Game 393 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 393
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, January 21, 1959
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Maybe they aren’t discouraged, but the Maple Leafs must be almost convinced that escaping from last place in the National Hockey League is about as easy as escaping Devil’s Island in a leaky rowboat.

Inspired by the superb goaltending of Ed Chadwick, the Leafs produced one of their finest games of the season in the Gardens last night to defeat the Montréal Canadiens 3-1. But, after all the tumult and shouting had faded, the Canadiens were still in first place – the Leafs last.

The Leafs had been led to expect that a win would move them into fifth place. They were only one point behind the Detroit Red Wings, who were playing in Chicago. Result? The Wings won their first game in 15 starts to remain one point ahead of the Leafs.

But the win shunted the Leafs to two points behind the fourth place Boston Bruins. They have played one less game than the Bruins, and they also happen to meet the Bruins in the Gardens Saturday.

The biggest crowd to see a game in the Gardens this season, 14,107, saw the incredible spectacle of the Leafs outplaying, outbumping and outmanoeuvring the mighty Stanley Cup champions a great deal of the time.

Bert Olmstead, Billy Harris and Dick Duff were the Toronto scorers, as the Leafs set a goal-a-period clip. All star defenceman Tom Johnson scored the Canadiens’ only goal in the third period, a long, screened shot while the Leafs had two players in the penalty box.

That was the only shot of 34 fired by the Canadiens that eluded Chadwick. The Canadiens, particularly power shooters like Jean Béliveau and Bernie Geoffrion, blasted him repeatedly, but Chadwick had all the answers.

This was only the Canadiens’ third loss in their last 24 games. And, coincidentally, their last defeat was also in the Gardens back on New Year’s Eve, when the Leafs blanked them 2-0. They went eight games without a deat after that, until the Leafs cooled them out again last night.

With Maurice Richard and Ralph Backstrom missing with injuries, the Canadiens received more bad news when centre Phil Goyette left the game in the first period with torn rib cartilages. He may be out for at least two weeks.

Goyette had intentions of ramming Leaf Carl Brewer into the end boards, but the Leaf rookie defenceman anticipated the charge, hurled into Goyette, and the Montréal player was knocked to the ice in a semiconscious condition. He revived after treatment.

The Leafs, who skated and checked with unaccustomed fervor, got the most of their offensive sparkle from the line of Harris, Duff and George Armstrong. Bob Pulford, who centred another line, and an alert defence corps were also prominent.

Olmstead sent the Leafs ahead in the first period, moving in fast to cuff Ron Stewart’s pass past Jacques Plante. Stewart took the puck from Johnson, tossed it back, and Olmstead slapped in a 25-footer.

Harris, the ectoplasmic centre, made it 2-0 in the second period, but it wasn;t on one of his disappearing rushes. Duff shoveled the puck from behind the Montréal net and Harris, being wooed earnestly by Doug Harvey, managed to nudge the puck into the net with the handle of his stick.

Leafs Bob Baun and Armstrong were sitting out penalties when Johnson launched in a screen shot from the left point for the Canadiens’ only goal in the third period.

Duff deftly recovered that one for the Leafs six minutes later. Montréal defenceman Guy Talbot was serving his fourth penalty when Duff darted in to snare his own rebound, reconnoitred carefully and flung a backhander over the fallen Plante.

NOTES: Geoffrion, in an explicable scoring slump, was a major threat for the Canadiens. But Chadwick disillusioned him…Béliveau did more bumping than is his wont in the first period, but he wasn’t as testy in the last two periods…Pulford played most of the game with a sprained wrist, but there wasn’t a more determined player on the ice…The Leafs had only four shots on goal in the first period. They had five on ONE power play in the second…Pulford and Béliveau had a scuffle along the boards late in the first period, and several other players elbowed in. But when justice was meted out, referee Lou Farelli sent only Baun and Ab McDonald to the penalty box for “roughing”…The crowd was not only the biggest of the season – it was also the noisiest.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 22, 1959

1st Period

MTL PEN – 01:42 – Béliveau, charging
TOR PEN – 04:29 – Mahovlich, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 08:45 – Olmstead (Stewart)
TOR PEN – 18:38 – Baun, roughing
MTL PEN – 18:38 – McDonald, roughing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:17 – Harris (Duff, Baun)
MTL PEN – 03:59 – Talbot, cross checking
TOR PEN – 03:59 – Ehman, slashing
TOR PEN – 05:00 – Stanley, high sticking
MTL PEN – 07:18 – Talbot, holding
MTL PEN – 11:09 – Talbot, elbowing

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:15 – Baun, delay of game
TOR PEN – 07:36 – Armstrong, holding
MTL PP2 GOAL – 07:50 – Johnson (Geoffrion, Moore)
MTL PEN – 13:43 – Talbot, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 14:00 – Duff (Harris)

TOR – Chadwick (W, 33-34)
MTL – Plante (L, 31-34)

TORGoaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Barry Cullen, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Gerry Ehman, Billy Harris, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Larry Regan, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Ian Cushenan, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Albert Langlois, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Ab McDonald, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard.

TOR – 15-21-9 (.433)
MTL – 24-10-10 (.659)