Game 420 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 420
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Thursday, December 15, 1960
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs, a determined collection of invalids, scored two goals in less than a minute in the third period here tonight to earn an unexpected 4-2 win over the stunned Montréal Canadiens.

The Canadiens, who had won their previous eight National Hockey League games, couldn’t match the skating pace set by the Leafs in the final period, despite the fact that the Leafs were minus five of their regulars.

The Canadiens scored their two goals in the first period, and a crowd of 14,385 got the impression that it would be one of those typical Leafs-Canadiens games in the Forum with the Canadiens winning, of course.

But the Leafs scored one goal in the second period, and went ahead with two goals in 58 seconds in the third period. Then Frank Mahovlich, the league’s leading goal scorer, made victory certain for the Leafs when he scored into an empty net with 25 seconds left in the game. The Canadiens had removed goalkeeper Charlie Hodge with 33 seconds left. The loss, incidentally, was the first for Hodge since he replaced Jacques Plante in the Canadiens goal nine games back.

Bobby Pulford, Billy Harris and Bobby Nevin were the Leafs’ other scorers. Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore scored for the Canadiens. Geoffrion’s goal was on a power play, the Canadiens’ 29th power play goal of the season.

This was the Leafs’ first win Montréal since the final game of the schedule last season. They were defeated in three previous games here this year.

The return of Allan Stanley strengthened the Leafs defence, and Johnny Bower played another superlative game in the Toronto goal. This elderly gentleman had to handle 39 shots, and only two eluded him.

Mahovlich, despite some close shadowing by Moore, was a frequent threat for the Leafs with his vigorous rushing. He bounced one shot off a post and he set up several other plays that should have produced goals. But his buddies didn’t convert his passes.

Geoffrion opened the scoring while Pulford was sitting out a penalty, the Leafs’ only penalty of the game. Bower kicked out a shot fired by Marcel Bonin but Geoffrion swept in the rebound.

Moore made it 2-0 with his 25th goal of the season. He skated directly in front of Bower, Guy Talbot fired the puck from the blue line, and it glanced off Moore into the net.

Late in the second period Ed Shack, another ambitious performer for the Leafs, hammered a shot that rebounded off a post. Pulford shoved the rebound behind Hodge.

Harris, with his first goal of the season, started the Leafs on their way back in the third period. Johnny MacMillan, on recall from Rochester, looped around the Montréal net, threw the puck in front, and Harris banged it in the open side.

The Canadiens’ frantic efforts to keep Mahovlich in check set up the tying goal scored by Nevin. Mahovlich, Canadiens defencemen Doug Harvey and Junior Langlois and Hodge were all lying in front of the Montréal net when Nevin stepped in and flipped the puck over this writhing mass into the net. Harvey and Langlois had pulled Mahovlich down.

Then with Hodge out of his net, the Canadiens sent six players into the Leafs end for a faceoff. Geoffrion fired a shot from the right point, the puck hit Tim Horton’s shins and bounced into the centre ice area, with Mahovlich in pursuit. He pulled away from Moore and shot the puck into the empty Montréal net.

NOTES: George Imlach, the Leafs’ manager coach, huddled with NHL President Clarence Campbell here today. Imlach was called on the carpet for critical remarks he made about officials in the Leafs’ last game here. Campbell said he would issue a statement about his session with Imlach in a day or two. Imlach said “no comment”…The Leafs’ victory, their third in a row, moved them to within five points of the leading Canadiens.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 16, 1960

1st Period

MTL PEN – 05:16 – Langlois, holding
MTL PEN – 06:37 – Harvey, holding
TOR PEN – 10:28 – Pulford, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 12:10 – Geoffrion (Bonin, Moore)
MTL GOAL – 16:46 – Moore (Talbot, Richard)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 17:45 – Pulford (Shack, Olmstead)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 13:18 – Harris (Keon, MacMillan)
TOR GOAL – 14:16 – Nevin (Mahovlich)
TOR EN GOAL – 19:35 – Mahovlich (Horton)

TOR – Bower (W, 37-39)
MTL – Hodge (L, 27-30)

TOR – 8+9+14 = 31
MTL – 12+12+15 = 39

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: Garry Edmundson, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, John MacMillan, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack.
MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge. Defence: Doug Harvey (C), Tom Johnson, Albert Langlois, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau, Marcel Bonin, Jean-Guy Gendron, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 15-10-5 (.583)
MTL – 18-8-4 (.667)