Playoff Game 45 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2

Playoff Game 45
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 5
Saturday, April 4, 1964
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens used two soft goals and another into an empty net to hustle their way to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night.

Results left the Canadiens with a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup best-of-seven semifinal series and left the Leafs 60 minutes away from an early start on the golf season.

The sixth game of the series will go at Maple Leaf Gardens tomorrow night. Unless the Leafs patch their frayed deportment in a hurry, they can cancel travel arrangements to Montréal for a seventh game Thursday night.

The Leafs played Saturday with a lack of urgency that bordered almost on the insolent. Any show of a killer instinct in the first period could have clinched the game. The Canadiens opened in submissive style as though expecting an early knockout punch. When the Leafs failed to show it, the Habs accepted the reprieve and simply outhustled the defending Cup champions to the wire.

Don McKenney scored both Toronto goals. He deflected Andy Bathgate’s shot for a 1-0 lead in the first period. He deflected George Armstrong’s shot to tie the score 2-2 in the second period. These were the only liberties permitted by Charlie Hodge, who tended his goal superbly.

Dave Balon, Claude Larose and Bobby Rousseau put second period shots past Johnny Bower. Claude Provost steered home the final shot into an empty Toronto goal 30 seconds before the final buzzer.

Ironically, two of the most dependable members of the Toronto cast made rich contributions to the Montréal victory. Red Kelly was victimized on two breakaway goals and Bower fanned on the other two.

Balon’s goal that tied the score 1-1 at 3:25 of the second period was a routine backhander that somehow slipped between Bower’s pads. Larose, called up from Omaha as replacement for the injured Jean Béliveau, fired from an almost impossible angle and the puck squeezed between the near post and Bower.

Rousseau, who played his finest game of the series, scored the winning goal while the Leafs had a man advantage. Balon was off for using an elbow to imprint Kelly’s features on the side glass and coach Punch Imlach sent out his power play unit, which had scored four times in the previous game.

Rookie Jim Roberts, a surprisingly fine defensive giant for the Habs, supplied the crusher when he intercepted a Kelly pass and fed a long forward pass to Rousseau. Rapid Robert flashed in on Bower and beat him cleanly on the short side.

About 50 seconds from the end, Imlach lifted Bower for a sixth attacker, and seconds later the Leafs forced a faceoff in the Montréal zone.

Montréal coach Toe Blake made a last minute switch, sending Provost out to replace Henri Richard. Whatever impelled this maneuver, it couldn’t be faulted for results. Provost picked off a Kelly pass and scooted down right wing to ease the puck into a wide open Toronto goal.

With two of Montréal’s big scoring guns out of action, Gil Tremblay with a cracked ankle and Béliveau with a damaged knee, the crowd of 14,904 was surprisingly decorous in the opening moments, almost as if it anticipated defeat for the injury-stricken Habs.

Possibly they were waiting for a resumption of the brawling type of action that dominated the preceding game. However, neither team indicated interest in a repetition, although Bobby Baun knocked down Balon and Richard with lusty checks in the first six minutes.

The most forceful Toronto player was Bob Pulford, with another fine two-way performance. Allan Stanley handed out some hard checks in the final period particularly, but the Leafs, when they did emerge from their apathetic shell, never could find a weakness in Hodge’s goaltending.

They had their chances. Ron Stewart, Dave Keon and Frank Mahovlich all came calling but the little veteran wouldn’t open the door.

Hodge didn’t gain three star rating, but he was the best player. Jacques Laperrière and J.C. Tremblay gave him solid help on defence, and up front Rousseau, Richard, Balon and Hicke had moments of prominence.

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

1st Period

TOR PEN – 00:47 – Pulford, high sticking
MTL PEN – 00:47 – Tremblay, roughing
TOR PEN – 02:20 – Stanley, holding
TOR GOAL – 05:37 – McKenney (Bathgate, Horton)
MTL PEN – 06:37 – Laperrière, hooking
MTL PEN – 08:48 – Balon, charging
TOR PEN – 09:08 – Mahovlich, boarding
MTL PEN – 09:08 – Backstrom, charging
TOR PEN – 13:06 – Horton, holding
TOR PEN – 17:27 – Baun, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:25 – Balon
MTL PEN – 04:24 – Ferguson, tripping
TOR PEN – 06:41 – Baun, boarding
MTL GOAL – 12:03 – Larose (Rousseau)
TOR GOAL – 17:20 – McKenney (Armstrong, Horton)
MTL PEN – 18:43 – Balon, elbowing
MTL SH GOAL – 19:35 – Rousseau (Roberts)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 09:39 – Kelly, holding
MTL PEN – 11:35 – Roberts, interference + misconduct
MTL EN GOAL – 19:30 – Provost

MTL – Hodge (W, 28-30)
TOR – Bower (L, 24-27)

MTL – 7+13+8 = 28
TOR – 9+9+12 = 30

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