Only one National Hockey League game was on the schedule last night, and that saw the Los Angeles Kings win their second straight after previously losing nine games in a row.
Kings 5 Rangers 2
The Los Angeles Kings scored four second-period goals en route to a 5-2 win over the visiting New York Rangers before 11,740 fans last night at The Forum in Los Angeles. The win for the Kings was their second straight after a string of nine consecutive losses.
Rookie Howie Menard, a 25-year-old journeyman who was recently called up from the American Hockey League Springfield Kings, was an unlikely hero for Los Angeles. Menard scored his first two NHL goals in his third game with the Kings. His only previous big league experience was a three-game cup of coffee with the Detroit Red Wings back in the 1963-64 season. Linemates Doug Robinson and Howie Hughes also had goals for the home side.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Lowell MacDonald opened the scoring at the 19-second mark. That was followed by goals by Hughes at 5:41 and Menard’s first of the game and eventual winning goal just before the 10-minute mark.
Reggie Fleming got the Rangers on the board about four minutes later. But before New York could gather any momentum, Robinson, another Springfield call-up, netted his first as a King to restore the three-goal margin.
Phil Goyette made it 4-2 with Rangers second goal with just over a minute left in the period.
Los Angeles concentrated more on defence for the final 20 minutes with Menard’s second of the game the period’s only scoring play.
Terry Sawchuk was the other Kings’ star of the night. The veteran goalkeeper was spectacular at times, especially over the first two periods. Rangers coach Emile Francis had praise for both Menard and Sawchuk:
“That little line was killing us. That Menard, he’s a bull-dog. He really sparked them. He’s no bigger than a minute but he really plays the game.
“And Sawchuk came through with those big saves when we were pressuring them, espeiclly in that first period. They checked and hustled and deserved to win. They played excellent position hockey and forced us into mistakes.
“The percentages were bound to catch up with us anyway. Our record (11-1-1) was too good against the expansion teams.”
Menard talked about his big night:
“It was wonderful. Just wonderful. I’m glad it was against an old club rather than an expansion team. That really makes it a great feeling.
“On that first one, I just closed my eyes and fired.”
That goal came on a two-on-one break with Robinson. Using his winger as a decoy, Menard fired a 25-footer through Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin’s legs.
Kings coach Red Kelly had been preaching all through the losing streak that his team had to get back to their skating game and that’s exactly what they did:
“When we’re skating like we were tonight, we can give anybody a go. I think that’s why we’ve beaten all the old teams. They can beat anybody when they’re skating.
“Our schedule isn’t as rough the second half, so Philadelphia better look out.”
The Flyers are the first-place team in the NHL’s Western Division, six points up on the Kings.
Helmets for Bruins?
General manager Milt Schmidt and coach Harry Sinden of the Boston Bruins say they are considering making helmets mandatory for their team, at least in all workouts.
Sinden says that while the team can’t force players to wear the helmets during games, they can insist on it for practices. He said he will try and convince players to adopt the headgear full time, and in the mean time, he thinks that using helmets in practice may help players get used to the extra protection.
- Chicago Black Hawks Scooter Line, made up of center Stan Mikita and wingers Kenny Wharram and Doug Mohns, will all take to wearing helmets for this weekend’s games. Shown here are Wharram and Mikita comparing models they will be trying out.
- The Scooters’ team mate, Bobby Hull says he is undecided on whether he’ll give the protective head gear a try.
- Toronto Maple Leafs general manager-coach Punch Imlach says he might just start four defencemen and a centre for games from now on. Imlach said he wanted to get some hitting and size into his lineup when he tried it Thursday against Boston and it worked so well, it may become a regular feature of his starting five.
- Minnesota North Stars general manager-coach Wren Blair has sent out an SOS to all other NHL GM’s, asking for player help in the wake of the death of North Star centre Bill Masterton. Blair says due to the loss of Masterton and other injuries, he’s having trouble fielding a full team. Part of Blair’s problem is self-inflicted. He traded six players to Rochester of the American Hockey League for just two men (Jean-Paul Parise and Milan Marcetta), plus the loan of minor league rearguard Ken Block.
- North Stars have brought up forward Barry Meissner and defenceman Billy Plager from their Central Professional Hockey League farm team at Memphis. Both players have siblings who have NHL experience. Meissner’s brother Dick, currently with Baltimore of the AHL, had trials with New York and Boston. Bill Plager’s brothers, Barclay and Bob, both are with the St. Louis Blues.
- Oakland Seals forward Bill Hicke is back from Hawaii where he was recuperating from asthma problems. He’s working out with the team and could see limited action tonight when the Seals host the New York Rangers. The Seals need all the help they can get – they’ve won only once in their past 16 games.
- The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association is meeting today in Toronto. The executive is expected to receive a proposal for a trans-Atlantic hockey league including teams from Russia, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Canada and Sweden. They are expected to approve the proposal and pass it along to officials of the International Ice Hockey Federation.