Game 389 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 2

Game 389
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, December 4, 1958
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs, inspired by the fantastic goaltending of Johnny Bower, held the mighty Montréal Canadiens to a 2-2 tie in a National Hockey League game here tonight.

Rookie Ralph Backstrom scored twice for the Canadiens in the first period before Bower rang down the invisible curtain on Montréal’s high powered snipers.

Throughout the second and third periods, he drew roars of generous applause from the crowd of 13,738 for his remarkable saves. The Canadiens hammered 15 shots at him in each of the final two periods, but Bower, diving, sliding, grabbing and kicking, refused to let them score.

The Leafs, full of flight and hustle, tied the score in the second period on goals by Tim Horton and Frank Mahovlich. They were sorely pressed to hold off the Canadiens in the last 20 minutes but Bower, at times, did the chore all by himself.

Referee Red Storey called only three penalties in the first two periods, but he made up for it in the final. Leaf defenceman Carl Brewer and Don Marshall touched off a lively brawl, and they were soon joined by Henri Richard and Bob Pulford in a separate bout. Each received majors and Richard could have had a misconduct for jostling linesman Neil Armstrong.

Backstrom scored his first goal at 2:20 of the first period. It occurred during a Montréal line change. Maurice Richard fed the puck to Ab McDonald, he tossed it to Backstrom, and the fast stepping rookie swept the puck in the open side.

For his second goal, 11 minutes later, he grabbed a pass from Bernie Geoffrion at the Leafs blue line, cut in sharply from left wing, and banked the puck in the short side off Bower’s skate.

Horton, who played perhaps his best game of the season, started the Leafs on the way back early in the second period on a low slap shot from the right point, that hit the far corner as Jacques Plante kicked too late.

Mahovlich tied the score with a rather peculiar goal. Defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot was draped around him, but Mahovlich reached around the Montréal player and, with one hand, tapped a rolling puck past Plante.

NOTES: Billy Harris was an outstanding player on the offence for the Leafs. The entire team played sound, positional hockey…Geoffrion, he of the bullet shot, blasted seven of the Canadiens’ 37 shots on Bower. Dick Duff had six of the Leafs’ shots on Plante…Mahovlich jostled referee Storey in the second period, after Mahovlich had been high sticked in the Montréal zone. No penalty was called. Harris stepped in quickly to lead Mahovlich away from Stanley…George Armstrong returned to the Leafs lineup in this game, after being out for the past few weeks with a pulled groin muscle. He spelled Brian Cullen at centre on a few shifts.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 5, 1958

1st Period

MTL GOAL – 02:20 – Backstrom (McDonald, M. Richard)
MTL GOAL – 13:12 – Backstrom (Geoffrion, McDonald)
MTL PEN – 17:31 – M. Richard, holding

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:32 – Horton
TOR GOAL – 09:08 – Mahovlich
MTL PEN – 12:18 – Moore, holding
TOR PEN – 16:29 – Br. Cullen, tripping

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 00:26 – Olmstead, interference
TOR PEN – 06:42 – Armstrong, holding
TOR PEN – 08:17 – Brewer, fighting major
MTL PEN – 08:17 – Marshall, fighting major
TOR PEN – 08:17 – Pulford, fighting major
MTL PEN – 08:17 – H. Richard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 18:56 – Armstrong, charging
MTL PEN – 19:30 – Johnson, holding

MTL – Plante (T, 38-40)
TOR – Bower (T, 35-37)

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Marcel Bonin, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Ab McDonald, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (C).
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Marc Réaume, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dave Creighton, Barry Cullen, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 13-7-4 (.625)
TOR – 6-13-4 (.348)