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Canadiens Dominate Rangers at MSG, 8-2

Feb. 8, 1964 - Within the span of four days, the New York Rangers and their rabid faithful have run the gamut from delight to despair. They reached the doldrums today at Madison Square Garden when the fifth successive sellout crowd there — 15,925 — watched the Montreal Canadiens win, 8-2.

Just last Wednesday, the Rangers were in fourth place and apparently streaking toward a playoff berth. Since then, they lost twice to the horrid Bruins before taking it on the chin from Montreal. With the Red Wings winning Boston today, that puts Detroit up three big points in fourth place with a game in hand. And the Wings go back home, where tomorrow night they will be happy to welcome the stumbling Rangers.

It is evident why Gump Worsley can’t get his job back as Montreal’s goalie. This little Charlie Hodge is too good. He made 14 stops in the first 20 minutes, and very few were ordinary ones. Only once was he lucky, when a blue line-to-blue line pass by Andy Bathgate (left with coach Punch Imlach and Don McKenney) sent Camille Henry in all alone. Henry beat Hodge all right, but he banged his shot off a goalpost.

While all the Canadiens seemed to take great pleasure in piling up the score against their old mate, Jacques Plante, it was an ex-Ranger who did the most damage. Dave Balon, an 11-goal scorer with New York last season, got Nos. 20 and 21 today.

New York appeared dead from the moment it came back onto the ice for the middle period, trailing 2-1. It seemed only a matter of time before the flying Habs would bury them. Plante had already made a number of brilliant saves in the session when Balon scored his first goal on a Montreal power play.

Gilles Tremblay, Billy Hicke, and Henri Richard also tallied in those middle 20 minutes, and Balon and Gordie Berenson had more Montreal tallies in the finale before the Rangers finally broke loose. Don McKenney took Andy Bathgate’s pass up close and beat Hodge with no apparent effort. But it was far too little, far too late.

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