Playoff Game 47 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Playoff Game 47
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 7
Thursday, April 9, 1964
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Dave Keon put them in and Johnny Bower kept them out, and between them they escorted the Toronto Maple Leafs into the Stanley Cup final round with a 3-1 victory over the Montréal Canadiens last night.

Keon escaped from a scoring slump to pump all three Toronto goals into the Montréal net and Bower produced his finest performance of the playoffs to balk a frenzied Montréal attack that spewed 18 shots at him in the final period alone.

In a pulsating contest with 14,541 customers roaring almost continually for the final 30 minutes, the teams uncorked the speed in a blistering exhibition of end-to-end rushing. It was by far the most exciting hockey of the seven game series, which the Leafs won four games to three.

The result wasn’t in until Keon plopped his third goal into a vacant Montréal cage with only 11 seconds left. Montréal had lifted goalie Charlie Hodge with 27 seconds to go with a faceoff in the Toronto end.

It was a perilous situation for the Leafs, who had been hanging on the ropes for most of the final period while the Habs were storming at them with every weapon they possessed.

Red Kelly saved the day. He carried the puck out of his own zone, skated up right wing and let go a backhander that hit the near goalpost.

Kelly pursued the puck behind the Montréal net, got it to George Armstrong and the Leafs captain slid it out in front, where Keon was unattended for an unobstructed shot at an untenanted goal.

Any other result would have been a miscarriage of justice for the Leafs. In the first period, when Keon scored his first two goals, they completely overpowered the Habs. They could have come out of that 20 minutes with a 4-0 lead, they dominated play so completely.

Charlie Hodge had his friendly goalpost working for him again. Although the little fellow made some remarkably fine saves, the post stopped three others, including Kelly’s last minute backhander.

Andy Bathgate flipped a high shot past Hodge from close quarters in the first period and hit the post near the cross bar. Kelly practically duplicated Bathgate’s effort in the third period. His high flip shot hit about the same spot and bounced down to the crease.

The game’s pattern changed after the first period, as the Canadiens started to assume command.

The Canadiens roared out in the second period, as if determined to wipe the Leafs off the mat.

The Leafs appeared under orders not to endanger their 2-0 advantage with retaliatory thrusts and they contained themselves with such self-control that the only penalty referee John Ashley called was against Allan Stanley for holding the puck. This offence hadn’t been called previously in the series.

Bower was magnificent in a Horatio-at-the-Bridge-stand. The veteran may have been guilty of some jittery play earlier in the series, but last night he was the solid comfort the Leafs needed to carry them safely through their most trying minutes.

His chief trouble came from Ralph Backstrom, who also had goalpost trouble. He hit the post in the second period, but he didn’t miss at 7:27 of the third period when one of Montréal’s furious flurries finally paid off.

Talbot’s shot from the point dropped in front of the Toronto goal and after Hicke missed one chance. Backstrom got the puck at the side, and from an angle, flipped it high into the goal with Bower still out of position from his previous save.

The Leafs’ opening goal was somewhat similar. Bobby Baun had taken a pass from the corner from George Armstrong and directed a shot at goal. The puck struck milling bodies in front of Hodge, and Don McKenney had one whack at it before Keon pounced on the loose puck and whacked it home.

Keon’s second goal came while the Leafs were shorthanded. Bathgate was serving a penalty when Armstrong took the puck out of his own zone, slid a perfect pass up to Keon, who outraced Jean-Guy Talbot and slapped a low shot into the far corner past Hodge.

The Leafs got the first two penalties of the game and while Frank Mahovlich and then Bathgate were off, the Canadiens never had a shot on Bower, so effective were the Keon-Armstrong, Pulford-Stewart penalty killing teams.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 10, 1964

1st Period

TOR PEN – 01:20 – Mahovlich, holding
TOR GOAL – 08:22 – Keon (McKenney, Baun)
TOR PEN – 09:40 – Bathgate, hooking
TOR SH GOAL – 11:15 – Keon (Armstrong)
MTL PEN – 16:06 – Ferguson, hooking
MTL PEN – 19:27 – Tremblay, spearing

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 02:14 – Stanley, delay of game
MTL PEN – 09:03 – Ferguson, charging
MTL PEN – 15:04 – Talbot, cross checking

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:27 – Backstrom (Talbot, Hicke)
TOR PEN – 17:27 – Ehman, holding
TOR EN GOAL – 19:49 – Keon (Armstrong, Kelly)

TOR – Bower (W, 38-39)
MTL – Hodge (L, 32-34)

TOR – 14+13+8 = 35
MTL – 8+13+18 = 39

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, 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.