Game 449 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 4

Game 449
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 4
Thursday, January 17, 1963
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens vaulted over the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the National Hockey League with a 6-4 win over the Leafs.

A crowd of 15,305, largest of the season in the Forum, saw the Leafs dissipate a two goal lead which they had preserved until the halfway mark. The Leafs, who abandoned their checking chores inexplicably at times, had trouble keeping up with the fleet Canadiens throughout the final 20 minutes.

The score was tied at 3-3 going into the third period, but the Canadiens leaped ahead with one of their characteristic flurries, counting two goals in 33 seconds. They scored their sixth before the Leafs came back with their fourth goal.

The Canadiens, the most formidable team in the NHL in recent weeks, moved one point ahead of the Leafs and one point behind the leading Chicago Black Hawks as a result of the win. The Leafs have played one more game than the Habitants, the Black Hawks two.

Gilles Tremblay, Ralph Backstrom, Henri Richard, Claude Provost, Dickie Moore and Bobby Rousseau scored for the Canadiens. It was Moore who provided what proved the winner. George Armstrong, Ed Litzenberger, Bobby Nevin and Dave Keon scored for the Leafs.

It was a fast skating game and there were moments of abusive checking that provoked the crowd into littering the ice with rubbers, programs and other debris. Referee Frank Udvari imposed 10 minor penalties, six to the Leafs.

George Imlach, the Leafs’ manager-coach, tried to manipulate his lineup late in the game to confront the Canadiens with more opposition. Left winger Dick Duff was benched for rookie Norm Armstrong, Ron Stewart was shifted to defence to replace Larry Hillman, while Keon appeared on a line with Frank Mahovlich and George Armstrong. This line, incidentally, produced the Leafs’ fourth goal.

Jean Béliveau, the Canadiens’ gigantic centre, had a modest ambition thwarted in this game. Despite the pleas of the crowd, he was unable to score his 300th NHL goal. He partially assuaged his wounded feelings by collecting three assists.

Béliveau had one of the best scoring opportunities of the game early in the third period. But, instead of shooting, he passed the puck to Rousseau, who slid it back to Gilles Tremblay. He drove the puck past Leafs goalkeeper Don Simmons for the Canadiens’ first goal.

The Leafs tied the score within four minutes with George Armstrong scoring his first goal in weeks and his 14th of the season. He deflected Keon’s long shot past netminder Jacques Plante.

The Leafs came back with two goals in a row in the second period. Nevin fired a shot that hit the crossbar. The puck fell in front of Plante, and Litzenberger stabbed it across the line. Nevin made it 3-1 by barging in on right wing, past Montréal defenceman Lou Fontinato. He beat Plante with an angle shot from about 25 feet.

Backstrom revived the Canadiens later in the period when he darted in to shove the puck past Simmons, who had juggled a shot fired by Montréal defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot. Richard tied the score while Mahovlich was off for high sticking. He deflected Jean Gauthier’s drive from the right point past Simmons.

Provost, one of the Canadiens’ most determined skaters and checkers, gave them the lead early in the third period. He stole the puck from Duff near the Toronto goal and lobbed a backhander into the net. Moore scored 33 seconds later to give the Canadiens a 5-3 lead. Richard tossed him a pass, and Moore cuffed the puck into the Toronto net from about 33 feet in front.

Rousseau danced down the right wing after picking up a Béliveau pass to score his goal. He romped around Hillman before scooting in close to out-shift Simmons.

Keon came back to score for the Leafs, tipping George Armstrong’s shot past Plante.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 18, 1963

1st Period

MTL GOAL – 01:18 – G. Tremblay (Béliveau, Rousseau)
TOR GOAL – 05:07 – G. Armstrong (Keon, Douglas)
TOR PEN – 06:58 – Horton, interference
MTL PEN – 16:12 – Fontinato, holding

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:26 – Litzenberger (Nevin, Pulford)
MTL PEN – 03:20 – Johnson, roughing
TOR PEN – 03:20 – Shack, roughing
TOR GOAL – 05:01 – Nevin (Pulford, Douglas)
TOR PEN – 09:41 – Hillman, holding
MTL GOAL – 11:49 – Backstrom (Talbot)
TOR PEN – 12:08 – Mahovlich, high sticking
MTL PP GOAL – 13:43 – Richard (Gauthier, Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 14:29 – Talbot, cross checking
MTL PEN – 18:46 – Fontinato, roughing
TOR PEN – 18:46 – Shack, roughing

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:20 – Provost
MTL GOAL – 02:53 – Moore (Richard, Provost)
TOR PEN – 07:04 – Douglas, tripping
MTL GOAL – 12:42 – Rousseau (Béliveau, Johnson)
TOR GOAL – 13:00 – Keon (G. Armstrong, Mahovlich)

MTL – Plante (W, 28-32)
TOR – Simmons (L, 36-42)

MTL – 10+19+13 = 42
TOR – 12+12+8 = 32

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Jean Gauthier, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Bill Hicke, Claude Larose, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Don Simmons. Defence: Carl Brewer, Kent Douglas, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Norm Armstrong, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Ed Litzenberger, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 18-10-13 (.598)
TOR – 21-15-6 (.571)