Game 460 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0

Game 460
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Wednesday, December 4, 1963
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Don Simmons, replacing Johnny Bower who had the flu, earned the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first shutout of the National Hockey League season last night, as the Leafs easily defeated Montréal’s short-staffed Canadiens 3-0 before 13,740 at the Gardens.

The Leafs, who have won three and tied one of five games with the Canadiens, regained second place by a point margin over the Montréalers. They oppose the Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Red Wings on the weekend.

Despite some lethargic, indifferent performances, the Leafs continue to indicate they are much the best of the rest – behind Chicago – in a season which may not be considered a vintage one by NHL historians.

The Leafs have lost only three games of 17 against Montréal, Detroit, Boston and New York. This was their 11th win.

Defencemen Bob Baun and Allan Stanley and left winger Dick Duff scored the goals in one of the Leafs’ higher calibre efforts. But the Canadiens were without Henri Richard, Bill Hicke and John Ferguson – all regulars.

Frank Mahovlich and Red Kelly each earned two assists, with Mahovlich hinting at being near the end of a prolonged goal scoring slump. He has seven goals, has scored in only four of the Leafs’ 22 games.

Last night he was moving, setting up plays, and coming close to scoring himself. He was a toss-up with Dave Keon as the most impressive Leaf. Keon, at his blue dart best, wasn’t rewarded with a single point for his efforts.

“The Big M”‘s play last night was a continuation of a less productive, but equally promising, game in Detroit Sunday.

He brought the puck from the Leafs zone, past three Canadiens, to start the play which ended in Baun’s goal. Bob Pulford passed back to Baun and his long shot beat Charlie Hodge, who appeared to be waiting for Bob Nevin to try to tip it in flight.

Mahovlich checked the puck away from rookie defenceman Bryan Watson and steered it to Kelly on a power play sequence, which led to the Leafs’ third goal. Stanley’s long shot, again from the point, went cleanly past Hodge, who was well screened. Claude Provost was serving an interference penalty.

Kelly, who rivalled Simmons, Mahovlich and Keon for star billing, had a hand in the second goal, scored by Duff, but it was Duff who brought the spectators to their feet with a terrific rush, and second effort to score.

Hodge saved on his first shot. Duff, still in full flight, grabbed the rebound and pitched a shot which appeared to be going harmlessly through the crease behind Hodge. But the goalie, trying to use his stick as a lever to regain his feet, instead tipped the puck over the goal line. Montréal also was shorthanded on this goal. Terry Harper was off for holding.

The Canadiens outshot the Leafs by a narrow margin in each period, 26-21 in the game.

Simmons preserved his shutout with several alert stops. In the first period Claude Larose was in alone, and later Red Berenson. He kicked out Jean-Guy Talbot’s screened drive early in the final period, followed with a sliding stop off Ralph Backstrom and blocked Dave Balon in the final minute.

He was also fortunate. Bobby Rousseau, a Hab standout, swept a puck past him and off the post in the second period, and Larose hit the post late in the game.

Hodge robbed George Armstrong on a second period breakaway and foiled Keon on the rebound to prevent the Leafs from winning by a wider margin. Earlier, Tim Horton’s slap shot came within a fraction of netting his seventh goal.

NOTES: Gilles Tremblay is playing with a martian-like football mask to protect a cheek bone broken a month ago…With Bower ill, the Leafs had two Marlboro goalers, Gary Smith and Bill Henderson, as stand-bys…Ron Stewart played only one shift, on a line with Bill Harris and Kelly, who was the left winger…The Leafs took seven of the game’s dozen penalties, including a misconduct for Carl Brewer, for taking loud exception to an interference call by referee Bill Friday.

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

1st Period

MTL PEN – 01:12 – Provost, holding
TOR PEN – 04:20 – Mahovlich, elbowing
TOR GOAL – 11:51 – Baun (Pulford, Mahovlich)
TOR PEN – 12:35 – Brewer, charging
MTL PEN – 18:40 – Balon, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:59 – Harper, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 04:09 – Duff (Kelly)
TOR PEN – 10:51 – Stanley, holding
TOR PEN – 11:14 – Brewer, interference + misconduct
MTL PEN – 12:29 – Provost, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 13:42 – Stanley (Mahovlich, Kelly)
TOR PEN – 14:29 – Mahovlich, hooking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 13:20 – Talbot, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:15 – Brewer, slashing

TOR – Simmons (W + SO, 26-26)
MTL – Hodge (L, 18-21)

TOR – 6+8+7 = 21
MTL – 8+10+8 = 26

TORGoaltenders: Don Simmons. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge. Defence: Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay, Bryan Watson. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Bernie Geoffrion, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Léon Rochefort, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 11-7-4 (.591)
MTL – 10-7-5 (.568)