Game 422 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Game 422
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, January 12, 1961
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens, invariably at their best when other teams get delusions of catching them, jolted the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-2, in a National Hockey League game here tonight.

A close-to-capacity crowd of 14,397, lured by the mathematical possibility that the Leafs could get a share of first place with a win, saw the Stanley Cup champions exhibit too much power and skating strength throughout the final two periods.

Bill Hicke scored two goals for the Canadiens with Jean-Guy Talbot, Dickie Moore, Bernie Geoffrion and Guy Gendron scoring the others. Dick Duff and Billy Harris were the scorers for Toronto. Two of the Montréal goals were on power plays. Of their 36 power play goals during the season, 12 have been on the Leafs.

This was the second time this season that the Canadiens have toppled the Leafs by this score. Tonight’s game was a costly one for Johnny Bower, the Leafs’ goalkeeper. He has had the best goals against average in the league for most of the season but, as a result of tonight’s game, he fell one goal behind the Chicago Black Hawks’ Glenn Hall.

The teams played at a fast, hard hitting clip for the first period, a bristling 20 minutes that saw an abundance of rough tactics. Referee Dalt McArthur conferred with both captains at the start of the second period and there was a noticeable decline in belligerence after that.

The Leafs were almost at full strength for this game, with only Bob Pulford missing from their regulars. But defenceman Carl Brewer aggravated his knee injury in the second period, and retired for the game. The Canadiens were without Doug Harvey and Bob Turner, but J.C. Tremblay, called up from Hull-Ottawa of the Eastern Pro League, played so capably that neither was missed.

The Canadiens checked and blocked so persistently that Charlie Hodge, the Canadiens’ goalkeeper, had only 19 shots to handle. But Jacques Plante, whom he succeeded 20 games back, must have been impressed. He volunteered after the game to play for the Montréal Royals, of the EHL, and the Canadiens accepted his request.

Hicke scored the game’s first goal early in the first period, while Leafs defenceman Tim Horton was serving a holding penalty. He dropped back from a pileup in front of the Toronto net, and threw the puck past Bower.

Duff tied the score in fewer than three minutes, his shot from behind the Montréal net deflected off Hodge’s skate, and the puck slid into the net.

Hicke scored his second 35 seconds later, and the Canadiens were on their way. He intercepted a pass in the Leafs zone, sped in from the right side, and scored. Brewer hurt his knee on this play.

Talbot made the score 3-1, flipping a high shot from the corner to Bower’s right. Bower juggled the puck before it dropped in the net. Then Moore scored his 27th of the season, a hard backhander which ricocheted in off Bower’s chest.

In the third period, Geoffrion, foiled by Bower on three earlier scoring tries, hammered in a slap shot from about 20 feet out. Gendron, also on a power play, scored the Canadiens’ sixth goal with a low drive. It was his fifth goal of the season, all scored on the Leafs.

Harris scooted down the left side to score the Leafs’ second goal with about two minutes left in the game.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 13, 1961

1st Period

MTL PEN – 03:31 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 03:31 – Hillman, high sticking
MTL PEN – 05:05 – Provost, holding
TOR PEN – 05:05 – Duff, holding
MTL PEN – 09:14 – Gendron, high sticking
TOR PEN – 09:14 – Shack, high sticking double minor
MTL PEN – 10:30 – G. Tremblay, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:21 – Horton, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 01:47 – Hicke (Béliveau, Geoffrion)
TOR GOAL – 04:09 – Duff (Harris, Stanley)
MTL GOAL – 04:44 – Hicke
MTL GOAL – 05:44 – Talbot (Moore, Bonin)
MTL PEN – 08:14 – J. Tremblay, tripping
MTL GOAL – 14:57 – Moore (Richard)
TOR PEN – 18:36 – team, too many men on the ice

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 09:08 – Geoffrion (Béliveau, Talbot)
TOR PEN – 13:38 – Horton, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 13:53 – Gendron (Geoffrion)
TOR GOAL – 17:54 – Harris (Stanley)

MTL – Hodge (W, 19-21)
TOR – Bower (L, 30-36)

MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge. Defence: Tom Johnson, Albert Langlois, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. 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.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Larry Regan, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 25-11-5 (.671)
TOR – 22-13-7 (.607)