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Leafs Top Rangers with Assistance from Former Rangers

Feb. 23, 1964 - At Madison Square Garden tonight, a crowd of 15,538 chanted relentlessly “Muzz must go” as the strengthened Toronto Maple Leafs ground out a 4-3 victory over the altered New York Rangers. Somehow, after all these weeks of frustration, the Blueshirts seem to have lost their faithful in one weekend, in which the Ranger front office (general manager Muzz Patrick did the bargaining) gave Andy Bathgate (pictured right), one of the game’s true stars, and Don McKenney away for two non-scoring, checking forwards and three youngsters with maybe a future.

Even the fact that the Rangers caught even 3-3 midway in the last period didn’t seem to arouse the crowd the way it would have in the past. For the people still seemed to be looking for the Leafs to go ahead as they did the night before, 5-2, in Toronto. And, with just 28 seconds left, the Leafs made it two in a row over the weakened Rangers on Dave Keon’s goal. Ex-Ranger McKenney got the third Toronto goal and ex-Ranger Bathgate assisted on it. To be fair, ex-Leafs Bob Nevin and Dick Duff played well throughout, much better than they did last night in the Toronto rout.

The “Muzz must go” signs and yells appeared as soon as the Rangers took the ice. For a half hour before the game, a black-bedecked witch, sponsored by a Toronto radio station, marched up and down in front of the Eighth Avenue entrance, putting the hex on the Rangers. It was her first trip out of Toronto. The stunt hardly seemed necessary. There were just less than 10 minutes left when the Rangers’ lone strong scoring line got the equalizer. Phil Goyette made the goal from up close at the left side, on successive passes from Rod Gilbert and Camille Henry. But, with 28 seconds left, Keon applied the death blow.



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