Game 383 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 383
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, February 27, 1958
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens relieved nervous tension in hockey hamlets from coast to coast here tonight by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in a calm National Hockey League game.

By winning, the Canadiens thus assured themselves of finishing in first place, regardless of what happens in remaining games. Tonight’s victory left them with a 23 point bulge on the second place New York Rangers, and the Rangers have only 11 more games to play.

The Canadiens clinched the top spot in their 60th game. This is not a new development for them. They did it two years ago – at an identical point in the schedule – sufficient reason for the league governors to impose a 60 game schedule on the Canadiens, and 70 on the other teams.

The Stanley Cup champions showed no particular elation as they skated off the ice after the game. They didn’t yell, raise their sticks, or ruffle anybody’s hair. It was just another night’s work done, and a quiet crowd of 14,485 treated it the same way.

Claude Provost, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall and Marcel Bonin scored the Montréal goals. Brian Cullen, back in action for the Leafs after a 10 day absence with the flu, scored their only goal.

The Canadiens scarcely needed any of their so-called superstars to win this game. Their third line of Provost, Goyette and André Pronovost functioned expertly, scored their first two goals, and kept the pressure on the Leafs every time they were on the ice.

Maurice Richard, the old pappy of the Canadiens, skated as strongly as ever in this game, but it was obvious his timing was off. He missed four close-in scoring opportunities by fanning on passes, certainly not ordinary behaviour for him.

Maurice started on a line with brother Henri and Dickie Moore, but early in the game he was shifted to a line with Jean Béliveau and Don Marshall. Bonin returned to a line with Moore and Henri Richard.

The game was marked by snappy goaltending at both ends of the rink. Ed Chadwick and Jacques Plante each played well. Chadwick had little opportunity to block any of the shots that beat him.

Provost opened the scoring early in the first period, whipping in a 20-foot backhander while using Goyette as a screen. Goyette made it 2-0 in the second period, banging in Provost’s rebound off a Leaf defenceman. The Leafs’ defence of Ron Stewart and Jim Morrison was backed in on Chadwick’s doorstep when Marshall flicked his shot into the net late in the period.

The Leafs scored their only goal at 2:22 of the third period while Canadiens defenceman Doug Harvey was off for tripping. Brian Cullen, foiled by Plante on one attempt, came right back a few seconds later and clicked this time.

But the Canadiens wiped it out in less than a minute on a monumental faux pas by Billy Harris. Trying to turn with the puck about 25 feet in front of his own net, Harris fell, and the puck squirted to Bonin, who had a clear path in to the Leafs’ goal.

NOTES: George Armstrong, Gerry James, Brian Cullen, Tim Horton and Frank Mahovlich in spurts played well for the Leafs. Horton was back on defence after a short sojourn up on the forward line in recent games…The first place finish guaranteed each Montréal player a bonus of $1,000…The Leafs received six of the nine penalties imposed by referee Eddie Powers…Right winger Kenny Girard, used sparingly by the Leafs in this game, set out afterwards for his latest team – Shawinigan Falls of the QHL.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 28, 1958

1st Period

MTL GOAL – 05:40 – Provost (Goyette, Pronovost)
TOR PEN – 08:15 – Harris, hooking
TOR PEN – 19:41 – Ba. Cullen, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 00:31 – Béliveau, tripping
TOR PEN – 09:21 – James, slashing
MTL GOAL – 13:08 – Goyette (Provost, Pronovost)
MTL GOAL – 18:25 – Marshall (M. Richard, Béliveau)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:25 – Harvey, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 02:22 – Br. Cullen (Pulford, Stewart)
MTL GOAL – 03:19 – Bonin
TOR PEN – 08:55 – Aldcorn, hooking
MTL PEN – 11:17 – Pronovost, tripping
TOR PEN – 13:50 – Baun, holding
TOR PEN – 17:01 – Stewart, holding

MTL – Plante (W, 29-30)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 31-35)

MTL – 7+13+15 = 35
TOR – 11+11+8 = 30

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

MTL – 38-13-9 (.708)
TOR – 19-29-10 (.414)