Game 463 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 0

Game 463
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 0
Wednesday, January 22, 1964
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Charlie Hodge, whose major achievements prior to this National Hockey League season had been shares in two Canadian tandem kayak paddling championships, spared the Montréal Canadiens into a tie for first place in the NHL last night.

The 31-year-old goalie from Cartierville and his close-checking Canadien mates shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 before a derisive crowd of 14,028 at the Gardens. He made 32 saves in handing the Leafs their second consecutive whitewashing on home ice.

The Leafs have failed to score in 131 minutes and 35 seconds at the Gardens. They were booed from the ice at the end of each period. Hodge, by comparison, received a prolonged ovation when named the game’s outstanding player.

However, despite four losses in five games and continuing inability to put two good games together, the Leafs remain only three points behind the co-leaders, with a game in hand on the Chicago Black Hawks. The Hawks play at Boston tonight, and the New York Rangers are in Montréal.

Gilles Tremblay and Henri Richard in the first period and Dave Balon early in the second scored for the Canadiens against Don Simmons. The Toronto goaler stopped 25 shots as the Leafs actually outshot Montréal 32-28.

The Leafs ended a one game winning streak and erased the memory of impressive effort in Chicago by letting the skate-skate-skate Canadiens skate, skate, skate.

There was little of the dedicated body checking the Leafs had exhibited Sunday and little hitting of any kind after the midway mark of the first period.

The Leafs were very inaccurate when they had the puck in the Canadiens territory in the first period. They had a marked territorial margin in this 20 minutes. Their power play was on the ice three times to the Canadiens’ one, but they were outshot 12-6.

It was the Leafs’ contention that the first two Montréal goals were tainted.

They had a strong case on the second, by Henri Richard. “The Pocket Rocket” was three feet into the Leafs zone when J.C. Tremblay arrived at the blueline with the puck.

Richard, unchecked, was given time to field the pass, fake a pass, then lash a wrist shot that ripped under Simmons’ right arm into the far corner.

Simmons got the local version of the Bronx cheer on that one and again when Balon eased a backhander past him to complete the scoring at 1:05 of the second period.

There was also some question about Gilles Tremblay’s goal.

The Leafs alleged his stick was above the shoulder height permitted by the NHL rule book. Tremblay literally cross checked the puck into an open side. Jacques Laperrière’s drive from the point was off target.

Referee Vern Buffey, standing within 15 feet of Tremblay, ruled it a goal.

Simmons had no hope. He was set for Laperrière and Tremblay stood alone, allowed to wait until someone gave him a puck to rifle home. The Leafs’ Bob Nevin and Bob Pulford and the Canadiens’ John Ferguson were in the penalty box at the time – 3:46 of the first period.

The Leafs were never a threat to win, even to tie, after the Habs made it 2-0, then 3-0, in short order.

They did force the wraith-like Hodge (5″6, 145 pounds) to make some brilliant stops. Early in the game when it was 1-0, Hodge was the difference in the game, stopping shots by Larry Hillman, one of them screened, a screened drive by Red Kelly, and Nevin’s attempted tip-in from Hillman.

In the third period, he preserved his third shutout and lowered his excellent goals against average to 2.285 with five stops in less than a minute.

This was while Jean Béliveau was off for tripping – 12:37 to 14:37 – and was the only time in the last half of the game when the Canadiens superb fore-and-backchecking pattern broke down.

Dave Keon had three chances, shooting wide once. The others went to Jim Pappin, who played only briefly, Kelly on a Keon rebound, and Frank Mahovlich.

The rest of the time, practically every Leafs rush that survived as far as the Canadiens blueline was greeted by a five man checking committee.

NOTES: Hodge, who spent 10 years in the minors before winning permanent NHL employment, hollers orders to his defencemen in either English or French, depending on who it is…Simmons’ big stops were against Ralph Backstrom on a breakaway, and Jacques Laperrière three times…The Canadiens’ only sustained pressure of the opening period netted Richard’s goal seconds after Bobby Rousseau had hit the post…Almost half of the Leafs’ losses, seven of 15, have been by shutouts.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 23, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:48 – Nevin, roughing
MTL PEN – 01:48 – Ferguson, roughing
TOR PEN – 02:11 – Pulford, slashing
MTL PP GOAL – 03:46 – G. Tremblay (Laperrière, Rousseau)
MTL PEN – 04:32 – Talbot, interference
MTL PEN – 07:02 – Berenson, elbowing
MTL GOAL – 16:55 – Richard (J. Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 17:54 – Harper, tripping

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:05 – Balon (Backstrom)
TOR PEN – 03:25 – Stanley, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:30 – Hillman, holding

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 03:15 – Brewer, holding
MTL PEN – 12:37 – Béliveau, tripping
MTL PEN – 16:55 – Richard, holding

MTL – Hodge (W + SO, 32-32)
TOR – Simmons (L, 26-29)

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, John Ferguson, Bill Hicke, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Don Simmons. Defence: Carl Brewer, Arnie Brown, 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.

MTL – 22-12-9 (.616)
TOR – 22-15-6 (.581)