Game 438 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2

Game 438
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, February 21, 1962
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens, who skated and checked with a dedicated thoroughness, defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in an undistinguished National Hockey League game in the Gardens last night.

The Canadiens, who need only league confirmation that first place is their exclusive possession, thus moved 13 points ahead of the slumping Leafs, who have won only one game in their last six.

Jean Béliveau, Dickie Moore, Henri Richard and Ralph Backstrom scored for the Canadiens in a game that was seldom greeted by overpowering applause by the 13,750 in attendance. As a matter of fact, unless one admired the technical, sometimes flawless, excellence of the Canadiens, there was little to enthuse about.

The Leafs’ two goals were scored by defencemen Allan Stanley and Tim Horton. Horton, much more vigorous in his play than several other Leafs, also made the play for Stanley’s goal with a dynamic rush from his own zone.

The Canadiens, rapidly developing into a poised persistent collection of tireless skaters who could be compared favourably with some of the other great Montréal teams of recent years, relied on their infuriating puck control to keep the Leafs ineffective most of the time.

Most of the time, it was a case of the Canadiens’ orderly, precise movements against the foundering, confused sorties of the Leafs. And, naturally, the Leafs suffered in the comparison.

The Leafs, especially defenceman Carl Brewer, tried to summon a little extra in the way of aggressiveness, but about all it accomplished was four minor penalties for him. But Brewer did show unusual virtuosity in not committing the same offence twice. He was sent off for roughing in the second period, for hooking, tripping and spearing (in that order) in the third period.

George Armstrong, the Leafs’ hard working captain, and Béliveau almost caused a disturbance late in the game, when they raised their sticks on high near the Montréal goal. But this mild outbreak wasn’t even considered serious enough to warrant a penalty.

Still later in the period Bernie Geoffrion, the celebrated crooner of the Canadiens, started exchanging bon mots with fans behind the bench. A few became excited and started gesticulating forcefully, but that was as far as it went.

Béliveau, who has been supposedly emerging from a slump for the past month and appears to have made it this time, scored on the Canadiens’ first shot on goal at 2:47 of the first period. From near the right point, after relieving Brewer of the puck, he drove a low shot that beat Leaf goalie Johnny Bower all the way. Bower was concentrating on Gilles Tremblay, who swooshed in front of the Toronto net as though to pick up a pass.

Stanley was sitting out the first of the Leafs’ seven minor penalties when Béliveau scored his goal.

Each team had a player in the penalty box when Stanley tied the score in less than a minute. He picked up Horton’s pass, aimed carefully despite an effort to keep his balance, and drilled the puck past Canadiens goaler Jacques Plante. Satisfied that the puck was in the net, Stanley then fell flat and slid into the boards.

Moore restored the Canadiens lead about five minutes later, after Richard had skated all the way in on right wing and around the Leafs net. He threw the puck in front and Moore rapped it past Bower.

Richard scored the only goal of the second period when Tom Johnson’s long pass found him in the clear. He floated in to Bower’s verandah before flipping the puck high in the right corner.

Backstrom made the Canadiens margin 4-1 in the third period, deflecting Johnson’s slapper from the right point. Then Horton scored for the Leafs with one of his slapshots from near the Canadiens blue line.

NOTES: Linesman George Hayes fell and hit his head on the boards late in the second period. He was momentarily stunned and had to be helped to the Gardens hospital. But he returned to duty for the final 20 minutes, despite a splitting headache…The crowd chanted “We want Harris!” several times during the game, but Leafs coach George Imlach kept “Billy The Kid” on the bench.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 22, 1962

1st Period

TOR PEN – 02:15 – Stanley, charging
MTL PP GOAL – 02:47 – Béliveau
MTL PEN – 03:04 – Béliveau, roughing
TOR PEN – 03:04 – Pulford, roughing
TOR GOAL – 03:25 – Stanley (Horton, Olmstead)
MTL GOAL – 08:38 – Moore (Richard, Provost)
TOR PEN – 14:35 – Mahovlich, hooking
MTL PEN – 16:02 – Provost, interference
MTL PEN – 18:06 – Talbot, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 04:57 – Brewer, roughing
MTL GOAL – 13:55 – Richard (Moore, Johnson)
MTL PEN – 16:08 – Goyette, tripping

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 00:38 – Brewer, hooking
MTL GOAL – 05:17 – Backstrom (Johnson, Marshall)
TOR PEN – 09:44 – Brewer, tripping
TOR GOAL – 11:57 – Horton (Brewer, Armstrong)
TOR PEN – 13:04 – Brewer, spearing

MTL – Plante (W, 27-29)
TOR – Bower (L, 19-23)

MTL – 8+7+8 = 23
TOR – 11+9+9 = 29

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Jean Gauthier, Tom Johnson, Al MacNeil, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Larry Keenan, Dave Keon, Ed Litzenberger, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford.

MTL – 34-11-11 (.705)
TOR – 29-19-8 (.589)