Game 410 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 410
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, February 24, 1960
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

There was no doubt about it last night – the Maple Leafs CAN beat the Montréal Canadiens.

In one of their most effective outings of the National Hockey League season, the Leafs beat the oddsmakers too, in racing to a 3-1 decision. They ran up a 3-0 lead before André Pronovost spoiled netminder Johnny Bower’s fine bid for a shutout with little more than eight minutes remaining in a rough, fast game.

Before a roaring gathering of 14,649 in the Gardens, Ron Stewart, Bob Pulford and Allan Stanley counted for the Leafs. The first and last Toronto goals came off power plays with Montréal shorthanded through a penalty. Pulford, the best player on the ice, utilized his specialty of scoring while his team was below strength through a penalty.

In a game of some violence and threatened violence, there was a dispute too over what the Canadiens claimed was a goal. It happened midway through the first period, at a time the Leafs were leading 1-0.

The Canadiens’ talented Ralph Backstrom slapped at the puck in the Toronto goalmouth. Bower grabbed it with his hand. From the overhanging – and overcrowded – press box, it appeared that the puck carrying hand went over the goal line. In any event, that’s what the Canadiens claimed, although getting nowhere in their protests.

In the overcrowded press room between periods, there was no general agreement. Some habitues said that if Bower’s hand was over the goal line, it went there after the play stopping whistle had blown.

Goal or no, it’s a fact that the Leafs, in 10 previous games with the Habs, had absorbed eight losses against one win and a tie. The victory was a 1-0 triumph here last December 2.

Despite such a one-sided seasonal superiority, coach Toe Blake of the Canadiens was far from gracious over the loss.

He was sizzling over the no-goal ruling on Backstrom and he charged also that Stewart had kicked in Toronto’s opening goal.

“I’d like to see the game movies,” said Blake. “But Imlach (Toronto coach-manager Punch Imlach) wouldn’t allow that.”

The Leafs opened the goal getting in the game’s seventh minute when a shot by Tim Horton, from the side, deflected past masked goalie Jacques Plante off Stewart’s leg. Stewart was standing in front of the cage.

The Canadiens were engaged in a power play, with Red Kelly serving a holding penalty, when Pulford gummed up the works in the period’s closing minutes. In the Toronto end, a Montréal passout skipped over a Canadien stick and into the centre ice zone. Pulford picked it up on the fly and scored on a close-in backhander, with Doug Harvey attempting to steer him off.

It was the 22nd goal of the term for Pulford, the Leafs’ top scorer, and his seventh while his team was shorthanded. What’s more, accentuating his worth, he played just short of 26 minutes – more than any other forward.

Stanley, who led defencemen in ice time with 38 minutes, counted with 40 seconds to go in the middle period. He finished off a passing play behind and in front of the net that involved Bert Olmstead, Stewart and Kelly.

Kelly, who otherwise played strongly at centre, showed a face the colour of his hair on the Canadiens’ goal. He attempted a clearing pass in his own end, but the puck landed on the stick of Pronovost. There was a passing display before Pronovost finished it off with a backhander at 11:07 of the final period.

NOTES: The Leafs’ bossman, Conn Smythe, sat in after a Florida vacation…Leaf Gerry James wound up with a three stitch cut on his head after a brief fistic bout with Marcel Bonin. Bonin started swinging after the two collided. “I ducked when I saw a punch coming,” said James later. “You could hit me all day on the head and not hurt me.”…Howie Meeker, the former Leaf, watched the game. He’s here on a visit in connection with his sports goods business in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 25, 1960

1st Period

MTL PEN – 05:02 – Goyette, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 06:52 – Stewart (Horton, Mahovlich)
TOR PEN – 09:15 – Baun, holding
TOR PEN – 14:29 – Brewer, boarding
MTL PEN – 16:20 – Bonin, fighting major
TOR PEN – 16:20 – James, fighting major
TOR PEN – 17:01 – Kelly, holding
TOR SH GOAL – 18:50 – Pulford

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 07:23 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 09:39 – Johnson, broken stick
MTL PEN – 12:20 – Johnson, slashing
MTL PEN – 13:18 – Harvey, high sticking
TOR PEN – 13:18 – Kelly, high sticking
TOR PEN – 13:58 – Mahovlich, high sticking
MTL PEN – 18:21 – Provost, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 19:20 – Stanley (Olmstead, Stewart)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:16 – Mahovlich, tripping
MTL GOAL – 11:07 – Pronovost (Goyette, Talbot)
TOR PEN – 12:46 – Olmstead, holding
MTL PEN – 14:53 – Pronovost, high sticking major
TOR PEN – 16:37 – Brewer, tripping

TOR – Bower (W, 26-27)
MTL – Plante (L, 26-29)

TOR – 9+11+9 = 29
MTL – 7+8+12 = 27

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

TOR – 29-22-8 (.559)
MTL – 35-13-11 (.686)