Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, November 15, 1961
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
The Toronto Maple Leafs scored two goals in 17 seconds early in the third period at Maple Leaf Gardens last night for a 3-2 win over the Montréal Canadiens in a vigorous National Hockey League tussle.
Right winger Ed Shack, skating in a all directions simultaneously, revived the Leafs at a time when it appeared that the fast moving Canadiens might be preparing to launch one of their patented blitzes.
Gilles Tremblay scored early in the third period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead, hardly a crushing blow in itself, but Tremblay scored while the Leafs were going through the strange motions of their power play, usually a demoralizing development. Don Marshall of the Canadiens was serving a tripping penalty and when the power play floundered, it seemed to be the beginning of the end to the 13,620 fans in the Gardens.
Shack went sun-fishing down right wing on one of those explosive rushes that immediately cause everybody in the building to ponder “what’s he going to do this time?”
Well, this time, he stormed directly at Jacques Plante, the Montréal goalie, and fired a shot. Plante dived to stop the puck and Shack fell with him. The puck squirted loose, and Bert Olmstead ambled in and had a whack at it. Then Bobby Pulford swung at the puck and it was deflected into the Montréal net by the prostrate Shack.
The Gardens crowd was still buzzing when Olmstead scored the winner, 17 seconds later. Defenceman Tim Horton detonated a slap shot from the point and Olmstead deflected the puck past Plante.
The Canadiens tried mightily for the remainder of the period to tie the score, but they were replulsed by close checking and by Johnny Bower’s vigilant goaltending.
Montréal went with four forwards and one defenceman for the final few minutes. They might have yanked Plante in the final minute, but they couldn’t get out of their own zone. The Leafs boarded them in with highly effective checking.
Bower discouraged the Canadiens with some remarkable stops, especially in the first period. He stopped 10 shots in that period and, under normal conditions, at least four of them would have been goals.
He made an outstanding stop on Claude Provost, and then dived to the opposite side of the net to smother Marcel Bonin’s attempt to drive in the rebound.
Later he made another implausible slide to block Provost again. The Montréal winger thought he had an abundance of time to flip the puck in the open side, but Bower closed the gap. Then the venerable Leafs goaler closed out the first period by grabbing one of Bernie Geoffrion’s line drives out of the air. It appeared to be screened all the way, but Bower caught it.
Plante was almost as efficient in the Montréal goal. The Canadiens had 27 shots on goal, the Leafs 26. But the shots fired at Bower had more variety and more velocity.
Dave Keon gave the Leafs the lead halfway through the first period, another goal that was set up by Horton’s bombing from the right point. This time, Keon deflected the puck into the left side of the net.
The Canadiens finally beat Bower in the second period. Geoffrion flipped in a backhander after Bower had sprawled to block a shot from Jean-Guy Talbot.
As a result of the win, the Leafs preserved their undefeated home record, and also moved back into second place, one point behind the Canadiens.
NOTES: Geoffrion thought he scored another goal in the second period. His shot hit the back boards and seemed to hit Bower’s skate on the way back. Bower pounced on the puck, but Montréal players insisted the puck went over the goal line…Red Kelly, though ailing from the flu, played a resourceful game for the Leafs…Ron Stewart and Johnny MacMillan did some useful work at penalty killing for the Leafs…Ralph Backstrom of the Canadiens injured his vulnerable knee twice, but stayed in the game.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 16, 1961
TOR PEN – 06:26 – Shack, charging
MTL PEN – 07:07 – Johnson, elbowing
TOR GOAL – 09:11 – Keon (Horton, Arbour)
MTL PEN – 12:32 – Fontinato, kneeing
TOR PEN – 18:37 – Arbour, interference
TOR PEN – 03:40 – Olmstead, tripping
MTL PEN – 05:02 – Talbot, interference
TOR PEN – 05:46 – Horton, interference
MTL GOAL – 07:49 – Geoffrion (Talbot, MacNeil)
MTL PEN – 02:04 – Marshall, tripping
MTL SH GOAL – 02:57 – G. Tremblay (Rousseau, Fontinato)
TOR GOAL – 06:40 – Shack (Pulford, Olmstead)
TOR GOAL – 06:57 – Olmstead (Horton, Pulford)
TOR – Bower (W, 27-29)
MTL – Plante (L, 23-26)
TOR – Goaltenders: 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 – Goaltenders: 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.
TOR – 9-5-1 (.633)
MTL – 9-4-2 (.667)