Game 408 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2

Game 408
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, February 4, 1960
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens lengthened their National Hockey League lead to 19 points with an emphatic 4-2 win over the second place Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

But despite strong superiority in play for most of the game, the Canadiens were unable to convince the stubborn Leafs until Henri Richard scored the Canadiens’ fourth goal with fewer than four minutes left in the game.

Prior to that, agile netminding by Leaf Johnny Bower, and the Canadiens’ habit of frequent passing instead of shooting, had kept the Stanley Cup champs from not building up a bigger lead. But the Canadiens still outshot the Leafs 44-22.

Jean Béliveau, Dickie Moore and Ralph Backstrom were the other scorers for the Canadiens, before a crowd of 14,954, the largest of the season in the Forum. Bert Olmstead and defenceman Bobby Baun scored for the Leafs.

This was the Leafs’ first loss in their last five games, but they retained their three point edge on the third place Detroit Red Wings, who conveniently dropped a 3-1 decision to the New York Rangers.

The Leafs had a habit of acquiring unnecessary penalties in this game, a habit that is usually fatal when playing the Canadiens, and this game was no different. The Leafs collected eight of the first 11 penalties imposed, and the Canadiens scored their first two goals on their power play.

Olmstead, with his 10th goal of the season, moved the Leafs into the lead in the first period, flinging a backhander past Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante from about 15 feet out on right wing.

While Leaf Tim Horton was off for hooking, Béliveau tied the score with his 32nd goal of the season. He pelted a shot from about 10 feet out with Marcel Bonin as a screen, and Bower had no opportunity to stop the shot. This was Béliveau’s 11th power play goal of the year.

The Leafs were shorthanded again in the second period when Moore, who used Maurice Richard as a decoy, tossed a 25-foot backhander past Bower. Then whirling Ralph Backstrom, on one of his infrequent appearances, scooted around the Toronto defence, pulled out Bower and flipped the puck into the open net.

In the third period, Baun hammered a shot from the right point and the puck skipped past Plante. The Leafs had several other scoring opportunities in the remaining minutes, but it was the Canadiens who scored at 16:32. Henri Richard, parked in front of the Toronto net, drilled in Moore’s pass from the backboards.

NOTES: Bower was injured early in the game when defenceman Allan Stanley and Maurice Richard rammed into him. The game was delayed for about 30 minutes while Bower had six stitches in a wound under his tongue…Backstrom and Leaf Gerry James had a brief bout behind the Leafs goal in the third period, and each player received double minors…Members of the Russian Selects hockey team, on their way home, were spectators at the game.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 5, 1960

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:26 – Duff, interference
TOR GOAL – 08:16 – Olmstead (Pulford, Horton)
MTL PEN – 10:38 – Moore, high sticking
TOR PEN – 10:38 – Brewer, high sticking
TOR PEN – 14:43 – Horton, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 14:48 – Béliveau (Harvey)
TOR PEN – 16:30 – Olmstead, holding
TOR PEN – 17:27 – James, slashing
MTL PEN – 17:27 – Johnson, high sticking
TOR PEN – 18:30 – Olmstead, misconduct
MTL PEN – 19:26 – H. Richard, cross checking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:21 – Mahovlich, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 02:01 – Moore (H. Richard, Geoffrion)
TOR PEN – 08:28 – Brewer, hooking
MTL GOAL – 12:58 – Backstrom (Marshall, Provost)
MTL PEN – 13:36 – Langlois, tripping
MTL PEN – 16:56 – Johnson, slashing

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 04:13 – Baun (Creighton)
MTL PEN – 05:39 – Provost, hooking
MTL PEN – 13:51 – Backstrom, high sticking / roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 13:51 – James, high sticking / roughing double minor
MTL GOAL – 16:32 – H. Richard (Moore, Langlois)

MTL – Plante (W, 20-22)
TOR – Bower (L, 40-44)

MTL – 19+13+12 = 44
TOR – 5+5+12 = 22

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Albert Langlois, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Don Marshall, Ab McDonald, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (C).
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dave Creighton, Dick Duff, Garry Edmundson, Gerry Ehman, Billy Harris, Gerry James, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart, Johnny Wilson.

MTL – 32-9-9 (.730)
TOR – 23-19-8 (.540)