Playoff Game 35 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 0

Playoff Game 35
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 0
Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4
Thursday, April 14, 1960
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens, who have not acquired the bad habit of losing playoff games, won their fifth successive Stanley Cup in the Gardens last night by blanking the outclassed Maple Leafs 4-0.

The Canadiens, in orbit as far as the other earthling National Hockey League teams are concerned, required just the minimum of eight games to prove their shinny supremacy again.

They defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in four games in the semifinal, and they disposed of the frustrated Leafs in the same number of games. It was only the second time in NHL history that a team has won the Stanley Cup in eight games; the Detroit Red Wings did it back in 1952.

Jean Béliveau, who played in this series with a painful groin injury, gave no indication that he was suffering from aches and pains. He scored two goals, the first and last, and missed at least a couple more by inches. Defenceman Doug Harvey and ectoplasmic centre Henri Richard scored the other Montréal goals.

Jacques Plante, the Canadiens’ masked goalkeeper, gave an acrobatic performance to cllect his first shutout of this particular series. But he blanked the Hawks twice in Chicago in the semifinal. Plante stopped 30 Toronto shots while Johnny Bower, the Leafs goalkeeper, turned back 28.

The Canadiens stuck to their customary modus operandi in this one. They raced into the lead with two goals in 28 seconds in the first period, and then concentrated on fouling up the Leafs’ futile offensive thrusts for the remainder of the game. In the four games of the series, the Leafs never led once.

A crowd of 13,327 saw the Leafs launch their most determined assault in the second period. The Canadiens not only blunted it, they scored the only goal, and the Leafs, despite a few flurries, never did recover from that disillusioning experience.

And the Leafs, who have been complaining bitterly about the fortunes of shinny in this series, again seemed to be victimized by some outrageous breaks. But, as the Canadiens’ victorious coach Toe Blake observed sympathetically: “C’est la guerre.”

The Leafs had three outstanding scoring opportunities in the second period. Plante foiled one with a magnificent sprawling stop, and the plumbing that holds the net together stopped the other two.

Frank Mahovlich broke through alone on Plante early in the second period, and hammered a savage shot at the Montréal net. But Plante dove into the shot, stopping the puck with his right arm. He had to retire to the dressing room for treatment after that stop.

Later, on a power play, Dick Duff, who was tip-toeing by the net, stabbed the puck past Plante. But the puck hit the right goal post and trickled to one side.

And still later, Leafs defenceman Carl Brewer darted in from left wing and drove another shot past Plante. But this time, the puck hit the crossbar and bounced away, and the Leafs’ hopes bounced away with it. They were never quite as ambitious again.

The Canadiens’ line of Béliveau, Bernie Geoffrion and Marcel Bonin was the dominant attacking unit in this game, but the Habs had a whole bench full of players who played with a superb poise and calm, despite the Leafs’ occasional fits of sabre rattling.

Henri Richard went on several of his patented, floating rushes, Don Marshall and Claude Provost excelled with their defensive tactics and Montréal’s defence, especially Tom Johnson and Harvey, protected Plante as if he were the Mogul Diamond. And he probably is – to the Canadiens.

The Canadiens, toiled early in the period when Bower made great stops on Béliveau and Geoffrion, broke in front at 8:17 of the first period. Béliveau fired from the blue line, and the puck slipped through a tangle of players in front of Bower and into the net.

Just 28 seconds later, the Canadiens scored again, and it was another screened shot from the right point – fired by Harvey. The puck seemed to sail through Bower’s pads.

Henri Richard scored the only goal of the second period, an artistic effort with brother Maurice and Dickie Moore. Moore threw the puck ahead from the Canadiens zone, Henri gathered it in and relayed to Maurice near the Leafs blue line on the right point. Then, Henri set course for the Leafs net and Maurice, who skated parallel to the Leafs blue line for several feet, threw the puck ahead. Henri, although being checked by Leafs defenceman Bobby Baun, trapped the pass near the left goal post and flipped the puck in the far side.

Béliveau wrapped up the scoring shortly after the third period, started on a bewildering passing play with linemate Bonin and Geoffrion. They traded passes back and forth in ping pong fashion before Béliveau, from about 12 feet out to Bower’s left, ended the cat and mouse game by cuffing the puck into the distant side of the net.

NOTES: Maurice Richard played with a painfully bruised toe and the old warrior thought before the game that he might have to watch from the bench…Ralph Backstrom and Bill Hicke, two of the most talented bench warmers in hockey, again saw little action…The Leafs ran into a flurry of penalties near the halfway mark of the first period. They had three players in the box simultaneously and they were two short for about two minutes, but they held off the Canadiens…Plante skated halfway to the blue line in the first period to claim a stray puck, and Leaf Bobby Pulford flattened him. Pulford was sentenced to a minor for elbowing…Canadiens defenceman Junior Langlois objected to a hooking penalty in the second period, and when he threw his stick on the ice, he had a misconduct added to his original sentence…George Armstrong of the Leafs was hurt in a collision with Harvey in the second period, but he returned after treatment at the bench. Maybe there was no connection, but earlier in the game Armstrong had felled Harvey with a hard check behind the Canadiens net.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 15, 1960

1st Period

MTL PEN – 03:28 – Moore, holding
MTL GOAL – 08:16 – Béliveau (Langlois, Geoffrion)
MTL GOAL – 08:45 – Harvey (Geoffrion, Langlois)
TOR PEN – 09:13 – Baun, elbowing
TOR PEN – 09:53 – Kelly, holding
TOR PEN – 10:47 – Pulford, holding
MTL PEN – 17:09 – Béliveau, charging

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:57 – Talbot, hooking
MTL PEN – 08:50 – Langlois, hooking + misconduct
TOR PEN – 12:44 – Pulford, hooking
MTL GOAL – 16:40 – H. Richard (M. Richard, Moore)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:21 – Béliveau (Bonin, Geoffrion)

MTL – Plante (W + SO, 30-30)
TOR – Bower (L, 28-32)

MTL – 15+6+11 = 32
TOR – 8+8+14 = 30

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, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (C).
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Garry Edmundson, Gerry Ehman, Billy Harris, Gerry James, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Larry Regan, Ron Stewart, Johnny Wilson.