Game 618 – Maple Leafs 7, Canadiens 4

Game 618
Maple Leafs 7, Canadiens 4
Saturday, December 9, 1989
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Reunions are supposed to be happy times and last night definitely ranks as one of the more cheery occasions on the Leaf calendar of late.

Right winger Daniel Marois, back in the lineup for the first time since November 12, rejoined linemates Tom Fergus and Vince Damphousse and helped ignite a five-goal explosion in the first period that carried the Leafs to a 7-4 victory over the Montréal Canadiens.

It was also a night of mirth and merriment for Ed Olczyk, who, with persistent trade rumours swirling all about him, recorded the second three-goal game of his career after going without a goal in his previous seven contests.

Leafs netminder Mark Laforest even got into the festive spirit by drawing an assist on Olczyk’s third-period breakaway goal at 7:30, which gave the Leafs a four-goal edge before Mats Naslund made things a little more respectable for the weary visitors at 16:35.

The Canadiens, playing their third game in four nights and coming off a 6-6 draw with Winnipeg on Friday, were clearly a team without much bounce in their step.

There also wasn’t much D in their defence and there was a familiar figure missing in the crease. To the astonishment of a full house of 16,382 and the Canadiens themselves, Montréal head coach Pat Burns fingered The Unknown Netminder, André Racicot, to start in place of Vézina Trophy winner Patrick Roy.

The Leafs, hoping to build on a four-game win streak on Gardens ice, jumped all over the Canadiens in the first few minutes and pumped their first two shots of the game past the rattled rookie. By the 12:40 mark, Damphousse had made it three goals on six shots.

While Fergus, Olczyk and Damphousse definitely put a damper on the youngster’s pro debut, Wendel Clark, with the 100th goal of his career, and Lou Franceschetti made the night a living hell for each of the Montréalers.

“I thought we blitzed them pretty good,” understated Olczyk, who is reported to be heading from whence the Canadiens just came in exchange for centre Dale Hawerchuk. “All we wanted to do was not let them come at us, but to take it to them.”

Guy Carbonneau, after a giveaway by Al Iafrate deep in the Leaf end, and Russ Courtnall, on a missile from just inside the blue line, scored late in the first period and early in the second, respectively, to throw a small scare into the Leafs, but the Habs simply didn’t have enough oomph to overcome the five-goal first period.

“Hey, we know the feeling of playing back-to-back nights better than anyone,” said Damphousse, who also assisted on Toronto’s first goal. “They didn’t seem to have the jump they usually have.”

Marois, who had missed 11 games with a deep bruise on his left shoulder, concurred with his linemate.

“They just didn’t seem as fast as they normally do. We were first to the puck all night,” said Marois.

The game came nowhere close to matching the excitement or punishing physical play exhibited in the original meeting between these teams on November 18, which the Canadiens won 4-3 in overtime, but head coach Doug Carpenter was partial to this contest for obvious reasons.

“I thought we owed them something,” said Carpenter, whose club had gone 3-5 since that loss on Forum ice. “We had to come out and jump on them and we did that.”

While many in the capacity crowd were still settling into their seats, it appeared as though the rather peculiar number on Racicot’s jersey, number 53, might represent his goals-against average by the time this affair was over.

Fergus, obviously delighted to have his regular right winger back, took Marois’ pass at the Montréal blue line and sped behind Norris Trophy winner Chris Chelios on the left side to put a wrist shot between Racicot’s legs with only 39 seconds gone in the game.

Olczyk also used the port side as a launching pad for his 10th goal of the season, taking an alert pass from Tom Kurvers and moving in unmolested to put a backhander over Racicot’s left shoulder and into the far side at 2:07.

Racicot survived the next seven minutes thanks to some improved work on the part of his teammates, but Burns mercifully gave him the hook after Damphousse whacked a wrist shot past the youngster during a scramble at 12:40.

Racicot could hardly be blamed on that goal, however, as rookie rearguard Donald Dufresne made a dreadful clearing attempt through the crease that fell at Damphousse’s feet.

Roy came on in relief, much to the delight of the Canadien fans in the crowd, but he picked up where he’d left off in Winnipeg and was promptly beaten by a sizzling Clark wrist shot, high to the glove side, at 15:35 after some strong work in the Leaf end by defenceman Luke Richardson.

Franceschetti made it 5-0 just 1:59 later, firing from a sharp angle along the right boards but with John McIntyre acting as a screen to beat Roy on the short side. The Canadiens were history.

NOTES: LW Scott Pearson and D Todd Gill were the Leaf scratches, while C Dave Hannan remains out with strained knee ligaments…The Canadiens were without G Brian Hayward (knee), D Petr Svoboda (groin) and RW Claude Lemieux (abdominal surgery)…Dave Reid’s assist on Lou Franceschetti’s first-period goal was the 100th point of his career.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, December 10, 1989

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 00:39 – Fergus (Marois, Damphousse)
TOR GOAL – 02:07 – Olczyk (Kurvers, Curran)
TOR PEN – 09:25 – Osborne, holding
TOR GOAL – 12:40 – Damphousse
TOR GOAL – 13:35 – Clark (Daoust)
TOR GOAL – 15:36 – Franceschetti (Kurvers, Reid)
MTL GOAL – 17:33 – Carbonneau (McPhee)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:16 – Courtnall
TOR GOAL – 06:34 – Olczyk (Leeman, Iafrate)
TOR PEN – 07:36 – McIntyre, holding
MTL PEN – 08:13 – Smith, hooking
MTL PEN – 12:21 – Dufresne, elbowing + fighting major
TOR PEN – 12:21 – Kordic, roughing + fighting major

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:52 – Smith, roughing
TOR PEN – 01:52 – Curran, roughing
TOR PEN – 04:10 – Osborne, roughing
MTL PEN – 04:10 – Courtnall, charging
MTL GOAL – 04:28 – Richer (Corson, Lumme)
TOR PEN – 05:16 – Ramage, tripping
TOR GOAL – 07:30 – Olczyk (Ramage, LaForest)
MTL PEN – 09:39 – Desjardins, cross checking
MTL PEN – 09:54 – Courtnall, fighting major
TOR PEN – 09:54 – Kurvers, fighting major
MTL GOAL – 16:35 – Naslund (Corson, Daigneault)
MTL PEN – 17:38 – Chelios, instigator + fighting major + misconduct
TOR PEN – 17:38 – McIntyre, fighting major

TOR – LaForest (W, 32-36)
MTL – Racicot (3-6), Roy (L, 15-19)

TOR – 9+10+16 = 25
MTL – 11+13+12 = 36

TORGoaltenders: Mark LaForest. Defence: Brian Curran, Al Iafrate, Tom Kurvers, Brad Marsh (A), Rob Ramage (C), Luke Richardson. Forwards: Wendel Clark (A), Vincent Damphousse, Dan Daoust, Tom Fergus, Lou Franceschetti, John Kordic, Gary Leeman, Daniel Marois, John McIntyre, Ed Olczyk, Mark Osborne, Dave Reid.
MTLGoaltenders: André Racicot, Patrick Roy. Defence: Chris Chelios (C), J.J. Daigneault, Éric Desjardins, Donald Dufresne, Craig Ludwig, Jyrki Lumme. Forwards: Guy Carbonneau (C), Shayne Corson, Russ Courtnall, Mike Keane, Stéphan Lebeau, Jocelyn Lemieux, Mike McPhee, Mats Naslund (A), Stéphane Richer, Brian Skrudland (A), Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter.

TOR – 14-17-0 (.452)
MTL – 18-12-3 (.591)