Game 429 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Game 429
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, November 9, 1961
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Claude Provost continued his implausible scoring habits here tonight as the Canadiens improved their first place position with a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Provost, who built a reputation as a defensive specialist in six previous National Hockey League seasons, scored three goals, the first three goal effort of his career.

He now has 13 for the season in 12 games, a remarkable transformation for this hard shooting right winger. He scored only 11 goals in 49 games last season. His most productive year in the NHL was in 1957-58, when he scored 19 goals.

The Canadiens, who skated as though they had wings on their heels, completely dominated this game and only several unbelievable saves by Leaf goalkeeper Johnny Bower kept the score as low as it was. Bower, at times, seemed to be completely deserted as the darting, swerving and swooping Canadiens tore at him repeatedly.

The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 45-32, but the Leafs had 17 of those shots in the third period when the Canadiens mercifully relaxed their pressure. In the second period, when the Canadiens scored three goals, they outshot the Leafs 22-8 and Bower was lucky to escape without getting the bends.

Gilles Tremblay and Bill Hicke were the other scorers for the Canadiens. Red Kelly and Frank Mahovlich scored for the Leafs.

A crowd of 14,951, the largest of the season in the Forum, saw the teams swap goals in the first period, but the Canadiens made it a rout in the second period. Each team scored once in the final 20 minutes.

The Leafs, who might have been contemptuous of the Canadiens’ power play because they stopped it successfully in Toronto last week, didn’t have the same success tonight. The Canadiens scored two of their goals while a Toronto player was in the penalty box.

Provost scored his first goal on a power play. Parked in front of the net, he took a pass from Marcel Bonin and drove the puck past Bower from about six feet out. Kelly tied the score little more than a minute later, driving in a pass from George Armstrong.

In the second period, Gilles Tremblay, loitering outside the crease to Bower’s right, trapped a pass from Hicke and lifted the puck high over Bower. Provost scored his second, again on a power play, flinging in a short hander after taking a pass from Jean-Guy Talbot.

Hicke made it 4-1 after bobbing and weaving around the Leaf defence. His first shot hit Bobby Baun on the shins, but Hicke recovered the puck, whirled some more, and launched a screened backhander past Bower.

Provost, deprived of a goal by a magnificent save by Bower early in the third period, eventually scored his third about halfway through the period. Henri Richard dropped him a pass, Provost shot and hit defenceman Al Arbour, but he regained the puck and lobbed it in the left side of the net.

Mahovlich scored the Leafs’ final goal late in the period, flipping in Kelly’s rebound.

NOTES: The Leafs, in losing their last two games, have been scored on 11 times. They have scored twice…Dickie Moore, who was injured in Canadiens training camp, made a few appearances tonight, principally on the power play…Provost has scored at least one goal in the Canadiens’ last five games.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 10, 1961

1st Period

MTL PEN – 00:36 – Fontinato, high sticking
TOR PEN – 04:13 – Arbour, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 05:10 – Provost (Bonin, Talbot)
TOR GOAL – 06:35 – Kelly (Armstrong, Duff)
TOR PEN – 07:44 – Baun, charging
MTL PEN – 15:43 – Rousseau, hooking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:32 – Brewer, holding
MTL GOAL – 03:58 – G. Tremblay (Hicke, Goyette)
TOR PEN – 07:44 – Baun, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 07:50 – Provost (Talbot, Geoffrion)
MTL GOAL – 13:03 – Hicke (G. Tremblay, Goyette)
TOR PEN – 17:49 – Shack, charging

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:25 – Bonin, hooking
MTL GOAL – 10:48 – Provost (Richard, Johnson)
MTL PEN – 11:08 – Fontinato, interference
TOR GOAL – 16:33 – Mahovlich (Kelly, Nevin)

MTL – Plante (W, 30-32)
TOR – Bower (L, 40-45)

MTL – 12+22+11 = 45
TOR – 7+8+17 = 32

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, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Al Arbour, Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Red Kelly. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, John MacMillan, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 8-2-2 (.750)
TOR – 7-4-1 (.625)