Playoff Game 44 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3

Playoff Game 44
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 4
Thursday, April 2, 1964
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Frank Mahovlich, the hockey player who has all the skills to lead the Leafs to another Stanley Cup, is confounding to dietitians.

Last Saturday afternoon in Montréal he turned his nose up at a pregame steak and settled for two eggs, subsisting for the remainder of the day on a few long sticks of licorice. That was the night he took command of the hockey game in the Forum, the Leafs winning 2-1 to tie the series.

He was the big charger again last night, his two goals and three assists being one point short of the playoff record held by former Montréal Canadien Dickie Moore. He had his eggs again for his pregame meal. Three of them this time, but they were merely the topping for a big, juicy steak.

“Well maybe not a whole steak, just a half of one,” Mahovlich laughed as he dried off in a crowded Toronto dressing room. “I played better tonight than Tuesday,” assessed the player who has few equals when he’s at his best.

Mahovlich was not aware that he was close to tying a league record. “I had enough chances to break the record,” he said, “but even if I had known I could not have tried any harder.”

As Mahovlich goes so goes Red Kelly, and the Liberal member of Parliament from York West was at his best last night. He did most of the work to set up Frank’s first goal, an easy backhand flip into an empty net. Kelly had bulled his way down right wing, shooting across the net. He fell with goalie Charlie Hodge and “The Big M” stepped over them to lift the puck home.

Earlier, Mahovlich did the heavy work for Kelly’s goal, taking his man out of the play in the corner and sliding a pass behind the net to George Armstrong, who relayed it out front to Kelly.

Kelly had a word of praise for Henri Richard, the Canadiens’ tough little centre who took a physical pounding from Eddie Shack, the white man’s Bobo Brazil. Shack will probably be charged with plagiarism for stealing Bob’s favourite weapon, the Koko Konk. Shack administered a headbutt that must have made wrestling promoter Frank Tunney blush with envy. It was enough to give a bigger man a headache and while Richard came out of the nonsense with a cut right eye he didn’t back down from his big opponent.

Richard was one of the best of the Canadiens. Of his fight he said: “That was a good fight. We both hit each other pretty good.”

I thought the Leafs won the game when they won the first period brawling. Ron Stewart in particular battled hard all night and in a game with so much tension and tempers bound to overflow, it can at least be recorded that sticks were dropped for the midway mucking about.

Milt Schmidt, the coach of the Boston Bruins who watched his first game of the Toronto-Montréal series, thought the Canadiens came out of the game the fresher team. “I thought the Leafs were sagging toward the end of both the first and second periods and was surprised they finished so strongly. This series will depend on legs. I know the Canadiens have them, I’m not so sure about the other team.”

If as Schmidt suggests, the Canadiens have an advantage in condition through age (they average five years younger than the Leafs) an inquiry to Jean Béliveau may offset it. Like Mahovlich, he’s the man the Canadiens cunt on to spark an attack. He twisted his knee when hit by Shack in the second period and didn’t play in the third.

Montréal physiotherapist Bill Head said Béliveau would be examined in Montréal today but thought he had torn ligaments. “If so he could miss Saturday’s game.”

Any observation about the fourth game of this tough series of playoff hockey would be incomplete without mention of Allan Stanley. Once again he was a standout on defence, probably the most effective Toronto player through the four games, despite his unfortunate faux pas late in the third game that enabled the Canadiens to score the winning goal.

And another encouraging note for Toronto fans was the return to form of George Armstrong. The team captain was at his best killing penalties late in the game.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 3, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:15 – Horton, roughing
MTL PEN – 01:15 – Richard, roughing
MTL PEN – 02:27 – Harper, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 02:59 – Bathgate (Mahovlich, Kelly)
TOR PEN – 03:47 – Stewart, cross checking + fighting major
MTL PEN – 03:47 – Balon, fighting major
TOR PEN – 03:47 – Shack, fighting major
MTL PEN – 03:47 – Richard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 03:47 – Pulford, roughing
MTL PEN – 03:47 – Provost, roughing
TOR PEN – 06:33 – Baun, interference
MTL PEN – 08:41 – Berenson, hooking
MTL GOAL – 10:43 – Tremblay
MTL PEN – 16:12 – Béliveau, hooking + misconduct
TOR PP GOAL – 16:34 – Armstrong (Mahovlich, McKenney)
TOR PEN – 19:09 – Brewer, holding

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:40 – Baun, charging
MTL PEN – 05:40 – Balon, roughing
TOR PEN – 05:40 – Bathgate, roughing
MTL PEN – 07:20 – Geoffrion, slashing
TOR PP GOAL – 08:42 – Kelly (Armstrong, Mahovlich)
TOR GOAL – 10:08 – Mahovlich (Kelly)
TOR PEN – 10:59 – Brewer, hooking
MTL PEN – 11:15 – Hicke, hooking
TOR PEN – 14:04 – Baun, charging
MTL GOAL – 19:15 – Béliveau (Tremblay)
MTL PEN – 19:34 – Provost, boarding + misconduct
TOR PP GOAL – 19:40 – Mahovlich (McKenney, Bathgate)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:26 – Laperrière
TOR PEN – 04:03 – Baun, tripping
TOR PEN – 17:20 – Horton, charging
TOR PEN – 19:55 – Stewart, fighting major + misconduct
MTL PEN – 19:55 – Ferguson, elbowing + fighting major

TOR – Bower (W, 31-34)
MTL – Hodge (L, 34-39)

TOR – 12+15+12 = 39
MTL – 12+9+13 = 34

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