Playoff Game 40 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 0

Playoff Game 40
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 0
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 5
Thursday, April 4, 1963
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs, launched once again by their brilliant young centre, Dave Keon, and sustained by their aging but agile goaltender John Bower, reached the Stanley Cup finals for the fourth time in five years, shutting out the Montréal Canadiens 5-0 last night in Maple Leaf Gardens.

Keon shot two goals and Bower blocked 35 shots in earning his second shutout of the National Hockey league semifinal series, which the Leafs won four games to one.

The Leafs won this game within 10 minutes and 11 seconds of the opening faceoff, scoring three goals in just over three minutes, two within 28 seconds.

Set back on their heels, 3-0, the Canadiens still came back to challenge Bower, and the 39-year-old goalie came up with another great performance.

He saved his shutout with exceptional saves off Henri Richard twice, Jean Béliveau twice, Jean-Guy Talbot and Bernie Geoffrion in the final period; Béliveau, Richard, Bill Hicke and Red Berenson in the second; and Claude Provost in the final 20 minutes. In five games, he allowed six goals.

Dick Duff, Ron Stewart on a breakaway, and Kent Douglas were the other Leafs to beat Jacques Plante. Leafs captain George Armstrong was in on three scoring plays and Red Kelly had two assists.

Plante made 27 saves and did not have one of his more spectacular evenings. But the Canadiens, for the second time in this Leaf-dominated series were unable to give him the cushion of even one goal. In another game, they scored only one goal.

The Canadiens, after winning the Stanley Cup a record five times in a row, have now been eliminated in three successive semifinals, twice by the Chicago Black Hawks.

It may be of some significance that Montréal has not played in a final since Maurice Richard retired.

Of considerable import to the Leafs was the play of Frank Mahovlich. Although he did not score, “The Big M” certainly hinted he was ready to take off at any moment. He had been a big disappointment in this series, and hasn’t scored since the Leafs 63rd game of the regular schedule. He missed two games through illness, and it has been quite obvious that the attack of flu took more out of him than anyone admitted.

For the Canadiens, Geoffrion also contributed his best game in five, but the resurgence came too late to be of any help.

The Canadiens, able to win only four of 19 games from Toronto during this season, had thwarted Toronto’s try for a series sweep with a 3-1 victory in the Forum Tuesday night.

But last night, they reverted to the form which plagued them earlier in the playoff. They were unable to mount any prolonged assault on Bower. The Leafs defence cleared the puck after no more than two shots, and the Canadiens never managed three in a row on any sortie.

Keon started the scoring rout 17 seconds after Montréal defenceman Terry Harper was sent off for holding Carl Brewer on an attempted breakaway. Plante appeared to have caught Keon’s shot, but as he fell backwards, the puck dropped into the corner of the goal, at 6:56.

Keon was also responsible for the second scoring play, at 9:43. Talbot, who had rocked Keon in Montréal, tried for a repeat along the boards, but the elusive Leaf ducked from danger, controlled the puck and got a pass to Armstrong who relayed to Duff.

Duff, having a frustrating season in many respects, was on target with a perfectly placed long shot, which rocketed past Plante and in the far side. Duff’s best game of the series – it included two other near goals – earned him the third star rating. New York goalie Gump Worsley elected Keon and Bower as his first two choices.

Canadiens rookie Bill Sutherland was trying to pass the puck when he gave it to Kelly and the Leaf centre sent Stewart off on a breakaway 17 seconds after Duff’s goal. Stewart pulled Plante out of position, then threw a short shot into the net.

The Leafs added single goals in the second and third periods.

Keon deflected Bobby Baun’s hard shot from the point for a 4-0 lead. Keon was completely unguarded in front of Plante. Armstrong had dug the puck out of a scramble behind the goal passed back to Baun.

Rookie defenceman Kent Douglas, who had been restricted to power play duty in this series, responded to regular employment – he spelled Allan Stanley in the third period – by drifting a bad angle shot by Plante. The Montréal goaltender, who thought he had Douglas angled out of the score, fanned on the slow shot. It was scored with the teams playing five a side.

NOTES: This was the second semifinal in a row in which the Canadiens were shut out twice. Last year, Glenn Hall of the Hawks was in charge of muzzling the Habs’ big guns in the playoffs. The Canadiens had eight players on or near the 20-goal plateau in the regular schedule…Coach Punch Imlach gave his loose Leafs, Billy Harris and Ed Litzenberger, brief ice time, but defenceman Larry Hillman never left the bench…Referee Vern Buffey found this a particularly pure game, calling only seven penalties, all minors, and the Leafs got only two of them.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 5, 1963

1st Period

MTL PEN – 06:39 – Harper, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 06:56 – Keon (Armstrong, Kelly)
TOR GOAL – 09:43 – Duff (Keon, Armstrong)
TOR GOAL – 10:11 – Stewart (Kelly)
MTL PEN – 15:09 – Harper, holding
TOR PEN – 18:03 – Nevin, holding

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 08:12 – Talbot, holding
TOR GOAL – 16:37 – Keon (Baun, Armstrong)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 06:34 – Provost, interference
TOR PEN – 09:49 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 10:50 – Laperrière, hooking
TOR GOAL – 11:27 – Douglas

TOR – Bower (W + SO, 35-35)
MTL – Plante (L, 27-32)

TOR – 12+10+10 = 32
MTL – 10+15+10 = 35

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, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Bill Sutherland, Gilles Tremblay.