Game 382 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Game 382
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, February 12, 1958
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens, callously uncharitable despite their surplus of points, thrashed the destitute Maple Leafs 5-2 before a derisive crowd of 13,605 in the Gardens last night.

They accomplished this chore in their usual skillful, nonchalant manner. Their power play ground out two goals before the game was four minutes old, and they added another before the period ended.

The Canadiens outscored the Leafs 2-1 in the second period, and the flailing Leafs scored the only goal of the final 20 minutes. But it was obvious that the Canadiens throttled back for the last half of the game, perhaps in the name of humanity.

The NHL’s midterm All Star centre, Henri Richard, scored two goals for the Canadiens, his 23rd and 24th of the season. And he has scored 10 of his goals on the Leafs.

Defenceman Tom Johnson, André Pronovost and Jean Béliveau were the other Montréal scorers. Richard’s linemate, Dickie Moore, who usually gorges on the Leafs, had to content himself with a mere assist in last night’s game. But he stayed in front of the individual scoring race – one point ahead of Richard.

Ron Stewart, the league’s top scoring defenceman, and Brian Cullen scored for the Leafs. It was number 13 of the season for Stewart, and Cullen’s 17th.

The Canadiens’ win raised their lead on the second place New York Rangers to 27 points. They need to win only four more games (they have 16 left) to clinch first place. And somehow, the impression is that they will do it – probably in the next four games.

The loss was another blow to the Leafs, whose modest ambition is merely to reach fourth place. They are three points behind that objective at present.

The game was won and lost in the first period. The Canadiens, as is their habit, took advantage of their breaks. The Leafs didn’t. And, with a 3-0 cushion, the Canadiens ran the show completely in the last two periods.

Left winger Frank Mahovlich might have activated the Leafs in the first period. He had two great scoring opportunities, but he didn’t click on either. The first time, with goalie Jacques Plante 10 feet out of his net, Mahovlich hesitated a second too long and his shot, heading for the open cage, deflected off a skate and sailed out of the rink. The Canadiens raced right back down the ice and Pronovost made it 3-0.

A couple of minutes later, Mahovlich bargeed down the left side, wheeled around Johnson, drew out Plante, but this time his shot caromed off the right post. At the other end of the rink, the Canadiens were much more successful.

The game was only 42 seconds old when Duff ran down Henri Richard, who didn’t have possession of the puck. So it was only appropriate that Richard should open the scoring while Duff was off. The Leafs claimed Richard knocked the puck out of the air with his stick. Stewart made a profane observation about linesman Matt Pavelich’s eyesight, and this criticism resulted in a 10 minute misconduct penalty from referee Red Storey.

Defenceman Bobby Baun joined Stewart in the penalty box 25 seconds later, for high sticking. Again, the Canadiens’ power play produced a goal. Johnson’s drive from the right point would have missed the net, but it ricocheted off Marc Réaume’s leg into the Leaf goal.

Pronovost sped down left wing for his goal, pulled away from Stewart and beat Ed Chadwick with a hard drive to the left side from about 20 feet out.

Béliveau launched a 35-foot bomb from left wing early in the second period, that tore past Chadwick and boomeranged out again. Stewart scored on the Leafs’ power play about two minutes later, flipping the puck over the fallen Plante from a pileup in front.

But Henri Richard got that back late in the period on one of his patented solos. He carefully drew out Chadwick before flipping the puck in the net. Brian Cullen hooped around the Montréal cage in the third period and rammed the puck in the open side before the sliding Plante could close the gap.

NOTES: Fans booed the Leafs mercilessly in the third period when they didn’t get a shot at Plante while Doug Harvey was off for hooking. For 90 seconds, the Leafs didn’t get beyond centre ice…Tod Sloan was the Leafs’ best workman, but he and linemates Duff and George Armstrong couldn’t finish off their plays…Ralph Backstrom, a junior from the Ottawa Canadiens, played capably in his first game with the Canadiens. He assisted on Béliveau’s goal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 13, 1958

1st Period

TOR PEN – 00:42 – Duff, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 01:33 – Richard (Béliveau, Moore)
TOR PEN – 01:33 – Stewart, misconduct
TOR PEN – 01:58 – Baun, high sticking
MTL GOAL – 03:59 – Johnson
MTL GOAL – 15:14 – Pronovost (Provost, Goyette)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:38 – Béliveau (Turner, Backstrom)
MTL PEN – 04:05 – Saint-Laurent, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 04:29 – Stewart (Sloan, Armstrong)
MTL PEN – 12:48 – Moore, trpping
MTL GOAL – 17:38 – Richard (Pronovost)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 01:54 – Duff, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:25 – Harvey, hooking
TOR GOAL – 15:47 – Br. Cullen (Ba. Cullen, Mahovlich)

MTL – Plante (W, 15-17)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 22-27)

MTL – 9+8+10 = 27
TOR – 6+6+5 = 17

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Floyd Curry, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Bobby Baun, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Marc Réaume. Forwards: Gary Aldcorn, George Armstrong (C), Barry Cullen, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Paul Masnick, Frank Mahovlich, Rudy Migay, Bob Pulford, Tod Sloan, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 36-12-6 (.722)
TOR – 18-25-10 (.434)