Game 395 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Game 395
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, February 11, 1959
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Maple Leafs’ delusions of grandeur gave way to bleak reality in the Gardens last night, when the Montréal Canadiens, impersonating themselves at their best, demolished the Leafs 5-2.

And in the process, it was quite apparent that George Imlach, the Leafs’ manager-coach, even with his patented shock treatments, cannot adjust the Leafs to the aggressive mood they require to reach the National Hockey League playoffs.

The Leafs, now with 17 games left to play, are seven points behind the fourth-place New York Rangers. Imlach figures the Leafs need 22 points, or 11 wins, to reach the playoffs, and that looks like too big an assignment for them.

Jean Béliveau, who has disillusioned other teams before, did it again last night by scoring three goals, raising his total for the season to 20. Then, for variety, he incited a high sticking ruckus in the third period by crashing Leaf Dick Duff into the end boards.

The Leafs had been led to believe they might win this game. They had beaten the Canadiens in three successive games prior to last night. But their day dreams collapsed 54 seconds after the game started, when the Canadiens scored their first goal.

They added another two minutes later, and the crowd of 13,858 knew that here were the Stanley Cup champions flexing their muscles, and there could be no hope for another Leaf miracle.

Muscular Marcel Bonin, who always plays well for the champs when they pry him off the bench, scored their first goal. Béliveau followed with three more and Don Marshall, another Jack-of-all-trades, scored their fifth goal. Down 5-0, the Leafs came back to score twice, one by Bert Olmstead and the other by Barry Cullen.

Carl Brewer, the Leafs’ best defenceman and likely their best hockey player, set up both goals. This spirited fellow played both on defence and at centre, and he gave a spunky, thorough performance in both positions.

Béliveau, who took exception to an earlier ramming by Duff, cross checked the Toronto player into the end boards in the third period to turn a comparatively tranquil game into a forest of high sticks. At least it was tranquil by referee Eddie Powers’ standards. He called only two penalties in the first two periods.

Duff was pinned to the boards by another Montréal player, and he never saw Béliveau coming. The Toronto player fell to the ice in a dazed condition. Subsequently, he required five stitches to repair two wounds in his forehead.

George Armstrong and Marc Réaume charged at Béliveau with their sticks raised in the approved fashion. Réaume ploughed into Béliveau, but he was yanked away by Bob Turner. Then Turner and Réaume fenced in one high sticking duel, while Armstrong and Béliveau made like two musketeers in another.

Powers gave Béliveau a major for cross checking, a minor to Turner for high sticking, and a pair of minors to Réaume for charging and high sticking. Réaume and Turner tried to renew their bout in the penalty box, but policemen intervened. Réaume and Turner were banished from the game with misconducts.

Brewer was converted into a centreman at the start of the second period, after Bobby Pulford was rendered hors de combat by a misdirected move by his buddy, defenceman Bobby Baun. Baun, aiming at Marshall, smacked Pulford when the Montréal player evaporated and Pulford hit his head on the ice. He returned in the third period.

Brewer played at centre between Olmstead and Barry Cullen, and this makeshift line produced both goals. On both occasions, Brewer set up the goal with Olmstead and Cullen tipping his shots past Jacques Plante.

The Canadiens overwhelmed the Leafs in the first period, and the Leafs didn’t get a shot at Plante until 10:18, when Larry Regan drifted a low shot at him from right wing. The Canadiens were leading 2-0 by then.

Bonin took a pass from Dickie Moore for the Canadiens’ first goal. With a clever shift, he stepped around Leaf defenceman Tim Horton and slid the puck in the open side, with Ed Chadwick on the other post.

In the confusion after Baun felled Pulford accidentally, Béliveau picked his way through the wreckage and drilled a shot into the lower right hand corner for his first goal. Ten minutes later, he grabbed Ab McDonald’s rebound off the right post and swept the puck in the net with Chadwick flat on the ice.

Béliveau scored his third in the second period on a power play from close in, and several intruders parked in Chadwick’s crease. Marshall made it 5-0 by circling the Leafs’ net and scooping a weak backhander past Chadwick from about 10 feet out.

Olmstead scored for the Leafs by tipping in Brewer’s shot from the left point, and Barry Cullen scored on a similar play in the third period.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 12, 1959

1st Period

MTL GOAL – 00:54 – Bonin (Moore, Richard)
MTL GOAL – 02:53 – Béliveau (McDonald, Marshall)
MTL GOAL – 12:12 – Béliveau (McDonald, Marshall)
MTL PEN – 14:04 – Johnson, cross checking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:09 – Brewer, elbowing
MTL PP GOAL – 01:43 – Béliveau (Bonin, Moore)
MTL GOAL – 08:35 – Marshall (Béliveau, McDonald)
TOR GOAL – 17:10 – Olmstead (Brewer, Ba. Cullen)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 00:57 – Réaume, cross checking
MTL PEN – 03:30 – Backstrom, holding
MTL PEN – 04:52 – Harvey, tripping
TOR GOAL – 08:57 – Ba. Cullen (Brewer, Olmstead)
MTL PEN – 11:10 – McDonald, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:10 – Mahovlich, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:50 – Béliveau, cross checking major
TOR PEN – 11:50 – Réaume, high sticking / charging double minor + misconduct
MTL PEN – 11:50 – Turner, high sticking double minor + misconduct

MTL – Plante (W, 21-23)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 33-38)

MTL – 13+13+12 = 38
TOR – 9+7+7 = 23

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Albert Langlois, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Ab McDonald, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Noel Price, Marc Réaume, 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.

MTL – 28-13-12 (.642)
TOR – 18-26-9 (.425)