Game 439 – Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 1

Game 439
Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, March 8, 1962
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs almost abandoned all hopes of finishing in first place, when they settled for a 1-1 tie with the relaxed Montréal Canadiens in a National Hockey League game here tonight.

The Canadiens, arrogantly secure of a first place finish because of a seven point lead on the second place Leafs, skated as if they had no particular concern about the outcome. Seldom have the Canadiens played with such a delicate checking game, especially in their own rink.

A crowd of 15,267 saw the Leafs establish command early in the game when defenceman Tim Horton scored. The Leafs not only protected that lead but could have scored a couple of more goals, except that the Canadiens’ masked Jacques Plante seemed to anticipate their moves. And the Canadiens, buoyed by Plante’s fine performance, tied the score shortly after the midway mark of the third period, when Bernie Geoffrion scored with his 19th goal of the season.

The Leafs, who have eight more games to play before the schedule expires, didn’t seem content to settle for a tie. They renewed their pressure on the Montréal goal, but Plante defied them and on other occasions, the Leafs were guilty of erratic shooting.

The Leafs played without Dave Keon, an energetic centreman who is second on their team in goal production. He is convalescing from a groin injury.

The Canadiens, grievously handicapped according to earlier reports, had their lineup almost intact except for Henri Richard, their floating centreman. He is out with a broken arm, and medical bulletins insist he will be absent for the remainder of the season.

The Canadiens, normally abounding with vim and vigour in their own rink, were gripped by a strange lassitude in this game, and they were fortunate to restrict the energetic Leafs to a tie. The Leafs, who are inclined to view even one point in the Forum as a triumph, had a 1-1 tie here earlier in the schedule. But they lost on four other occasions.

Bobby Nevin, the long standing right winger of the Leafs, was one of the ablest players in this game. Nevin, whose wretched scoring record attests that he has scored only one goal in almost two months, was still the most conspicuous player with his rushing and deft maneuvering around the Montréal defence. Plante foiled him with some clever stops.

Horton, who has played an important role in many of the Leafs’ recent successes, scored his goal in the first period, while the Canadiens had two players in the penalty box, the Leafs one.

Horton, whose specialty is a zooming slap shot from the point, varied his routine this time. He cut across in front of the Montréal defence and scooped in a lengthy backhander that seemed to be screened from Plante’s view.

Both teams squandered numerous scoring opportunities for the remainder of the game, but it was Geoffrion who tied the score at 11:26 of the third period.

Ed Shack, the Leafs’ rambunctious right winger, made one zig too many while carrying the puck, and lost control of it at the Montréal blueline.

Canadiens defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot picked up the errant puck, sent it ahead to Geoffrion, and he rambled down the left wing, the wrong route for Geoffrion. However, from about 35 feet out, he made a sharp right angle turn, and in the same instant he blurred a backhander past Leafs goalie Johnny Bower.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 9, 1962

1st Period

MTL PEN – 06:41 – Moore, elbowing
TOR PEN – 08:57 – Olmstead, elbowing
MTL PEN – 08:57 – Hicke, holding
MTL PEN – 12:12 – Moore, tripping
TOR PEN – 12:49 – Brewer, elbowing
MTL PEN – 12:49 – Rousseau, charging
TOR PP GOAL – 13:26 – Horton (Pulford, Nevin)
TOR PEN – 17:34 – Brewer, tripping
TOR PEN – 18:42 – Pulford, slashing
TOR PEN – 18:42 – Béliveau, slashing

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 06:21 – Talbot, slashing
TOR PEN – 08:01 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 13:27 – Talbot, charging
MTL PEN – 18:34 – Geoffrion, high sticking
TOR PEN – 18:34 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 18:34 – team, delay of game
TOR PEN – 19:06 – Horton, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:28 – Rousseau, hooking
MTL PEN – 06:21 – Moore, misconduct
MTL PEN – 06:57 – J. Tremblay, tripping
MTL GOAL – 11:26 – Geoffrion (Backstrom, Talbot)

MTL – Plante (T, 22-23)
TOR – Bower (T, 21-22)

MTL – 7+8+7 = 22
TOR – 8+11+4 = 23

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

MTL – 35-12-14 (.689)
TOR – 34-19-9 (.621)