Game 398 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Game 398
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, March 11, 1959
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Jean Béliveau and Dickie Moore resumed their assault on National Hockey League scoring records in the Gardens last night as the ruthless, “Rocket”-less Montréal Canadiens demolished the Maple Leafs 6-2.

Béliveau bulged his goal production for the schedule to 39 by scoring two, and he assisted on a third goal. Moore, the league’s leading point-getter, scored one and assisted on two others.

The apathetic Leafs, awaiting the coroner in fifth place, were meek, passive and bewildered in this game. A crowd of 13,676, charitable most of the time, occasionally turned on volleys of boos during the Leafs’ more inept moments.

Manager-coach George Imlach was so enraged at his players that he ordered them out for a 9 a.m. practice today. Players who are late, he threatened, will be fined “$50 a second.”

Imlach, who still believes in statistics (and probably Santa Claus) was distressed because the Leafs ignominiously thrust aside a great opportunity to gain on fourth place. The New York Rangers, whom they meet twice this weekend, were beaten at home by the Chicago Black Hawks.

And the Leafs could follow the progress of the New York-Chicago game on the illuminated scoreboard in the Gardens. But it didn’t give them any inspiration and, with five games left, they trail fourth place and the Rangers by seven points.

Defencemen Jean-Guy Talbot and Tom Johnson, and right winger Claude Provost, were the other scorers for the relaxed Canadiens, who clinched first place last Saturday. George Armstrong and Dick Duff scored for the Leafs.

It was the misfortune of Ed Chadwick, benched by Imlach about 10 days ago, to make his return to the Leaf goal last night. He replaced Johnny Bower, who was missing with an ankle injury.

Chadwick was bombarded fiercely by the Canadiens. Sometimes he made superlative saves, two and three in a row, but no goalkeeper could have stopped the Canadiens in this game. At least not with the kind of support Chadwick received.

Moore and Béliveau are running one-two in the individual point race, Moore with 86 points and Béliveau with 82. The Rangers’ Andy Bathgate, who scored three goals last night, is next with 80 points.

Moore has surpassed his total of last season, when he won the NHL scoring title with 84 points, 36 goals and 48 assists. Now his next objective is to equal, or break, the NHL’s points record for a single season. The record is 95, set by Detroit’s Gordie Howe in 1952-53. Moore has five more games in which to collect nine points to tie Howe’s mark.

The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead in the first period last night, but the Leafs came back to tie the score before the first intermission. But the Canadiens, with precise passing plays and accurate shooting, ran in four goals in a row in the second period. Each team scored once in the final 20 minutes.

Talbot scored the first goal after Chadwick had kicked Henri Richard’s shot about 30 feet out in front of the Leafs goal. Nobody cleared, and Talbot charged in to slap the screened rebound into the Toronto net.

Armstrong tied it for the Leafs with some adept stickhandling around Talbot. When Plante moved, Armstrong flipped the puck in the space he vacated.

Béliveau dropped a pass which Moore picked up for the Canadiens’ second goal early in the second period. Moore took a few more strides and lashed the puck in the far side of the net. Béliveau rifled a low shot to the right corner from about 25 feet out for the Canadiens’ third goal. Two Leafs and one Canadien were in the penalty box at the time.

Johnson scored his goal on a long shot, and Provost wheeled, fired and hit the net, also from about 25 feet out, as the Canadiens subjected Chadwick to a merciless barrage.

Béliveau lashed in his second goal shortly after the third period started, after Marcel Bonin set him up with a pass in front of the Toronto goal. Duff scored his 23rd of the season for the Leafs about five minutes later, cashing a pass from Larry Regan.

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

1st Period

MTL PEN – 05:45 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:36 – Brewer, slashing
MTL GOAL – 07:02 – Talbot (Richard, Johnson)
MTL PEN – 13:45 – Bonin, hooking
TOR GOAL – 16:18 – Armstrong (Duff, Stanley)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:34 – Moore (Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 03:48 – Provost, holding
TOR PEN – 11:16 – Duff, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:16 – Cushenan, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:16 – Brewer, boarding
MTL PP GOAL – 11:58 – Béliveau (Harvey, Moore)
MTL GOAL – 12:18 – Johnson (Provost, Marshall)
MTL GOAL – 19:46 – Provost (Goyette)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:45 – Béliveau (Moore, Bonin)
MTL PEN – 02:52 – Richard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 02:52 – Baun, slashing
TOR GOAL – 05:34 – Duff (Regan)
MTL PEN – 16:45 – Cushenan, interference

MTL – Plante (W, 22-24)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 30-36)

MTL – 14+16+6 = 36
TOR – 8+6+10 = 24

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Ian Cushenan, 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), Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Gerry Ehman, Billy Harris, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Larry Regan, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 37-15-13 (.669)
TOR – 22-32-11 (.423)