Playoff Game 38 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 0

Playoff Game 38
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 0
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 3
Saturday, March 30, 1963
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs shattered three playoff jinxes here Saturday night and the winning parlay convinced the 14,773 in the Forum that, for this National Hockey League season anyway, the Leafs are masters of the Montréal Canadiens.

The Leafs shut out the Canadiens 2-0, on goals by Ed Shack and Bob Pulford. It was their third consecutive victory in the Stanley Cup best-of-seven semifinal series, which could end in the Forum tomorrow night.

The win extended the Leafs’ undefeated streak against Montréal to nine games. They have lost only once in the last 15 meetings between the two Canadian clubs.

Continuing their excellent defensive play, the Leafs established these firsts for themselves:
– Johnny Bower’s shutout – he made 32 saves – was his first in 38 playoff games, all with the Leafs.
– Eddie Shack’s winning goal produced his first point in 16 playoff games.
– The Leafs’ win was their first at the Forum in six playoff tries since Punch Imlach became their coach

The Canadiens maintained their energetic pace of Thursday night. Their defence contributed perhaps its best game of the set. Their forwards, particularly Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard and Bill Hicke, forced Bower to earn his shutout.

But they lost again, weren’t able to score even one goal, and many of their disgruntled partisans left the Forum muttering about a Leaf sweep of the series.

The Leafs, by comparison, were able to counter every Montréal move with what Imlach suggested was “our second best game of the season.” Top test? Imlach nominated the Leafs’ 3-0 win over the Chicago Black Hawks on March 16 – the game which moved the Leafs into first place.

The Leafs’ big margin in this semifinal has been their defensive play, from goal out and including several forwards, they are fortunate in having two good checkers on each of their regular lines; a solid, experienced defence, led Saturday by Tim Horton; and in this series, they have been getting very competent goaltending from Bower.

Result? The Canadiens, although having a terriotrial margin and outshooting the Leafs 32-22, were never able to sustain their assault against Bower. After one shot, two at the most, the puck would be cleared. And, for the third time in the series, the Canadiens once celebrated power play flopped when given a six-four edge through Leaf penalties.

In the first period, referee Vern Buffey slapped Shack with five minutes for high sticking Ralph Backstrom in the mouth, Carl Brewer’s first of three minor penalties – this one for holding Bernie Geoffrion – put the Leafs two short for 68 seconds.

The Leafs have played four men against six four times in the three games, and have given up only one goal, by Béliveau when Bower lost a rebound. This, more than anything else, has been the difference between the teams.

Béliveau, the best Canadien in the series, provided Bower with most of his trouble Saturday. However, it was a third period shot by Bill Hicke which almost cost the 38-year-old goalkeeper his shutout. The puck bounced off Bower’s chest, but hit the cross bar and dropped outside the goal line. The Canadiens, frustrated at every turn by the Leafs’ dogged check-check-check style, blew two or three opportunities by shooting too hastily, giving Bower and his defence plenty of range to play the puck. On another occasion, defenceman Terry Harper shot a hard screened drive at Bower. Dickie Moore, cruising in from left wing, deflected the rising shot into the end seats when it had been on target.

Defensive goofs gave the Leafs the puck for both goals. Jean Gauthier attempting a screened long shot fired the puck directly at Pulford, who got a breakaway. Plante made a good stop but was attempting to smother the puck when Gauthier tried to clear it and yanked it from Plante’s grasp. The puck went to Shack, who banked a short shot in off the goal post to end 33 minutes of goalless hockey.

In the third period, Pulford and Shack were harassing the Canadiens to Plante’s right. Don Marshall lost the puck to Shack’s check, and it skidded out to Pulford, who blasted home a waist high shot off the goalie’s glove.

NOTES: Buffey wasn’t consistent in his calls. He overlooked Ron Stewart’s hook on Moore, then sent Gauthier off for holding in the second period but Brewer couldn’t complain about his penalty, which came after Shack’s major. Buffey watched him for a good three seconds, giving him every chance to let go. When he didn’t, he was sent off…Blake juggled lines, putting Geoffrion with Hicke and Backstrom, Rousseau with Béliveau and Gilles Tremblay, but it didn’t have the desired effect – getting an improved effort from Geoffrion…Leaf Frank Mahovlich, while better than in the second game, still is not in proper orbit, which makes the Leafs’ commanding position in the series all the more impressive…Leaf Bob Nevin, having difficult getting untracked in the last few games, gave Pulford a great chance in the second period, but Pulford shot wide. Nevin himself had missed a similar chance in the first period. The same pair missed on a two-on-one breakaway in the last period…Horton, who blocked Richard’s shot and took care of the rebound from Claude Provost in the third period, also tied up Geoffrion in the first when Bower was out of position…With eight minutes remaining and the Leafs up 1-0, Geoffrion shot wide with Bower down and half the net to hit from the edge of the crease.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 1, 1963

1st Period

TOR PEN – 09:37 – Shack, high sticking major
TOR PEN – 12:20 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 13:28 – Rousseau, holding

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 13:14 – Shack (Pulford)
TOR PEN – 19:44 – Brewer, high sticking
MTL PEN – 19:44 – Gauthier, holding

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 14:16 – Pulford
TOR PEN – 19:31 – Brewer, slashing
MTL PEN – 19:31 – Richard, holding

TOR – Bower (W + SO, 32-32)
MTL – Plante (L, 20-22)

TOR – 7+7+8 = 22
MTL – 11+10+11 = 32

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: Jean Gauthier, Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.