A busy weekend in the National Hockey League with 11 games played. The big news is that the Montreal Canadiens, cellar-dwellers or a good part of the first few months of the season, have gone on a 9-game winning streak and now rest atop the league’s Eastern Division.
We have details on the top games of the weekend plus much more.
Canadiens 5 Bruins 2
The Montreal Canadiens completed their ascent from the basement of the NHL’s Eastern Division to the very top of the standings with a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins Saturday night in Montreal. Before a crowd of 15,649 the Habs won their ninth straight game and remain unbeaten in 13.
Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and cruised the rest of the way. Yvan Cournoyer, Terry Harper and John Ferguson notched the early markers. Gilles Tremblay added a goal in the second period, with Claude Provost completing the scoring in the third.
Phil Esposito and Eddie Westfall scored for the Bruins in the final frame.
It was a rough contest with no lack of bloodshed. Montreal players who needed repairs for various cuts included Harper (four stitches over the left eye), Jean Beliveau (cut forehead), Gilles Tremblay (cut cheekbone), Ralph Backstrom (nicked near the left eye) and Bobby Rousseau (six stitches under the nose). Rookie Jacques Lemaire also suffered a charley-horse.
Rousseau’s injury drew the most ire from the Montreal club. He was cut in a tussle in the third period, but he and Boston’s John McKenzie had been at odds all night. Things started when McKenzie chopped at Rousseau’s head when he fell in the first period.
Rousseau attempted to deliver some retribution when the opportunity presented itself in the third, and jammed McKenzie into the boards. The Boston right-winger responded by shoving the blade of his stick into Rousseau’s face, inflicting the wound under the nose.
Only some diligent work by the officials kept this from degenerating into an all-out sword fight.
Montreal coach Toe Blake was fuming over the incident after the game:
“If McKenzie had been given a major penalty, even a match for deliberate attempt to injure in the first period, all the high-sticking nonsense could have been avoided.”
McKenzie was assessed a five-minute major for the third period incident.
Canadiens outshot the Bruins 32-20 on the night. Boston goalie Gerry Cheevers was not sharp on the first two Montreal scores, but was pretty much left on his own for the last three.
Rogatien Vachon, now with seven wins in a row himself, had a fairly easy time of it. He was called upon to make only one really big stop, but that came in the first period when the score was just 1-0. He made a quick glove snag of an Ed Westfall try at a time when, had Boston scored, the game may have turned. Vachon has allowed only 10 goals in his 7-game streak.
Penguins 1 Bruins 0
Riding the superlative goaltending of Les Binkley, the Pittsburgh Penguins handed the Boston Bruins their second loss of the weekend, and fourth in a row, a 1-0 shutout right in Boston Garden.
The Bruins dominated the game territorially, but could not beat Binkley. They outshot Pittsburgh by a 33-16 margin.
The only goal of the game was scored by winger George Konik, his third of the year for Pittsburgh, at 3:21 of the second period. The play was started by defenceman Al MacNeil of the Pens, who slipped a pass to partner Bill Speer. He fed Konik on the left side. Konik skated into the Boston zone, was allowed to move in alone on Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers. He faked a shot and then darted across the goal mouth, slipping the disc between Cheevers’ pad and the goal post.
Penguins then went into defensive mode for the rest of the contest, accounting for their low shot total. As Binkley left the ice at the end of the game, the partisan Boston crowd gave him a nice ovation.
Pittsburgh coach Red Sullivan couldn’t say enough about Binkley’s performance:
“That probably was the finest goaltending performance I have ever seen. You got to be doing something right to get an ovation like that from these fans.”
Bruins coach Harry Sinden also acknowledged Binkley’s fine play in earning his fourth shutout of the season, but felt forwards weren’t getting enough shots:
“We could’ve shot for six periods against that guy without scoring. Our defencemen’s arms were tired from shooting.”
Kings 2 Flyers 0
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Terry Sawchuk made 27 saves to earn his first shutout of the season as the Kings blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 Sunday evening at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. The win leaves the Kings in third place in the Western Division standings, one point in arrears of second-place Minnesota, and five back of the leading Flyers.
It was quite a turnaround for the Kings, who had allowed 16 goals in their two previous appearances in Philadelphia.
Sawchuk was steady throughout the game, with his best work coming the second period when the Flyers had 12 shots. The majority of the Philly shots, however, came off the sticks of their defencemen, usually from well out and that made Sawchuk’s job a little easier.
Howie Menard, the 5-6 pepper-pot recently recalled from AHL Springfield, netted the only goal the Kings would need in the game’s second minute. Menard beat Flyers goalie Doug Favell from about 10 feet after taking a perfect pass from winger Doug Robinson.
That’s the way it remained until with just less than five minutes to play in the game. With the netminders matching each other save for save for the better part of three periods, Terry Gray of Los Angeles picked up a loose puck about 25 feet in front of Favell after Philly rearguard John Miszuk tripped, likely over something thrown on to the ice. Gray whipped a quick shot past Favell before he could react to the turnover.
North Stars 2 Red Wings 1
Before a sellout crowd of 14,580 in Minneapolis yesterday afternoon, the North Stars nipped the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in a contest that was televised nationally on the CBS television network. It was a big win for the North Stars, moving them into second place in the Western Division.
Goalie Cesare Maniago was brilliant for the North Stars, making 34 saves. He was especially great in the opening frame, when the Red Wings held a 13-6 margin in shots on goal.
