Game 443 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3

Game 443
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3
Wednesday, October 31, 1962
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens held off the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 4-3 victory last night in a game that had many dull moments and a maximum of Leaf futility around both nets.

It was the third successive defeat for the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup defending champions, who have managed only four goals in that time.

Before a Maple Leaf Gardens gathering of 14,003, George Armstrong, Dave Keon and Billy Harris scored for the Leafs. The Habitants, who ran up a 4-1 lead before the Leafs counted twice in the final period, gained goals by Claude Provost, Gilles Tremblay, Tom Johnson and “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. It was the second successive win for the Canadiens over the Leafs, with the first game a 4-2 decision in Montréal two weeks ago.

As in two losses last weekend, it was the Leafs’ lack of finish that contributed strongly to their downfall. They had plenty of scoring chances, but their own inability plus some great goaltending by Cesare Maniago was too much. At the other end, the Leafs’ defence was shaky in the face of the faster skating Canadiens, and goalie Johnny Bower didn’t have a good night.

A couple of fist fights, with rookie rearguard Kent Douglas of the Leafs involved in both, enlivened the game. Douglas, with a reputation for toughness on coming up from the American League, started swinging in both cases after being elbowed by Bill Hicke in the first period and after being boarded by Geoffrion in the third. There were no clean cut decisions and the battlers soon were parted.

Armstrong opened the goal-getting midway through the first period when he tipped in a long shot by Carl Brewer. It was the seventh shot in quick succession at the Montréal cage, some of which missed. The Canadiens tied the game four minutes later on a backhander by Provost from point blank range.

The Canadiens went ahead to stay at 18:49 when Gilles Tremblay scored on a low drive along the ice from 25 feet out. Due to penalties, the Leafs were two players short and Montréal one at the time. The only goal of the middle period came when defenceman Johnson, rearguard Tim Horton of the Leafs lying in front of him, let fly on a pass from Red Berenson.

There were loud groans when, 33 seconds after the start of the final period, Geoffrion, standing alone 25 feet out from the cage, scored on a backhander.

A few minutes later, to cheers, out came a Toronto line of centre Harris, flanked by Bob Pulford and Ed Shack. It paid off rather promptly when Harris deflected Douglas’ long shot past Maniago. Shack gave the puck to Douglas.

The teams were playing five a side, with Douglas and Geoffrion serving majors, when the Leafs’ pressure paid off. Keon took a pass from Horton at the Montréal defence, dashed in and counted his first goal of the season.

NOTES: The teams meet again in Montréal tonight…Punch Imlach, the Leafs’ manager-coach, shifted his lines as he had said he would, until late in the second period. Then Kelly, who had started the game between Dick Duff and George Armstrong, rejoined his old unit of Mahovlich and Nevin. Centre Keon rejoined Duff and Armstrong. Shack was benched for the first two periods…Bower left the ice for an extra attacker over the last 43 seconds, and Maniago responded with a tremendous stop on a close-in drive by Keon with 25 seconds remaining…When Geoffrion, in his 13th NHL season, scored to open the final period, it proved to be the 62nd winning goal he has shot in league play.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 1, 1962

1st Period

TOR PEN – 02:34 – Duff, tripping
MTL PEN – 03:25 – Geoffrion, slashing
MTL PEN – 05:55 – Fontinato, hooking
TOR GOAL – 10:33 – Armstrong (Brewer, Baun)
TOR PEN – 13:06 – Douglas, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 14:39 – Provost (Richard, Geoffrion)
MTL PEN – 15:15 – Hicke, elbowing / roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 15:15 – Douglas, cross checking / roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 17:03 – Armstrong, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 18:49 – G. Tremblay (Richard, Geoffrion)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 10:41 – Hicke, hooking
TOR PEN – 15:31 – Baun, holding
MTL GOAL – 17:37 – Johnson (Berenson, Provost)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:33 – Geoffrion (Johnson, Béliveau)
TOR GOAL – 04:07 – Harris (Douglas, Shack)
TOR PEN – 07:19 – Mahovlich, slashing
MTL PEN – 11:56 – Geoffrion, fighting major
TOR PEN – 11:56 – Douglas, fighting major
TOR GOAL – 14:40 – Keon (Horton, Duff)

MTL – Maniago (W, 28-31)
TOR – Bower (L, 27-31)

MTL – 15+8+8 = 31
TOR – 9+10+12 = 31

MTLGoaltenders: Cesare Maniago. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Jean Gauthier, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Kent Douglas, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Ed Litzenberger, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 4-3-2 (.556)
TOR – 3-5-1 (.389)