Game 468 – Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0

Game 468
Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0
Wednesday, March 11, 1964
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Charlie Hodge’s spectacular goaltending last night forced the Toronto Maple Leafs to settle for a 1-0 victory in a National Hockey League game in which they could conceivably have routed the Montréal Canadiens.

Frank Mahovlich scored the only goal in the victory that ended the Leafs’ five game losing streak against Montréal. It was also the first goal the Leafs had scored on Hodge in 226 minutes and 41 seconds.

The victory moved Toronto four points ahead of the fourth place Detroit Red Wings, and the defeat prevented the Canadiens from regaining a tie for first place with the Chicago Black Hawks.

The Hawks, who have played one more game than the Canadiens, are at Montréal Saturday night. The Canadiens, now winless in five games – they have one tie – are in a position where they need to beat the Hawks to retain a chance of finishing first. Their current slump, incidentally, is the Habs; first of the season. Prior to it they hadn’t lost two consecutive games.

Leafs goalie Johnny Bower made 26 saves in earning his fifth shutout. Bower also suffered a one stitch cut in his lower lip during a scramble in the first period. The Leafs were attempting to keep a loose puck away from Gilles Tremblay when Tremblay’s stick caught Bower’s mouth.

Tremblay and his line with Henri Richard and Bobby Rousseau had the most dangerous chances against Bower, with Tremblay, a particular Leaf tormentor, forcing the Leafs goalie to three of his top saves. Tremblay also missed an open corner. Jean Béliveau, reported to have slipped from the form which earned his midseason all star nomination, was another Canadiens standout.

But primarily this was Hodge’s hockey game. And 14,041 fans in the Gardens gave him a standing ovation when he was named the first star.

His play put the pressure squarely on Bower. The latter needed to stop every shot, and did, once again solidifying his position as the Leafs’ most valuable player.

Hodge did not get the defensive assistance afforded Bower. Taking their cue from Bobby Baun’s rambunctious efforts of the past two games, the Leaf defencemen rediscovered body checking. Tim Horton contributed his best game in some time.

The Leafs were clearing rebounds, saving Bower from the shooting gallery treatment their forwards were able to give Hodge on several occasions.

Consequently, the shots on goal tally, 26 by each team, was deceiving.

Bower, rightly was the second star, Mahovlich number three. For some obscure reason, known only to the spectators, the latter selection was booed.

Mahovlich, absent from Tuesday’s workout through illness, scored at 8:46 of the first period as referee Frank Udvari signalled a penalty against Terry Harper for bashing Andy Bathgate into the boards. The goal nullified the penalty. “The Big M” got his third goal in two games, 23rd of the season, by deflecting Horton’s slap shot from the point.

Earlier, Don McKenney had been in alone, but couldn’t get the puck over a downed Hodge. Later in the same period, Hodge made three point blank stops on Bathgate and Bob Pulford.

Hodge’s finest work came in the final three minutes of the middle period. He saved against Dave Keon, Bathgate, then Bathgate again on the same rush. Then he blocked Mahvolich’s attempt to deflect a puck in flight. In the final minute, he made consecutive stops off Pulford, Jim Pappin and Ron Stewart, the latter on a rising backhander that seemed certain to go in.

In the final 20 minutes, he saved against Stewart on a two-on-one break, then against Pappin seconds later. He was fortunate when Pappin missed the net on a breakaway and in the final seconds, stopped Bathgate for another breakaway.

Ron Ellis, the 19-year-old Marlboro scoring star, played all shifts at right wing with Red Kelly and Mahovlich. He made few mistakes and certainly did not look out of place, although he didn’t get a shot on goal. The Canadiens took two penalties for fouling him. On one, Béliveau grabbed him as he was breaking through for a shot. He also appeared on two power plays.

The Leafs continued as the league’s most effective penalty killers and in this regard don’t appear to be missing captain George Armstrong. The foursome of Pulford and Stewart, Keon and McKenney (subbing for Armstrong) have held the opposition goalless through 15 power plays in three games.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 12, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 04:49 – Horton, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:43 – Brewer, roughing
MTL PEN – 06:43 – Hicke, cross checking
TOR GOAL – 08:46 – Mahovlich (Hillman, Horton)
MTL PEN – 09:21 – Ferguson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 16:49 – Ferguson, cross checking
MTL PEN – 19:54 – Ferguson, charging
TOR PEN – 19:54 – Pulford, slashing

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:44 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 06:02 – Béliveau, hooking
TOR PEN – 09:39 – Pappin, holding
TOR PEN – 13:36 – Bathgate, tripping

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 14:23 – Laperrière, tripping
TOR PEN – 16:29 – Horton, holding

TOR – Bower (W + SO, 26-26)
MTL – Hodge (L, 25-26)

TOR – 10+9+7 = 26
MTL – 10+9+7 = 26

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: Andy Bathgate, Ron Ellis, Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Don McKenney, Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge. Defence: Terry Harper, Jacques Laperrière, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, John Ferguson, Bernie Geoffrion, Bill Hicke, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.

TOR – 29-25-11 (.531)
MTL – 33-20-12 (.600)


Charlie Hodge (MTL)
⭐⭐ Johnny Bower (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Frank Mahovlich (TOR)