Game 397 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 397
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, March 5, 1959
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens moved to within one point of winning their second successive National Hockey League championship, when they edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in a listless game here tonight.

The Canadiens, who have nine more games to play, can wrap up first place with a tie – regardless of what the second place Chicago Black Hawks do in their remaining nine games.

A crowd of 14,501 watched quietly throughout most of this dull tussle, when all the scoring was confined to the second period. Both teams had occasional flurries of offensive action, but most of the time it was methodical, close checking shinny.

The league’s leading scorer, Dickie Moore, an old Leaf destroyer, scored the winning goal again tonight, his 34th of the season. Earlier, Claude Provost had given the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. Dick Duff broke a three weeks’ personal scoring famine to score the Leafs’ only goal late in the second period. It was Duff’s 22nd goal of the season.

So, with eight games left to play, the Leafs are five points out of the promised land of fourth place, the lowest spot to qualify for the NHL playoffs. And they have a home-and-home series with the Boston Bruins this weekend.

The Leafs might have won this game had they played more energetically. But they were strangely lackadaisical at times for a team that needs every point it can win, or steal, to reach the playoffs.

The Canadiens were without ailing idols like Maurice Richard, Henri Richard and Bernie Geoffrion, and they played as though in mourning. But it was still good enough to win.

Provost scored the first goal early in the second period, hammering in a back-pass from Phil Goyette after the Leafs had missed two opportunities to clear the puck out of their zone.

Then Moore made it 2-0 ten minutes later, rapping a pass from Marcel Bonin into the open corner from about 15 feet out. Leafs goalkeeper Johnny Bower, who played remarkably well all the way, had no opportunity to stop either shot.

Duff scored his goal 26 seconds before the end of the period. He picked up the puck behind the Montréal goal where George Armstrong had slid it, looped around quickly and rammed the puck in the open side before Jacques Plante could slide across to cover.

NOTES: Armstrong and Bonin had a brief scuffle in the second period, and each received major penalties…The Leafs were two players short for almost two minutes in the first period, but they prevented the Canadiens form scoring. Bower made great saves on Moore and Jean Béliveau in that siege, and those players also hit the post on other occasions…Bob Turner, the Montréal defenceman, had a breakaway in the second period, but Bower turned his shot aside…Bower was removed for the final minute of play, but the Leafs’ six man attack didn’t click.

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

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:17 – Olmstead, roughing + misconduct
MTL PEN – 07:41 – Béliveau, hooking
MTL PEN – 11:15 – Harvey, tripping
TOR PEN – 13:54 – Baun, holding
TOR PEN – 13:58 – Stewart, tripping
MTL PEN – 18:28 – Talbot, hooking
TOR PEN – 19:28 – Brewer, holding

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:53 – Bonin, hooking
MTL GOAL – 05:47 – Provost (Goyette)
TOR PEN – 06:29 – Aldcorn, tripping
TOR PEN – 07:58 – Armstrong, fighting major
MTL PEN – 07:58 – Bonin, fighting major
MTL PEN – 10:57 – Backstrom, hooking
MTL GOAL – 15:12 – Moore (Bonin, Béliveau)
TOR GOAL – 19:34 – Duff (Armstrong, Horton)

3rd Period

MTL – Plante (W, 17-18)
TOR – Bower (L, 34-36)

MTL – 10+14+12 = 36
TOR – 7+6+5 = 18

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.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Noel Price, Marc Réaume, Allan Stanley. Forwards: Gary Aldcorn, George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Gerry Ehman, Billy Harris, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Larry Regan, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 34-15-12 (.656)
TOR – 21-30-11 (.427)