Game 452 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 3

Game 452
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 3
Saturday, February 9, 1963
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The return of Johnny Bower to the Toronto Maple Leaf net proved most trying for the venerable goalie in a 3-3 draw with the Montréal Canadiens Saturday night.

It wasn’t only that he received little support on the tying goal with 58 seconds remaining in the National Hockey League game. Earlier, the Leafs had blown a 2-0 lead, and the Montréal goal for a 2-2 tie was scored by Bower’s teammate, Frank Mahovlich, in attempting to clear the puck. It was credited to the Canadiens’ Bill Hicke while Bower, who had missed the last seven games because of a leg injury, fixed Mahovlich with a fierce stare.

Dave Keon, on one of the smartest goals of the season, Ron Stewart and Red Kelly were the Toronto marksmen, in that order. It was something of an oddity that the Leafs’ first two goals came with the Toronto team shorthanded through a penalty. Kelly’s goal came off a power play with a Montréaler sitting out a penalty. Dick Moore and Henri Richard were the other Canadiens scorers.

Before 14,401 in the Gardens, Richard created the 3-3 tie after the Canadiens benched goalie Jacques Plante for an extra attacker. It came after an icing call against the Leafs made for a faceoff in the Toronto end. The harassed Bower, hemmed in by the Canadiens in front of him, made two great saves before Richard took a rebound and fired the puck over the prostrate netminder.

Keon’s picture-play goal came late in the opening period. He took a long pass from George Armstrong and darted down the left boards. He rounded defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot, cut in on goal and pushed the puck past netminder Jacques Plante.

In the last minute of the period, Stewart broke away from a ganging attack in the Toronto end and fired a shot along the ice as he reached the Montréal blueline. The puck veered to the left at the last moment, and Plante could only kick at it as it went by.

“It hit an air pocket,” quipped Montréal coach Toe Blake.

“It was my fast, low curve,” said Stewart.

Montréal cut the margin early in the second period, when Moore fired a shot that swerved off Bower’s stick into the cage. Then, midway through the period, came the gift goal. Bower stopped a shot by Hicke and had the puck on his stick. Mahvolich swept in and, in attempting to clear the puck, knocked it in the goal.

Montréal’s Moore was serving a penalty late in the final period when the Toronto power play clicked. Plante saved on Armstrong and fell; Kelly grabbed the rebound and lifted it over Plante from close range.

NOTES: Benching the goalkeeper for an extra attacker is a move that every team but the Boston Bruins have found costly. Richard’s goal marked only the third time the strategy has been successful this season. It worked twice for the Bruins. On 15 occasions the move has backfired, with the puck winding up in the empty cage…”In my eight years with Montréal, this is the first time the Canadiens have scored a goal after pulling the goaltender,” said Richard. “I can’t remember it happening before either,” said Plante…The game was hardly underway before Richard received a 10 minute misconduct penalty. He had some words with linesman Ron Wicks, bumped him, then raised his stick menacingly while being restrained by teammates.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 11, 1963

1st Period

MTL PEN – 01:28 – Richard, misconduct
MTL PEN – 02:35 – Fontinato, tripping
MTL PEN – 05:31 – Backstrom, high sticking
TOR PEN – 05:31 – Pulford, high sticking
TOR PEN – 09:22 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 10:57 – Geoffrion, hooking
TOR PEN – 15:32 – Pulford, high sticking
TOR SH GOAL – 16:17 – Keon (Armstrong)
TOR PEN – 18:11 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR SH GOAL – 19:02 – Stewart (Douglas)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:00 – Moore (Provost, Richard)
MTL GOAL – 10:24 – Hicke
MTL PEN – 11:20 – Johnson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 16:39 – Backstrom, roughing
TOR PEN – 16:39 – Brewer, holding / roughing double minor

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 10:37 – Shack, cross checking
MTL PEN – 14:17 – Moore, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 14:59 – Kelly (Armstrong, Duff)
TOR PEN – 16:45 – Brewer, tripping
MTL EA GOAL – 19:02 – Richard (Gauthier, Béliveau)

TOR – Bower (T, 25-28)
MTL – Plante (T, 22-25)

TOR – 9+8+8 = 25
MTL – 8+12+8 = 28

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.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Jean Gauthier, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Bernie Geoffrion, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 25-18-9 (.567)
MTL – 21-14-17 (.567)