Game 388 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 388
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, November 12, 1958
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens, after a brief slumming expedition into second place, returned to their own posh neighbourhood with a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs in the Gardens last night.

This was the Canadiens’ first win in their last three games, and it moved them back on top in the National Hockey League, one point ahead of the challenging Boston Bruins. And the Bruins have played one more game.

In executing their win over the last place Leafs, the Canadiens, although not as formidable as in their last visit here, convinced a crowd of 13,753 that they aren’t as decrepit, or as indifferent, as earlier tales had suggested.

Defenceman Tom Johnson, Jean Béliveau, Phil Goyette and Bernie Geoffrion scored the Canadiens’ goals. Two of them were on power plays, one department in which the Canadiens are as accomplished as ever – against the Leafs at any rate.

Wispy Billy Harris, the most ambitious performer on the lethargic Toronto team, scored their only goal halfway through the second period. The Leafs threatened to score at least two or three more goals, but posts, sticks, clocks and perhaps invisible objects got in their way.

Montréal goalkeeper Jacques Plante, who used to be allergic to Toronto, probably regards it as a convalescent home now. Plante, supposedly erratic in recent games, looked extremely uneasy last night, but the kindly Leafs didn’t disturb him too greatly. If they didn’t miss the net entirely, they shot directly into his pads most of the time. Plante had allowed only one goal in his two appearances in Maple Leaf Gardens this season.

Frank Mahovlich probably unnerved Plante with a few whirlwind rushes, but actually Jacques was as safe as if he was back home knitting in his melancholy rocker.

Mahovlich tied Doug Harvey into a knot with a bewildering double shift in the first period, but Harvey managed to reach back with his stick and deflect Mahovlich’s shot. The puck soared over the screen and hit a clock under the end blues.

Mahovlich was back pestering Plante on two more occasions before the period ended. Once he missed the net entirely, and still another shot was deflected into the seats by a defenceman.

Then there was Ron Stewart in the second period. Plante juggled his hot shot, dropped it, but the puck skimmed past the open side. And in the third period, Dick Duff hammered a shot that hit the crossbar. Plante ducked as the puck whizzed by and whizzed back out.

The Canadiens, of course, had their own near misses, but they aren’t as expert in this department as the Leafs. They haven’t had the practice.

The Stanley Cup champions outskated the Leafs most of the time, and they gave the Leafs quite a mauling along the boards. The Leafs, who tried to stickhandle, were often straight-armed to one side by the brawny Habitants.

The Canadiens scored their first and fourth goals on power plays. They required four seconds to click the first time they had an extra man, and 11 seconds for their final goal. Efficiency experts will probably investigate that discrepancy of seven seconds.

A hooking penalty to Leaf defenceman Tim Horton set up the Canadiens’ first goal. Four seconds after Horton was seated, Johnson trapped a faceoff pass from Henri Richard at the point and lashed a screen shot past Ed Chadwick.

Béliveau made it 2-0, picking up a pass from Geoffrion at centre and barging all the way in on left wing, before beating Chadwick on the short side with a hard shot.

Goyette scored the Canadiens’ third goal in the second period. But he was a victim of circumstances. André Pronovost slid a pass out of the corner, the puck hit Goyette’s skate, and arced into the net.

Harris finally scored one for the Leafs three minutes later, barely jabbing the puck across the goal line from a tangle at the side of the net. The Canadiens protested hotly that the puck did not enter the cage, but referee Red Storey ignored them.

Horton was off again late in the period, this time for holding, when Geoffrion slapped in Montréal’s fourth goal from the right point. He took his own rebound off a defenceman’s shins.

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

1st Period

TOR PEN – 10:28 – Horton, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 10:32 – Johnson (H. Richard)
MTL GOAL – 17:12 – Béliveau (Geoffrion)
MTL PEN – 18:19 – Moore, delay of game

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:10 – Goyette (Pronovost)
TOR GOAL – 10:39 – Harris (Duff, Aldcorn)
MTL PEN – 11:35 – Harvey, hooking
TOR PEN – 16:02 – Horton, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 16:13 – Geoffrion (Johnson)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:33 – Brewer, hooking
MTL PEN – 14:45 – Provost, hooking

MTL – Plante (W, 21-22)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 23-27)

MTL – 10+7+10 = 27
TOR – 8+9+5 = 22

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Ab McDonald, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (C).
TORGoaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Noel Price, Allan Stanley. Forwards: Gary Aldcorn, Dave Creighton, Barry Cullen, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Frank Mahovlich, Rudy Migay, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 8-4-2 (.643)
TOR – 5-8-0 (.385)