Game 431 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2

Game 431
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, November 29, 1961
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will meet again tonight in the Montréal Forum in an effort to disrupt the strange togetherness that envelops them at the top of the National Hockey League.

Last night in the Gardens, the teams skated vigorously in a 2-2 tie to preserve their first place deadlock.

The Leafs, who have two previous wins over the Canadiens in the Gardens this season, thus kept their home record inviolate for the schedule. They have eight wins and two ties in 10 appearances here.

Last night’s game had a few belligerent moments. Checking was nasty along the boards and in the corners. Montréal’s rambunctious defenceman Lou Fontinato and Ed Shack, the Leafs’ tantalizing right winger, feuded throughout the game although it was 19:37 of the third period before they were sent to the penalty box, with simultaneous penalties for high sticking.

Marcel Bonin and Fontinato were the Montréal scorers. Bobby Nevin and Bob Pulford scored for the Leafs, who twice had to fight from behind to earn the tie.

Bonin’s goal, his sixth of the season, gave the Canadiens the lead in the first period, but Nevin tied it early in the second, a period in which the Leafs dominated play by a wide margin. Fontinato restored Montréal’s lead in the third period, but Pulford again tied it for the Leafs.

Goalkeepers Jacques Plante of the Canadiens and Johnny Bower of the Leafs were exceptionally vigilant in blocking shots. Plante, who faced 37 shots, played one of his better games of the season and sometimes he was plain lucky.

In the second period, a shot fired by Leaf defenceman Carl Brewer from the left point beat the Montréal goalie, but the puck hit the goalpost and rolled away.

Another time, Plante went 30 feet out of his net in pursuit of the puck. Red Kelly of the Leafs lobbed the puck at the vacant net, but Montréal defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot got back in time to sweep it out.

But at other times, Plante was plainly brilliant in stopping shots by Pulford, Dave Keon, Kelly and Dick Duff.

Bonin’s goal was a cooperative effort with linemates Claude Provost and Henri Richard. Bonin trapped Provost’s pass in front of the Toronto net, scraped it with his skate, and then batted it past Bower.

Nevin tied the score, also with his sixth goal of the season. After missing a pass from Frank Mahovlich, he recovered the puck after Fontinato had thrown it into the corner and drove it in the short side.

Fontinato drove in a long, screened shot from the left point in the third period to restore the Canadiens lead, his second goal of the season.

But Shack, who also aroused the Leafs to a comeback in their last game against the Canadiens, revived them again. He bowlegged down the right wing, looped around Fontinato and threw the puck in front. Pulford barged in to drive it past Plante; it was Pulford’s eighth goal of the season.

Ron Stewart was a Leaf casualty. He suffered a pulled groin muscle and did not make the trip to Montréal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 30, 1961

1st Period

MTL GOAL – 10:41 – Bonin (Provost, Richard)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:20 – Nevin (Kelly, Mahovlich)
TOR PEN – 06:16 – Mahovlich, high sticking
MTL PEN – 09:11 – Johnson, holding
MTL PEN – 14:37 – Fontinato, tripping

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:46 – Fontinato (Bonin)
TOR GOAL – 11:01 – Pulford (Shack, Olmstead)
MTL PEN – 15:43 – Fontinato, cross checking
TOR PEN – 15:43 – Pulford, charging
MTL PEN – 19:37 – Fontinato, high sticking
TOR PEN – 19:37 – Shack, high sticking

TOR – Bower (T, 27-29)
MTL – Plante (T, 35-37)

TOR – 7+14+16 = 37
MTL – 10+8+11 = 29

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

TOR – 13-6-2 (.667)
MTL – 11-5-6 (.636)