Game 428 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 428
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, November 1, 1961
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Those fearsome stories that preceded the Montréal Canadiens into town about their brutal, overpowering strength were exposed as bald exaggerations in the Gardens last night.

The Maple Leafs, still seeking their proper level, didn’t have to accomplish any miracles to defeat the Canadiens 3-2 in a brisk game that bristled with hostility through the first two periods.

This was the Canadiens’ first loss in nine games. They had won seven and tied one in their first eight starts, and reports of those games conveyed the impression that the Canadiens were traveling exclusively in the jet stream.

But they were outskated and frequently outbumped by the Leafs in this game. The Canadiens, at times, looked lethargic, a condition that sometimes befalls a team that has spent several days on the road.

A crowd of 13,601 saw the Leafs win their fifth game of the National Hockey league season and move to within three points of the second place New York Rangers. The Canadiens are in first place, one point ahead of the Rangers.

Bob Pulford, Bob Nevin and Frank Mahovlich scored for the Leafs. Claude Provost, with his eighth goal of the season, and Marcel Bonin, scored for the Canadiens.

Mahovlich’s goal, his fourth goal of the season, was scored early in the third period and each of his goals has been a game winner. Evidently he intends to specialize this year.

Referee Frank Udvari called 16 penalties, and he could have called a great many more throughout the first 40 minutes. As usual, the penalties came out even, eight to each team, but Udvari made a slight error in his calculations. One of the Leaf penalties was a major to defenceman Tim Horton in the second period for high sticking Provost. Strangely enough, Provost remained on the ice to take part in the Canadiens power play.

And the Montréal power play, once so powerful that it seemed to cause the house lights to dim, was weak and uncertain. It was obvious that the Canadiens do require Jean Béliveau and Dickie Moore, despite reports to the contrary. It is suspected that these two players, each recovering from injuries, would make the power play click.

The Canadiens had numerous opportunities to score. The Leafs had two players short for one minute and 46 seconds in the first period, but they held out with a great defensive stand by goalie Johnny Bower, defencemen Al Arbour and Tim Horton.

Arbour distinguished himself again in the second period when Horton was banished for five minutes. His fearless blocking of shots, plus a couple of big saves by Bower, again thwarted the Canadiens.

Ed Shack, the Leafs’ gambolling right winger, incited several Canadiens, principally defenceman Lou Fontinato, who doesn’t require much inciting. Fontinato became so enraged at Shack in the second period that he forgot that play was in his own zone. He took out after Shack and the Leaf player did a cautious retreat to centre ice.

Fontinato was later accused of spearing Shack and he was sent to the penalty box for two minutes. Shack taunted him some more, until referee Udvari warned him to desist. Then Fontinato invited some critical customers to step down into the box and repeat that. His offer was not accepted.

Jacques Plante played an exceptionally capable game in the Canadien goal, repeatedly crouching to stop shots that seemed to have him beaten. He foiled Dave Keon on a breakaway in the third period.

Pulford gave the Leafs the lead halfway through the first period on a play set up by Shack. Shack galloped down the right side, swerved into the centre at the Montréal blueline, and threw the puck ahead. Pulford picked it up, shot and Plante kicked the puck out. But Pulford skated straight ahead, the puck hit his leg and bounced back into the net. The Canadiens complained that Pulford was in the crease.

The Canadiens tied the score in the second period. Provost broke in from left wing. His shot hit the back boards and Bower went out to try to field the puck, but it bounced back too far. Provost recovered it and tossed it into the vacant net. It was the 100th goal of his NHL career.

Nevin gave the Leafs the lead again about three minutes later. Defenceman Carl Brewer barged past Bernie Geoffrion on the boards near the Montréal blueline, and threw a pass to Nevin on the other side of the rink.

He cut in sharply from right wing and drove his shot in the far side of the net.

Mahovlich made it 3-1 for the Leafs early in the third period, hammering in Red Kelly’s rebound. Bonin scored with a hard shot from the right point at 11:55, but the Canadiens had only near misses after that.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 2, 1961

1st Period

MTL PEN – 00:35 – Fontinato, high sticking
TOR PEN – 00:35 – Horton, high sticking
MTL PEN – 06:35 – Geoffrion, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 09:21 – Pulford (Shack, Horton)
TOR PEN – 10:22 – Brewer, boarding
TOR PEN – 10:36 – MacMillan, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:54 – Fontinato, boarding
TOR PEN – 16:25 – Baun, holding
MTL PEN – 19:22 – Johnson, holding

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 00:56 – Rousseau, hooking
MTL PEN – 02:28 – Fontinato, spearing
TOR PEN – 05:19 – Pulford, boarding
MTL PP GOAL – 06:35 – Provost
TOR GOAL – 09:13 – Nevin (Brewer, Kelly)
TOR PEN – 09:57 – Horton, high sticking major

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:22 – Mahovlich (Kelly)
MTL PEN – 06:23 – Geoffrion, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:23 – Armstrong, slashing
TOR PEN – 08:31 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 09:00 – Talbot, holding
MTL GOAL – 11:55 – Bonin (Provost, Richard)

TOR – Bower (W, 24-26)
MTL – Plante (L, 30-33)

TOR – 13+12+8 = 33
MTL – 7+9+10 = 26

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Al Arbour, Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Arnie Brown, Tim Horton, Red Kelly. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, John MacMillan, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Tom Johnson, Al MacNeil, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Marcel Bonin, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 5-2-1 (.688)
MTL – 7-1-1 (.833)