Playoff Game 52 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Playoff Game 52
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 5
Saturday, April 10, 1965
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs staggered to the last step from Stanley Cup elimination Saturday night, 3-1 victims of the Montréal Canadiens.

The defending champions, who now trail 3-2 heading into the sixth part of the best-of-seven semifinal series at Maple Leaf Gardens tomorrow night, will never reject an easier victory.

The Canadiens played their poorest hockey of the series, but they won a game Erle Stanley Gardiner would have called “The Case Of The Reluctant Winners.”

The game was exciting enough for 15,187 fans, but it lacked the artistry expected from hockey’s greatest craftsmen.

After watching his Leafs give away the puck to the Canadiens 27 times in the first period, Toronto coach Punch Imlach rebuked his athletes during the intermission.

“Declare yourselves,” he said angrily. “Are you Canadiens or are you Leafs?”

Subsequently they were less generous but only slightly more effective, although for the first time in the series they were in front at the game’s midway point.

Bob Pulford scored at 3:45 of the second period, a goal that was originally credited to Red Kelly after Pulford had shot from a right angle into the crease.

“The puck bounced off (Gump) Worsley’s pads,” said Kelly, “and I gave it a good whack with my stick. But I wasn’t sure that the puck wasn’t already in. I told the scorer and he gave the goal to Bobby.”

Yvan Cournoyer tied the score while the Leafs were two men short, Bobby Rousseau scored the winning goal on a screened shot from the blueline that broke Johnny Bower’s stick, and Jean Béliveau punched the clincher into an open net after Bower had been lifted for an extra attacker in the last minute.

The Canadiens won the game in a final period in which they had only give shots. One of these was Béliveau’s empty net goal, and three others were from the blueline, including Rosseau’s winning goal, on which Kent Douglas screened Bower’s vision.

“I didn’t see the shot,” Bower explained later, “but I saw something halfway from the blueline. I guess it was just reflex action that got my stick over, but the puck broke the end off the stick and went in.”

It took the Canadiens only five seconds to convert their two-man advantage into the tying goal in the second period. George Armstrong had 16 seconds left on a holding penalty when Carl Brewer drew a similar sentence.

Ralph Backstrom won the faceoff from Bob Pulford and Claude Provost carried the puck in on left wing unchecked. He waited as Cournoyer sped toward the crease, then fired a sharp pass. Cournoyer, who had evaded Tim Horton, flipped a foot-high shot over Bower’s arm.

Twice before that the Leafs had a two-man advantage, although it wasn’t obvious from the trend of play. The first time it was for 32 seconds and the second time for 17 seconds but the Toronto power play was a sickly thing. Douglas, the key man, played at a most casual pace during such bonus periods and the rest of his cast were slowed by his lethargy.

Goalies Worsley and Bower, along with Rousseau, were Bert Olmstead’s three star selections for the game, but Montréal’s rangy sophomore defencemen Jacques Laperrière and Toronto’s Frank Mahovlich were the dominating performers.

Worsley’s big save of the game came in the first period when he lashed out with one foot to deflect a blistering shot by Mahovlich, who had been set up by Pulford.

“The Big M” played his finest hockey of the series, but couldn’t get much help. He made fine plays to set up shots by Andy Bathgate twice, Ron Stewart and his rookie lineman Ron Ellis and Pete Stemkowski, but when the Leafs weren’t shooting wide of the net they were driving the puck into Worsley’s pads.

Rousseau was one of the more effective Canadiens. He was in a belligerent mood, drew the first two penalties of the game, getting the second 12 seconds after his first expired. He drew a bead on every Leaf near the boards and didn’t suffer in retaliation until Eddie Shack made his second appearance of the game midway through the final period.

Imlach started five defencemen in front of Bower at the opening faceoff hoping to inspire a hard-hitting performance from his team. But the Canadiens were the most aggressive in a game that generally was played at a decorous pace.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 12, 1965

1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:10 – Rousseau, slashing
MTL PEN – 06:22 – Rousseau, charging
MTL PEN – 07:50 – Roberts, boarding
TOR PEN – 09:20 – Bathgate, slashing
TOR PEN – 19:05 – Ellis, tripping

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:45 – Pulford (Baun, Stewart)
TOR PEN – 06:26 – Horton, tripping
MTL PEN – 06:43 – Richard, hooking
MTL PEN – 07:47 – Béliveau, slashing
TOR PEN – 10:16 – Armstrong, holding
TOR PEN – 12:00 – Brewer, holding
MTL PP2 GOAL – 12:05 – Cournoyer (Provost, Backstrom)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 03:53 – Brewer, charging
TOR PEN – 05:59 – Pulford, roughing
MTL PEN – 05:59 – Laperrière, holding
MTL GOAL – 07:30 – Rousseau (Harris)
TOR PEN – 09:16 – Pulford, spearing
MTL PEN – 09:16 – Tremblay, roughing
TOR PEN – 11:32 – Shack, high sticking
MTL PEN – 15:43 – Talbot, interference
MTL EN GOAL – 19:16 – Béliveau (Talbot, Tremblay)

MTL – Worsley (W, 27-28)
TOR – Bower (L, 21-23)

MTLGoaltenders: Ernie Wakely, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Laperrière, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Red Berenson, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau.
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.