February 5

A great weekend of action in the National Hockey League saw the Montreal Canadiens’ winning streak finally end, thanks to a 3-0 loss in their final game at New York’s Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. We also saw the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their downward spiral, as they managed to gain only one of a possible four points from expansion clubs on the weekend.

Rangers 3 Canadiens 0

The New York Rangers were the team to finally end the Montreal Canadiens 12-game winning streak last night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the final meeting of the two teams at the old barn, the Rangers, thanks to some great goaltending by Eddie Giacomin, blanked the Habs 3-0. In addition to the winning skein, the Habs had not lost in 16.Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 12.01.53 PM

It was Giacomin’s fifth shutout of the season and couldn’t have come at a better time. Giacomin wasn’t particularly busy, only facing 23 shots, but he made key stops at critical times and that was the difference in the game.

The line of Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield took care of the Rangers offence, each netting a goal. Hadfield’s goal was a big one for him. Last night’s game was his first since separating his shoulder three and a half weeks ago in Chicago.

Hadfield sat on the bench for the entire first period and part of the second before Rangers coach Emile Francis decided to reunite him with Ratelle and Gilbert. It only took 40 seconds for Hadfield to score the game’s first goal. It was also the first time Hadfield had worn a helmet in his NHL career.

Francis knew that this was a big weekend for the Rangers, who managed a tie with Boston on Saturday night:

“It was a key weekend for us – this keeps us in the race. We’ve been playing well and ya know if you play that well, it’s gotta even up.

“You have to keep close to the top and tonight’s game was the difference between being six points or 10 points out of first.

“We were checking and playing position, The key was the Kurtenbach line (Orland Kurtenbach, Reg Fleming and Ron Stewart) controlling the Beliveau line. That’s been the one that’s hurt us.”

Francis had special praise for the faceoff work of Jean Ratelle. Ratelle won 17 of 21 draws against Montreal’s rookie pivot Jacques Lemaire:

“He got us the puck and you gotta have it to win.”

Flyers 4 Maple Leafs 1

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Doug Favell certainly has the Toronto Maple Leafs’ number. For the second consecutive game he’s played against Toronto, Favell made over 40 saves and was the key factor as his team dumped the Maple Leafs 4-1 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. A sellout crowd of 14,646 were on hand to see the downward spiral of the Stanley Cup champions continue.Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 12.08.20 PM.png

The loss for Toronto, plus a tie  Saturday against Pittsburgh, leaves them with 55 points, tied with the New York Rangers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Division. The Flyers now have a five-point lead over the second-place Minnesota North Stars in the Western section.

Last night Favell made 43 saves, many of the spectacular variety. Seventeen of those stops came in a frenetic final 20 minutes when the Leafs made an all-out effort to find a chink in Favell’s armour. That didn’t happen.

Defenceman John Miszuk, hardly known as an offensive dynamo, provided all the offence Favell would need with a pair of first-period goals. They were only his second and third markers of the season. Claude Laforge added a goal in the second period, with Don Blackburn rounding out the evening’s scoring in the third.

Pete Stemkowski had the only Toronto tally in the first, sandwiched between Miszuk’s pair.

Flyers came into the game short-handed, dressing only nine forwards and five defencemen. Their number was further reduced early in the first period when rearguard Ed Van Impe had to retire with a back injury.

The rumour mill is working overtime in Toronto as the Leafs sink in the standings. General manager-coach Punch Imlach was asked if he had any player moves planned for his Leafs:

“I’m always thinking of changes. But you don’t move players in or out unless you’re certain it will help the club, We’re great for expansion. They had a record crowd of 12,563 in Pittsburgh and they rallied to tie us and please the home fans. Here a sellout crowd of 14,646 was deliriously happy over the big win and they earned it. But it’s playing heck with my ulcer.”

So while he didn’t answer the question, there continue to be whispers that wily Maple Leafs mentor has some sort of plan to shake up his moribund club. He won’t travel back to Toronto with the team, but is rather heading for Tulsa and possibly Rochester to look at what aid the farm system might provide.

