Preseason Game 31 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 0

Preseason Game 31
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 0
Friday, September 22, 1995
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montréal Canadiens showed surprising restraint last night at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Leafs’ overwhelming 6-0 victory wasn’t spoiled by mayhem and goonery. Nor was the exhibition contest spoiled by these two most discouraging words of the preseason: obstruction interference.

Referee Andy van Hellemond whistled the Canadiens’ Vincent Damphousse for obstruction interference three minutes into the game, but didn’t call another violation of the National Hockey League’s revised rules pertaining to mugging off the puck until midway through the third period.

This wasn’t a case of van Hellemond turning a blind eye to infractions or losing his whistle. It was simply a case of two teams adjusting to strict enforcement of dramatically more stringent rules. The result was the intended effect of the new rules: open ice for skilled players in a fast-paced contest.

“It was an experienced ref working,” Leafs coach Pat Burns said. “And the players are making a more conscientious effort. It looked bad (for the new rules) in the beginning, but players are adjusting.”

“Players are adapting quickly, surprisingly quickly,” Leafs winger Mike Gartner said. “They have to fight their instincts and forget things like tying up after a faceoff, something that’s drilled into you back in peewee hockey. But when it’s your job, you just have to adapt.”

Unrestrained on their forays in the Montréal zone, the Leafs peppered Patrick Labrecque and Martin Brochu, two goaltenders competing for the job as backup to Patrick Roy.

After 15 minutes of fairly even play, defenceman Kenny Jonsson opened the scoring with a 20 foot snap shot past Labrecque.

Less than two minutes later, Benoît Hogue added to the Toronto lead. Hogue crashed the net on a Leaf break and banged a rebound of a Dmitri Yushkevich shot past Labrecque. Hogue showed perhaps the most jump and vigour since coming to Toronto in a trade with the New York Islanders late last season. Playing on the left wing beside centreman Doug Gilmour and rookie Zdenek Nedved, Hogue created several glorious scoring chances and cashed in the key one.

The outcome was never in doubt after Dave Andreychuk gave the Leafs a 3-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first period.

Centres Mike Hudson and Darby Hendrickson scored second period goals, and six minutes into the third period, Nedved continued his fine play this autumn with a goal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, September 23, 1995

1st Period
MTL PEN – 03:09 – Dampousse, interference
MTL PEN – 07:09 – Stevenson
TOR PEN – 09:22 – Jonsson
TOR GOAL – 15:12 – Jonsson (Sundin, Gartner)
TOR GOAL – 16:54 – Hogue (Yushkevich, Nedved)
TOR GOAL – 19:30 – Andreychuk (Gilmour)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:12 – Damphousse
TOR GOAL – 05:41 – Hudson (Warriner, Gartner)
TOR PEN – 06:05 – Momesso
TOR PEN – 10:04 – Hendrickson
TOR PEN – 11:13 – Yushkevich
TOR GOAL – 15:16 – Hendrickson (Warriner, Macoun)
MTL PEN – 19:54 – Brown

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 06:17 – Nedved (Gilmour)
TOR PEN – 07:49 – Hendrickson, holding
TOR PEN – 18:09 – Gilmour, holding

TOR – Potvin (W + SO, 12-12), Jablonski (SO, 10-10)
MTL – Labrecque (L, 14-18), Brochu (17-19)

TOR – 11+13+13 = 37
MTL – 7+10+5 = 22