Game 434 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 434
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, January 3, 1962
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Dave Keon, a non practicing centreman, scored two goals but missed on a penalty shot as the Maple Leafs defeated the Montréal Canadiens 3-1 in a sedate National Hockey League game at the Gardens last night.

Johnny Bower, the Leafs’ venerable goalkeeper, had almost decided that he had collected his third shutout of the season but, with 11 seconds left in the game, Marcel Bonin thrust in a rebound for the Canadiens’ only goal.

The Leafs, in preserving an impressive home record, moved to within two points of the leading Canadiens as a result of the win. The Leafs also have two games in hand.

If last night’s game was a harbinger of what is to come, it will only be a matter of time until the Leafs get out in front. Only goalkeeper Jacques Plante, a nimble magician, kept the once formidable Canadiens from taking a worse beating. The Leafs, although they had only one line working at top efficiency, outclassed the Canadiens, especially in the second period, when Plante’s excellent play prevented them from scoring three or four goals.

Keon, too fragile to attend Leafs practices because of a muscle spasm in his groin, directed the Leafs’ leading line between George Armstrong and Dick Duff. Duff was the Leafs’ other scorer, and this trio had a monopoly of the puck almost every time it was on the ice.

The Leafs, who were victimized by a penalty shot in Detroit last Sunday, had one of those gratuities bestowed on them in this game, and it might be a good vintage year for this rare, old ceremonial performance.

Keon, trying to squirt into the clear in the Montréal zone in the second period, was pulled down from behind by Ralph Backstrom, and referee Ed Powers immediately wig-wagged a penalty shot.

Keon skated in close on the solo effort and aimed his shot at the left side of the net. Plante kicked out with both feet simultaneously. The puck sailed by Plante, but hit the post about two inches below the crossbar.

A few minutes later, the ubiquitous Keon came scampering back on another breakaway, and one got the impression that Plante was getting a trifle tired of the Leaf centreman’s invasion of his privacy. This time, Keon bounced his shot off the right goal post.

The Canadiens were without Bernie Geoffrion and Henri Richard for this game, and the Leafs didn’t have Red Kelly or Ed Shack – the Canadiens seemed to miss their pair more. Known for their speed and tight checking, the Canadiens were sluggish most of the way, and seemingly bored with the entire procedure.

The Leafs, after sparring carefully with the Canadiens for most of the first period, scored their first two goals in the final five minutes.

Duff, skating and checking much more vigorously than usual, scored the first goal on a play set up by defenceman Tim Horton. Horton galloped down the ice from his own zone, eluded J.C. Tremblay at the Canadiens’ defence, and threw the puck to right wing. Although this is Duff’s wrong side, he picked up the pass, cut in sharply, and flipped a backhander between Plante and the near post.

Keon scored his first goal about five minutes later. He took a pass from Armstrong in front of the Montréal net and cuffed the puck past Plante.

Keon scored his second and his 12th of the season late in the second period after being foiled successively on a penalty shot and a breakaway. From about 10 feet inside the Montréal blueline, he slapped a hard shot that seemed to catch Plante unaware. The puck hit his stick and rattled into the net.

The Canadiens seldom threatened in the third period, and it appeared like a shutout for Bower, but with 11 seconds left, he fell outside his crease stopping a shot from Phil Goyette. Bonin scooped in the rebound.

NOTES: Jean Béliveau, the Canadiens’ gigantic centre, seldom skated beyond a light canter…Ralph Backstrom was their most energetic player…Horton was especially vigilant on the Leafs’ defence, and he set up several scoring opportunities with his rushes.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 4, 1962

1st Period

TOR PEN – 02:00 – Duff, tripping
MTL PEN – 02:00 – Johnson, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 14:16 – Duff (Horton)
TOR GOAL – 19:48 – Keon (Armstrong, Duff)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 11:52 – Baun, holding
TOR PEN SHOT – Keon missed
TOR GOAL – 16:40 – Keon (Stanley, Armstrong)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 10:06 – Fontinato, tripping
MTL GOAL – 19:49 – Bonin (Goyette, Moore)

TOR – Bower (W, 28-29)
MTL – Plante (L, 30-33)

TOR – 14+12+7 = 33
MTL – 10+10+9 = 29

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Ed Litzenberger, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Tom Johnson, Al MacNeil, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Marcel Bonin, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 20-10-5 (.643)
MTL – 19-9-9 (.635)