Meanwhile, Flyers general manager Bud Poile was thrilled with his club’s weekend success. On Saturday night the Flyers shocked the Chicago Black Hawks 5-3:

“I never dreamed we’d take Chicago and Leafs two night running before sellout crowds. That makes it two straight over the old master and his Leafs. You might say my cup runneth over. I’m afraid I’ll wake up and find it’s a dream.”

Flyers coach Keith Allen was almost too excited for words after the game:

“How does a guy explain it? We beat Toronto 2-1, then lost to Minnesota, Detroit and Los Angeles and tie Oakland in bad games. I was wondering if the bubble had burst. And they come up with this weekend for 29,292, largest weekend crowd to ever see back to back games in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a group effort, though I must give special credit to the line of Forbes Kennedy, Bill Sutherland and Claude Laforge. Before the Hawk game, I gave them the job of checking Stan Mikita and his Scooters. They not only contained the Scooters, but they scored three big goals. Mikita hit the scoresheet but on power plays only. With the sides even, Kennedy was all over him.”

Pocket Rocket to Quit?

Montreal Canadiens veteran centre Henri Richard says he may retire rather than accept a reduced role with the team. Richard recently returned to the lineup after another in a series of knee injuries but has only been used for one or two shifts a game by coach Toe Blake.

Richard has missed 17 of Montreal’s 49 games this season. He has scored five goals and added 12 assists for 17 points.

Montreal general manager Sam Pollock says Richard is going to take a few days away from the team to think about his future.

Quick Hits

  • The goal Bobby Hull scored last night against the Los Angeles Kings was his 36th of the season, by far tops in the NHL. Hawks won the game 5-3.

    Bobby Hull
  • Terry Sawchuk started in goal for the Kings but left with three minutes remaining in the second period when he was struck by a shot on the mask above his right eye and was unable to continue. Wayne Rutledge came in to play the final 23 minutes of the game.
  • John McKenzie scored three goals last night to lead the Bruins to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Boston Garden. McKenzie’s outburst ended a string of eight games without a goal for the right winger.
  • Jean-Paul Parise’s sixth goal of the season at 6:01 of the third period gave the Minnesota North Stars a 4-3 win over the Oakland Seals at Minneapolis. John Brenneman had a pair of markers for the Seals.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins centre Bob Dillabough is in Divine Provident Hospital in Pittsburgh after coughing up blood and complaining of chest pains before Saturday night’s game against Toronto. Doctors still aren’t completely sure what is wrong with Dillabough and will be performing more tests in the coming days. Dillabough just rejoined the Penguins after being recalled from Baltimore Clippers of the AHL.
  • Montreal Junior Canadiens whipped the London Nationals 7-2 in an Ontario Hockey Association Junior A Series game at the Forum in Montreal. Marc Tardif paced the Baby Habs attack with a pair of goals.
  • In another OHA Junior A game the Toronto Marlboros doubled the St, Catharines Black Hawks 4-2 in the Garden City. Doug Acomb, Richie Bayes, Gord Davies and Frank Hamill were the Toronto goal-getters. Skeeter Teal and Al McDonough replied for the Hawks.
  • Kitchener Rangers, who hold down first place in the OHA Junior A Series, knocked off second–place Niagara Falls 7-3 before 6,766 fans in Kitchener. Jim McRae led the Rangers with two goals. Walter Tkaczuk, Cam Crosby, Jarmo Lehtonen, Jack Egers and Ab Demarco added the others. Garry Swain fired a pair of goals for Niagara.
  • Rick MacLeish scored three times to lead the Peterborough Petes to a 7-3 drubbing of the Ottawa 67s.
  • Cleveland Barons held on to first place in the AHL Western Division with a 4-1 over the Bisons at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. The Glover brothers had a big night, with playing coach Fred notching two goals and Howie adding another. Wayne Schultz also scored for the Barons. Goalie Gerry Desjardins was brilliant between the pipes for Cleveland, making 27 saves.
  • Bob Barlow was the star for the Rochester Americans, scoring three times as the Amerks downed the Springfield Kings 6-2 at Rochester. Jim McKenny, Duke Harris and Red Armstrong had the other Rochester goals.



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