Playoff Game 51 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Playoff Game 51
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 4
Thursday, April 8, 1965
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs jumped off Johnny Bower’s shoulders long enough to score three last-period goals and steal a 4-2 victory from the Montréal Canadiens last night that tied their Stanley Cup series 2-2.

The venerable Bower cheated the Canadiens scandalously, particularly in the second period and the Montréalers, who should have had a 6-1 edge, carried only a precarious 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.

The Leafs played their only consistently good hockey in the third period as they scored the tying and winning goals 40 seconds apart. Red Kelly completed the job with a shot into an empty Montréal net, his second goal of the game, after the Canadiens removed Gump Worsley for the last 47 seconds.

The only two scoring shots that beat Bower came in the first six minutes of play and the incredibly agile oldster didn’t have a chance on either. Bobby Rousseau and Henri Richard were the snipers and both goals came on Montréal power plays.

A crowd of 14,572 which had booed the Leafs’ pathetic ineptitude of the first 40 minutes finally got off their hands as the Leafs, probably shamed by Bower’s one-man stand, caught fire as the Canadiens’ flame dimmed just as swiftly.

Rookie Ron Ellis was the hero on offence. He made a great play on a breakaway pass flung by Pete Stemkowski to score the all-important tying goal at 5:16 of the third period.

Ellis broke between Jacques Laperrière and J.C. Tremblay, but lost the puck in his skates momentarily. This allowed both defencemen to catch up to him, but he managed somehow to retrieve control, fake Worsley, and slid the puck into the net.

The Leafs’ tremendous first-year performer later delivered the finest attacking move of the night with a glittering end-to-end rush on which he again shifted Worsley out of his pads, only to steer the puck past the open corner.

The Leafs were still surging in the Montréal end on the impetus of the Ellis goal, when 40 seconds later Dave Keon passed from behind the Montréal net and George Armstrong, cruising in front, fired a backhander that slipped past Worsley.

The ease with which the Canadiens scored their two goals, may have betrayed them in the final accounting.

With Andy Bathgate serving a tripping penalty, Laperrière’s shot from the point caromed to the left of Bower and Claude Provost whipped a fast pass across to the other side where Rousseau, unattended, simply deflected the puck into the open side.

Bob Pulford and Eddie Shack of the Leafs and Rousseau were in the penalty box when Jean Béliveau and Richard mesmerized the Leafs. Béliveau got the puck behind the Toronto net, surveyed a scene of immobile Leafs calmly, then passed out to Richard. “The Pocket Rocket,” with no one bothering him, pulled the trigger casually and it was 2-0.

At that point, the Canadiens may have become a little placid themselves. Although they toyed with the Leafs, forechecked the Toronto players into errors that would shame a peewee team, they didn’t appear to be bursting with scoring desire.

Despite this retreat into a defensive shell, the Canadiens had numerous fine scoring opportunities, all of which foundered on the sturdy frame of the oldest professional goalie of them all.

In the second period alone Bower deflected a point-blank blast by Richard, sprawled to balk John Ferguson on a breakaway, kicked out a sizzler by Béliveau, saved on a close-in play by Dick Duff, then made great saves when Larose and Ralph Backstrom were in alone on successive plays.

After dominating play as the Canadiens did in that second session, it was almost heretic that the Leafs should score its only goal. But Toronto’s unfearsome power play finally clicked with Ferguson serving time.

Frank Mahovlich engineered the attack that carried play into the Montréal end. The puck went back to the point where Tim Horton fired a shot that Kelly deflected past Worsley from the edge of the crease.

The Leafs’ most anxious moments after they took a 3-2 lead came on blazing shots from the point by Ted Harris and Jean-Guy Talbot. Both shots appeared screened, but Bower calmly blocked them.

With 47 seconds to go, Ron Stewart froze the puck in the Toronto end, giving the Canadiens the chance they wanted. With the faceoff in the Leafs area, Toe Blake removed Worsley and added a sixth man to his attack. The move backfired when Douglas blocked a shot and both Pulford and Kelly crossed the Montréal line with Laperrière the only defender. Laperrière dropped to his knees to block the shot but Kelly carried past him and slid the puck into the open net.

NOTES: Dave Balon crashed into Bower again last night and for the first time, the Canadiens drew a penalty for their attacks on the Toronto goalie. Later when Bower went behind his goal to field a puck, Ferguson bared into Bower, which indicates that at least Balon and Ferguson know who’s beating them…Gump Worsley made some fine saves too, including a dandy on Keon who zeroed in on a breakaway…Before Armstrong’s goal gave them a 3-2 edge, the Leafs had played 11 periods, five minutes and 45 seconds of regular game action without being in front. They were never ahead in regulation time during the first three games, although they won the third in overtime.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 9, 1965

1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:38 – Ferguson, cross checking
TOR PEN – 01:59 – Bathgate, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 03:48 – Rousseau (Laperrière, Provost)
TOR PEN – 05:14 – Pulford, elbowing
MTL PEN – 05:14 – Rousseau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 05:14 – Shack, high sticking
MTL PP GOAL – 05:45 – Richard (Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 07:04 – Balon, tripping
MTL PEN – 19:03 – Béliveau, tripping

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:33 – Larose, holding
TOR PEN – 08:57 – Brewer, cross checking
MTL PEN – 09:10 – Rousseau, tripping
TOR PEN – 12:39 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 14:54 – Ferguson, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 15:22 – Kelly (Horton, Mahovlich)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:16 – Ellis (Stemkowski)
TOR GOAL – 05:56 – Armstrong (Keon, Moore)
TOR PEN – 06:15 – Pulford, hooking
TOR PEN – 13:58 – Brewer, hooking
MTL PEN – 15:03 – Larose, hooking
TOR EN GOAL – 19:32 – Kelly (Pulford, Douglas)

TOR – Bower (W, 24-26)
MTL – Worsley (L, 29-32)

TOR – 12+6+15 = 33
MTL – 8+10+8 = 26

TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Kent Douglas, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Andy Bathgate, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Don McKenney, Dickie Moore, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Claude Dufour, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Dave Balon, Jean Béliveau (C), Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau.