Game 394 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 3

Game 394
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 3
Thursday, February 5, 1959
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A power play that was considered a liability for most of the National Hockey League season produced three goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs here tonight, as they jolted the first place Montréal Canadiens 6-3.

And, to make the humiliation for the Canadiens more complete, the Leafs scored their final goal while the Canadiens were executing their feared power play. Leaf Bobby Pulford was sitting in the penalty box at the time.

This was the fourth consecutive game for the Canadiens without a win, and their second loss in their last three games at home. To a Forum crowd of 13,896, that was tantamount almost to a tragedy.

For the last place Leafs, it was their first win in their last three games. Strangely enough, it was their third in a row over the Canadiens. They might be inclined to view the Stanley Cup champs as their cousins.

Frank Mahovlich and Dick Duff each scored two goals as the Leafs led all the way. Gerry Ehman and Tim Horton were the Leafs’ other scorers. Ian Cushenan, Ralph Backstrom and Dickie Moore scored for the Canadiens.

Larry Regan didn’t score for the Leafs, but he picked up a couple of assists, and he was one of the Leafs’ ablest on the attack, and he invariably emerged with the puck in those melees along the boards and in the corners.

It was an important win for the Leafs, in that they gained two points on Detroit and Boston, the two teams they have to beat out for a playoff spot.

Canadiens goalkeeper Jacques Plante had to retire after the first two periods. He started the game with a pulled groin muscle and apparently aggravated it. Claude Pronovost, goalie for the Montréal Royals of the QHL, played the third period. The Leafs scored their last two goals on him.

The Leafs opened the scoring in the first period, with five forwards on a power play. Mahovlich, who overshadowed some of Montréal’s superstars with his express-train rushes, scored the goal by sliding a slow shot under Plante’s pads as the goalie fell to the ice. Bert Olmstead had set up the goal with a pass from the corner.

Cushenan, who took a regular turn on the Canadiens’ defence, tied the score early in the second period, rapping in Bernie Geoffrion’s rebound.

But the Leafs came back with three in a row. Ehman cuffed Duff’s corner passout past Plante, Duff picked up a trailer pass from Mahovlich and flipped in his own rebound, and Horton boomed one past Plante from the right point. Ehman’s goal was scored when Cushenan was sitting out a penalty.

Mahovlich made it 5-1 for the gleeful Leafs in the third period, again on a power play. He tipped in Stanley’ shot. Backstrom came right back to score for the Canadiens on a similar play, deflecting Albert Langlois’ shot past Ed Chadwick.

The Canadiens power play backfired several minutes later, when Regan cleared the puck out of the Leafs zone. Duff picked it up, sped in and outshifted Pronovost before sliding the puck in the net. It was Duff’s 19th goal of the season.

Moore, who rarely misses an opportunity to score on the Leafs, broke through the Leafs defence and drew out Chadwick to end the scoring. It was his 27th goal of the season.

NOTES: Leafs manager-coach George Imlach shook up his lines. Mahovlich was back at left wing with Billy Harris at centre and Ehman on the other wing. Duff, Ehman, Harris, Mahovlich and Regan made up the Leafs power play. In the first period, Olmstead played on the power play instead of Ehman. For the third period, Imlach, although he had two opportunities, declined to use five forwards when he had a player advantage. He played it safe and used two defencemen…Regan played at centre between Duff and George Armstrong…Canadiens coach Toe Blake also experimented with several line changes.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 6, 1959

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:18 – Brewer, hooking
MTL PEN – 05:50 – Provost, charging
TOR PP GOAL – 06:29 – Mahovlich (Olmstead)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:05 – Cushenan (Geoffrion, Backstrom)
MTL PEN – 03:15 – Cushenan, tripping
TOR GOAL – 05:15 – Ehman (Duff)
TOR PEN – 06:20 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR GOAL – 08:50 – Duff (Mahovlich, Brewer)
TOR GOAL – 17:56 – Horton (Regan)

MTL PEN – 19:25 – Langlois, high sticking
TOR PEN – 19:25 – Brewer, high sticking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 07:40 – Cushenan, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 08:27 – Harris (Stanley, Mahovlich)
MTL GOAL – 08:43 – Backstrom (Langlois)
MTL PEN – 12:50 – Langlois, holding
TOR PEN – 15:17 – Pulford, tripping
TOR SH GOAL – 16:22 – Duff (Regan)
MTL PP GOAL – 16:49 – Moore (Richard)
TOR PEN – 18:31 – Brewer, roughing
MTL PEN – 18:31 – Turner, roughing

TOR – Chadwick (W, 32-35)
MTL – Plante (L, 20-24), C. Pronovost (8-10)

TOR – 8+16+10 = 34
MTL – 8+14+13 = 35

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

TOR – 17-24-9 (.430)
MTL – 26-12-12 (.640)