Game 384 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3

Game 384
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, March 12, 1958
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Maurice Richard, who has lost none of his flair for the dramatic, produced two goals in the Gardens last night, as the merciless Montréal Canadiens rapped the Maple Leafs 5-3 in a brash, boisterous NHL game.

The word “produced” is used advisedly. Other players score goals, the 36 year old Richard produces them. His two last night were almost identical, soaring backhanders that tore into the far side of the net.

This was Richard’s first appearance in the Gardens since his Achilles tendon was partially severed there in a game back on November 13. And the goals, his 14th and 15th of the season, were the first he has scored since he made his colourful comeback in Montréal three weeks ago, when he also scored two.

He was the familiar, exciting, rabble-rousing Richard of old last night, provoking bursts of acclaim from the crowd of 13,343 almost every time he stepped on the ice.

André Pronovost, Jean Béliveau and Henri Richard were the Canadiens’ other scorers in a game in which the Stanley Cup champions showed great superiority any time they felt impelled to turn it on. George Armstrong, Gerry James and Gary Aldcorn scored for the Leafs.

James, a torpedo of energy for the Leafs, aroused Maurice’s ire in the first period after James had felled Henri Richard with a rib-rattling bodycheck. Maurice rushed to his brother’s assistance and wound up with a two stitch cut on the side of his head, plus a penalty for charging for his solicitude.

There are conflicting versions as to what caused Maurice’s head wound. One is that James inflicted it with a cross check. Referee Frank Udvari apparently thought so because he gave James a major penalty for cross checking.

Maurice said he was hit by a stick, but he couldn’t identify its owner. He said it might have been wielded by Canadiens defenceman Tom Johnson, who was also in the vicinity. And Leafs defenceman Ron Stewart, who was there too, was also cut for two stitches. He didn’t know who did it.

The elder Richard didn’t waste time trying to find the culprit. He skated immediately to the Gardens hospital, shaking his head in bewilderment as he left the ice.

Dickie Moore, the league’s leading scorer, picked up three assists in the game, and it would appear that a fractured left wrist isn’t going to handicap him in his drive for the scoring title.

The Leafs, although greatly outplayed in the third period, managed to score two goals, and suddenly they trailed only 4-3. That lasted for only 23 seconds. Henri Richard, unaffected by James’ bump, broke away to rifle the Canadiens’ fifth goal past Chadwick.

This was merely a prestige win for the Canadiens, who already have first place wrapped up. But the loss virtually extinguished the Leafs’ vaporous hopes of reaching the playoffs. If they lose two more games in their remaining six, they will be snuffed out completely.

Maurice scored his first goal early in the first period on a direct pass from Moore. From a peculiar angle, he whipped a rising backhander into the far side of the cage. Two Leafs, Bobby Baun and Armstrong, were wrestling with Henri Richard at the time.

Armstrong tied the score three minutes later, rattling a low shot off the right post. The puck glanced behind goalie Jacques Plante.

Mighty Maurice duplicated his scoring thrust in the second period, again flinging a backhander past Chadwick and from almost the same angle.

Pronovost, uncovered in front of the Leafs goal, slapped in Claude Provost’s pass early in the third period. Then Béliveau, handling the puck like a yo-yo, bounded around the Leafs defence and made it 4-1.

James came back to score his goal, rounding Johnson and pelting a low shot into the short side. Johnson was also the victim on Aldcorn’s goal. Aldcorn tossed the puck from behind the net, but it hit Johnson’s skate and ricocheted in the goal.

After that score the Leafs trailed by only one goal, but their comeback hopes were cancelled in a few seconds when Henri Richard picked up his brother’s pass and went soaring down the ice on a breakaway.

NOTES: Leaf Bobby Pulford and the Canadiens’ Marcel Bonin each suffered pulled groins in this game…James aroused some sections of the crowd with his uninhibited bumping, but there were no complaints from the Leaf bench…Henri Richard had another breakaway in the third period, but he lost control of the puck…The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 38-29, including a 20-9 bulge in the third period…NHL president Clarence Campbell was a spectator at the game.

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

1st Period

MTL PEN – 01:00 – Olmstead, tripping
MTL GOAL – 03:47 – M. Richard (Moore, H. Richard)
TOR PEN – 04:10 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR GOAL – 06:57 – Armstrong (Horton, Duff)
MTL PEN – 09:54 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 14:03 – James, cross checking major
MTL PEN – 14:03 – M. Richard, charging
TOR PEN – 17:43 – Armstrong, high sticking
MTL PEN – 17:43 – Bonin, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:18 – Pronovost, hooking
TOR PEN – 10:49 – Harris, holding
MTL GOAL – 18:09 – M. Richard (Moore)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:27 – Pronovost (Goyette, Provost)
MTL GOAL – 05:00 – Béliveau (Saint-Laurent)
TOR GOAL – 08:41 – James
MTL PEN – 08:59 – Pronovost, hooking
TOR GOAL – 12:12 – Aldcorn (Horton, Baun)
MTL GOAL – 12:35 – H. Richard (M. Richard, Moore)

TOR PEN – 14:38 – James, boarding
TOR PEN – 19:30 – James, high sticking

MTL – Plante (W, 26-29)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 33-38)

MTL – 7+11+20 = 38
TOR – 9+11+9 = 29

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, Bert Olmstead, 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, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Gerry James, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, Tod Sloan, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 40-14-10 (.703)
TOR – 21-32-11 (.414)