Game 465 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0

Game 465
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0
Wednesday, February 5, 1964
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens remained tied for first place in the National Hockey League last night, accomplishing the now commonplace feat of shutting out the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bobby Rousseau and Gilles Tremblay scored the goals in the Habs’ 2-0 victory, a decision that knocked the Leafs eight points off the pace set by the Canadiens and Chicago Black Hawks. The Leafs meet the Hawks twice this weekend.

The Leafs’ latest display of inaccuracy and inadequacy left 13,932 spectators wondering, not whether the Leafs would finish first, but whether they could emerge this season from their worst scoring slump in six years.

Coach Punch Imlach admitted he is “at the end of the track, running into injuries.” (Half a dozen Leafs have minor ailments). “We’re at least 30 goals down from last year.”

Not only that, but last night’s whitewashing, fourth for the Canadiens’ Charlie Hodge, was the ninth shutout loss for Toronto in 49 games. And it was the fourth time in nine games, third in five at Maple Leaf Gardens, that they have failed to score.

Since returning to action, goalie Johnny Bower has allowed 10 goals in six games, but the Leafs have taken only four of a dozen points in the standing.

This wasn’t one of the Canadiens’ superlative performances. For a good part of the time they were little more than adequate, and during an eight minute span late in the second period when their power play was on the ice for six minutes, they only had about two dangerous scoring chances.

However, their wingmen were backchecking and this, parlayed with their sizeable margin in speed, foiled the Leafs’ pattern of attack. This generally calls for the Leafs to shoot the puck into the opposition zone, then beat the enemy to it. During much of last night’s game, the Habs had a man back in plenty of time.

When the Leafs had the chances, such as in the first period when they had a territorial advantage, their shooting was atrocious. They only had seven shots that were on target, but must have taken close to 20 shots.

Eddie Shack missed a rebound, Bob Pulford, who set up two possible scores with perfect passes that were missed in the goalmouth, fanned on a rebound. Dave Keon, Bob Nevin and Dick Duff each shot wide on close-in chances.

In the final seconds of the period, George Armstrong tipped a pass over the net from the edge of the goal crease.

Dave Balon had three opportunities to add to the Canadiens’ margin, but Bower came up with the puck each time. Gilles Tremblay, whose goal clinched the win in the final two minutes, missed an open net, and in the second period, there was a span of 15 to 20 seconds when the Canadiens had Bower scrambling all over the place, but could not hit the net. Claude Provost also missed a clear target.

The upshot of it was that Rousseau’s 19th goal of the season, scored midway through the opening period, was the winner, his second against the Leafs in a week. Last Wednesday a shot bounced off his chest to provide a 2-1 victory.

Last night, he was standing about five feet from Bower when he redirected a long shot by defenceman Ted Harris into the net. Bower was desperately trying to get a view of what was going on as defenceman Kent Douglas had backed him into his line of sight.

The Leafs were employing a defence of Red Kelly and Douglas when Henri Richard and Gilles Tremblay broke away with only Douglas back to add the second goal. Tremblay fielded Richard’s pass and scored cleanly.

NOTES: Frank Mahovlich didn’t appear on his regular line until late in the first period but took a regular turn after that. He had one good chance but lost it when Terry Harper and Mahovlich crashed into Hodge, jarring the goal from its foundation…Jim Pappin, the Leafs’ other injured winger, played about half his normal shifts…Imlach benched Duff and Nevin at various times…He wasn’t satisfied with Douglas’ play. Given a regular assignment, he was beaten too regularly to retain it…The Leafs ran into three successive hooking penalties late in the middle period, indicating that the Habs were getting by and the Leafs reaching back to slow them down…Ted Harris, a minor leaguer from Cleveland, did a competent job as Jean-Guy Talbot’s replacement. Talbot is injured…The Leafs will have a day off from practice today as Imlach ponders his next move. There will be ice time available for any volunteers.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 6, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:41 – Shack, holding
MTL PEN – 03:25 – team, too many men on the ice
MTL GOAL – 09:20 – Rousseau (Harris, Harper)
MTL PEN – 17:34 – Laperrière, holding

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 06:31 – Laperrière, holding
TOR PEN – 12:41 – Duff, hooking
TOR PEN – 15:48 – Douglas, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:53 – Pulford, hooking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 12:32 – Rousseau, tripping
MTL GOAL – 18:20 – G. Tremblay (Richard, Harper)

MTL – Hodge (W + SO, 23-23)
TOR – Bower (L, 24-26)

MTL – 9+7+10 = 26
TOR – 7+8+8 = 23

MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, J.C. Tremblay, Bryan Watson. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, John Ferguson, Terry Gray, Bill Hicke, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Carl Brewer, Kent Douglas, 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 – 26-14-10 (.620)
TOR – 23-18-8 (.551)