Playoff Game 46 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0

Playoff Game 46
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 6
Tuesday, April 7, 1964
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Johnny Bower gave the back of his hand to adversity and nothing at all to the Montréal Canadiens last night, as he guided the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-0 win over the Habitants.

Bower’s return to the fine goaltending standard he set in season play enabled the Leafs to square the Stanley Cup semifinal series at three games each. The deciding game will be played in Montréal tomorrow night.

To the acclaim of 14,417 customers the Leafs took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Don McKenney and Bobby Baun. Andy Bathgate closed the scoring book in the third period.

The game was played at a fast and clean pace for most of the journey. Midway in the final period the Canadiens, trailing 3-0, tried to change the pattern with a rousing, thumping game. Quality deteriorated then, but the Leafs countered Montréal’s strategy with Eddie Shack and played out the string content with a hockey victory.

Bower, repaying a solid vote of confidence given to him by coach Punch Imlach a day earlier, was at his finest in the first period to balk the Habs who seemed determined to throw everything into a quick start.

The Leafs stayed with them and actually had an edge in shots for the 20 minutes. The Canadiens lost a bit of their impetus in the second period and the Leafs dominated the third convincingly.

Lucky goals and goalposts, which have been prominent in the series, favoured the Leafs last night. A first period backhander by John Ferguson hit the post and bounced back out under Bower’s arm at a time when the score would have kept the fire of enthusiasm burning brightly for the Montréalers.

The second and comforting Toronto goal was of the flukey variety, resulting from a breakaway by Baun.

Allan Stanley had fed Baun the breakaway pass, but cost himself a clear shot when he lost control of the puck inside the blueline. Jean-Guy Talbot caught Baun then. As they tussled for the sliding puck, Hodge went down on his knees to block.

The puck kept sliding, found a chink in the goaler’s pads and slid under Hodge with barely enough motion to reach the back of the net.

The Leafs received an assist from linesman George Hayes on the opening goal by McKenney at 8:59 of the second period. Stanley, trying to clear into the corner at the Montréal end, hit Hayes with the puck. Stanley moved in a few strides, and this time had a clear shot on goal.

Hodge blocked it, but the puck dropped in front, outside the crease as players for both teams sought control. McKenney won the struggle and lifted a backhander that cleared Hodge, who was sprawled across his goalmouth.

The Montréal goal was wide open for Bathgate’s goal at 6:10 of the final period. Baun, an outstanding performer both ways, carried the puck into the Montréal end and wound up involved in a scramble in front of the net. Hodge darted out to cover Pulford who was trying for elbow room to get a shot away. The puck bounced clear to Bathgate, who had a wide open target.

However, the big man for the Leafs was Bower, who regained the solid touch he exhibited during the regular season.

In the first period he kicked out a hard shot by Bernie Geoffrion, saw the puck bounce off Ralph Backstrom’s chest and roll past an open corner, and beat Claude Provost and Dave Balon on close-in tries.

Henri Richard blasted a hard shot in the second period that Bower’s lashing toe just deflected. Then Bower smartly covered a quick backhander from Provost following a faceoff in the Toronto zone.

The Leafs had Gerry Ehman as an added starter, but the high scoring minor league veteran, up from Rochester, appeared only briefly in the second and third periods and had no opportunity to distinguish himself.

Defenceman Larry Hillman also made one of his infrequent appearances. When Frank Mahovlich drew a hooking penalty with 67 seconds to go, Hillman and Eddie Shack took over the penalty killing role with Stanley and Tim Horton. They defended well.

While there was no sign of fraternalism between the teams, neither was open warfare imminent until, with 10 minutes to go, the Montréal line of Red Berenson, Billy Hicke and Claude Larose hopped into action.

Hicke, regarded highly in the bonecrushing business, smashed into three Leafs in a row, but all the spirited Montréal threesome won was a penalty to Berenson. When Talbot took a cross checking penalty, the Leafs had a two man advantage for 10 seconds, but lost the advantage when the Habs cleared the puck down ice.

Imlach retaliated against this muscle-flaunting by unleashing Shack, who spent most of the evening on the bench. Shack responded with his usual disregard for niceties and drew two penalties, but took a rival with him each time.

At 13:18, Jim Roberts charged Shack, who responded with an elbow smash. Eddie was back on the ice for 27 seconds when Ferguson lined him up on the board and charged. Fergy rebounded to the ice and Shack fell on top trying to pummel him. They were separated quickly.

Stanley, who has dealt good bodychecks in this series, added another to his list in the second period when he caught Backstrom with a lusty jolt. Backstrom never returned to action. He was benched with a charley horse, which is reported as being not severe.

George Armstrong was winded halfway through the second period when he and Ferguson collided unintentionally. The game was delayed a couple of minutes while he recovered.

The Canadiens are expected to have Jean Béliveau back in the lineup for the deciding game of the series. This means Claude Larose, recalled from Omaha as an emergency replacement when Béliveau hurt his knee in the fifth game, will not play.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 8, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 06:19 – Stanley, tripping
MTL PEN – 07:19 – Laperrière, high sticking
TOR PEN – 13:11 – Brewer, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 01:25 – Laperrière, hooking
MTL PEN – 04:59 – Provost, hooking
TOR PEN – 06:28 – Horton, tripping
TOR GOAL – 08:59 – McKenney (Stanley, Keon)
TOR PEN – 11:53 – Baun, tripping
TOR GOAL – 14:07 – Baun (Stanley)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 06:10 – Bathgate (Kelly, Pulford)
MTL PEN – 10:03 – Berenson, tripping
MTL PEN – 11:53 – Talbot, cross checking
TOR PEN – 13:08 – Shack, elbowing
MTL PEN – 13:08 – Roberts, charging
TOR PEN – 15:45 – Shack, elbowing
MTL PEN – 15:45 – Ferguson, charging
TOR PEN – 18:53 – Mahovlich, hooking

TOR – Bower (W + SO, 25-25)
MTL – Hodge (L, 29-32)

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Andy Bathgate, Gerry Ehman, 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, Red Berenson, John Ferguson, Bernie Geoffrion, Bill Hicke, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau.