – 05:39 – Terrion, roughing
TOR PEN – 09:22 – Iafrate, holding
MTL PEN – 10:03 – Svoboda, high sticking
TOR PEN – 10:03 – DeGray, high sticking
TOR PEN – 10:41 – Fergus, high sticking double minor
MTL PEN – 12:19 – Corson, high sticking
TOR PEN – 12:19 – Leeman, high sticking double minor
MTL PEN – 13:13 – Walter, hooking
TOR PEN – 15:19 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR GOAL – 04:46 – Daoust (Iafrate)
MTL PEN – 06:33 – Green, holding
TOR PEN – 09:05 – team, too many men on the ice
MTL GOAL – 12:19 – Richer (Naslund, Corson)
MTL GOAL – 15:10 – Walter (Lemieux, Smith)
MTL PEN – 17:58 – Nilan, fighting major
TOR PEN – 17:58 – Semenko, fighting major
MTL GOAL – 00:29 – Gainey (Kordic)
MTL PEN – 05:23 – Green, high sticking major
TOR PEN – 07:29 – Ihnacak, interference
TOR PEN – 12:19 – Olczyk, holding
MTL GOAL – 16:57 – Richer
TOR GOAL – 17:38 – Richardson (Iafrate, Fergus)
MTL – Hayward (W, 28-30)
TOR – Bester (L, 35-39)
SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 11+11+17 = 39
TOR – 7+12+11 = 30
MTL – Goaltenders: Brian Hayward. Defence: Chris Chelios, Rick Green, Mike Lalor, Craig Ludwig, Petr Svoboda. Forwards: Guy Carbonneau, Shayne Corson, Kjell Dahlin, Bob Gainey (C), John Kordic, Claude Lemieux, Mike McPhee, Mats Naslund (A), Chris Nilan, Stéphane Richer, Brian Skrudland, Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter.
TOR – Goaltenders: Allan Bester. Defence: Dale DeGray, Todd Gill, Al Iafrate, Rick Lanz, Luke Richardson, Borje Salming (A). Forwards: Russ Courtnall, Dan Daoust, Tom Fergus, Peter Ihnacak, Gary Leeman, Sean McKenna, Chris McRae, Ed Olczyk, Mark Osborne, Al Secord, Dave Semenko, Greg Terrion.
MTL – 21-8-9 (.671)
TOR – 14-18-3 (.443)