Minnesota coach Wren Blair, operating with a paucity of forwards, did a masterful job of juggling his lines. Blair explained:
“I used only seven forwards, really. I kept splitting shifts to send fresh men in there. Several of those breaks for television commercials helped us.”
Ray Cullen, with his 19th of the season in the first period, and Wayne Connelly, his 18th were the Minnesota marksmen.
Connelly’s third-period marker was, at least for him, sweet justice for what he thought was a botched call on an earlier penalty shot.
He was awarded the free try by referee Art Skov just shy of the midway mark of the second period when he was hooked from behind on a breakaway by Red Wings Floyd Smith.
On the free shot, Connelly skated in from centre ice straight at Red Wings goalie Roger Crozier. He faked a shot and then slid directly into the Detroit netminder. Connelly, Crozier and the puck all ended up in the goal, with Skov signalling a good score.
The Red Wings bench erupted and vehemently protested the goal, saying that Connelly had knocked the puck into the net after Crozier had stopped the initial try. After conferring with his linesmen, Skov reversed his decision and disallowed the goal.
Films of the play indicate that Skov’s reversal was the correct call. A goal cannot be scored on a penalty shot once the initial save has been made.
To add insult to injury, just two minutes later the Red Wings tied the score at 1-1 on a Norm Ullman tally. That set the stage for Connelly’s winner.
Crozier played the first 40 minutes in goal for Detroit, with Roy Edwards taking over for the third period. There was no word on why the switch was made. Crozier’s play certainly couldn’t have been cause for being yanked at that point.
Canadian Olympic Roster
The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association has announced the roster for the hockey team that will represent Canada at the 1968 Olympic games in Grenoble, France.
Goaltenders; Ken Broderick, Wayne Stephenson
Defencemen: Terry O’Malley, Paul Conlin, Barry MacKenzie, Ted Hargreaves, Brian Glennie.
Centres: Fran Huck, Gary Dineen, Danny O’Shea, Herb Pinder.
Left Wings: Roger Bourbonnais, Morris Mott
Right Wings: Steve Monteith, Ray Cadieux, Gerry Pinder, Marshall Johnston, Billy MacMillan.
Defenceman Gary Begg, who had been counted on to play a large role on the Canadian blue line, will miss the tourney because of a knee injury that just hasn’t healed well enough for him to participate.
- Detroit Red Wings defenceman Howie Young told the Associated Press that he will be donning a helmet: “I don’t feel Masterton should have died in vain.”
- Ken McKee of the Toronto Star reports that an extensive autopsy conducted on Minnesota North Stars forward Bill Masterton revealed no prior injury or condition that would have contributed to his death. Medical examiner Dr. John Coe told The Star: “The actual injury was not as marked as we expected but occurred in a very critical area within his brain. So it is not difficult to account for death.”
- Bruce Draper, 27, one of the stars of the 1961 Memorial Cup-winning St. Michael’s Majors, passed away on Friday. He had been battling cancer since early 1966, but continued to play during his treatment. His last professional appearance was early this season when he played in nine games for the AHL Baltimore Clippers.
- Word out of Chicago is that the Black Hawks would like to lure centre Bill (Red) Hay out of retirement. Chicago would first have to re-acquire his rights from the St. Louis Blues, who drafted Hay from the Hawks in last summer’s Expansion Draft. The Blues apparently want a junior draft pick in any deal for Hay.
- Billy Harris remains out of the Oakland Seals lineup while he contemplates his future. Coach Bert Olmstead doesn’t sound like he’s in any hurry to bring Harris back into the fold: “He hasn’t convinced me he’s ready to knuckle down and perform in the way he’s capable. It is better that he have more time to consider his position.”
- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bud Poile is upset with the officiating that has taken place in his team’s games. Poile feels there is one set of rules for the old clubs, and one set for expansion teams. “There’s a triple standard of officiating. Our guys don’t know what to believe.”
- Bruins defenceman Ted Green and rookie centre Derek Sanderson, room mates on road trips, said they overslept and that’s why they missed a team meeting Saturday afternoon in Montreal. Green also missed a scheduled meeting with NHL president Clarence Campbell over the recent stick-swinging incident with Chicago’s Doug Mohns.
- Pittsburgh Penguins sent forward Bob Dillabough and defenceman Dick Mattiussi to Baltimore of the AHL on Saturday evening. Brought up from Baltimore to replace them were defenceman Dunc McCallum and forward Bobby Rivard.
- Chicago Black Hawks are very high on young defenceman Paul Shmyr, currently starring for the Dallas farm team in the Central Professional Hockey League. Shmyr was acquired from the New York Rangers before the start of the season in exchange for veteran left winger Camille Henry.
- NHL referee Bruce Hood suffered a broken wrist when hit by a shot in Saturday’s game in Detroit.
- NHL Standings as of this morning:
- Stan Mikita now leads the NHL scoring race by two points over his team mate Bobby Hull:
- Crowds for the NHL expansion teams seem to be on the upswing. The Flyers drew 13,577 for yesterday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings while Minnesota had 14,580 pay to see them play the Red Wings at the Met Centre in Bloomington. The St, Louis Blues attracted 13,873 to their game Saturday night at The Arena against the New York Rangers.
- The Juniors and Oldtimers are also getting great crowds. Montreal Junior Canadiens had 15,589 in the stands at The Forum for a game last night against the Niagara Falls Flyers, which they won 7-5. And an exhibition game between the Quebec Oldtimers and Boston Bruins Oldtimers brought over 13,000 to the Forum yesterday afternoon.