Playoff Game 55 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0

Playoff Game 55
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 2
Saturday, April 9, 1966
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Somebody once called hockey “Murder On The Rocks.” The ingredients are simple: just pour the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens over ice.

Toe Blake, the scowling gent who coaches the Canadiens, couldn’t stomach the cocktail Saturday night, even though his Habs moved into a commanding two game lead over the Leafs with a 2-0 victory.

It was the second game of their Stanley Cup best-of-seven semi-final at The Forum. Montréal won the opener, 4-3. The series shifts to Toronto for games tomorrow and Thursday with the Leafs in trouble.

Blake was incensed over tactics employed by the Leafs and said he is not very pleased with George Imlach, who was also having trouble with his stomach.

Toe surveyed his dressing room, where Henri Richard limped about on a gimpy knee and J.C. Tremblay and Bobby Rousseau matched bruises. They gathered the reporters around him.

“I’m sick and tired of Imlach and King Clancy saying they’re going to ‘get’ this player or that player,” said Toe. “If anything happens to Rousseau or Tremblay in this series and they (the Leafs) do it illegally, I’ll do something about it.”

Toe said he had a photostat copy of a column written by Dick Beddoes in The Globe & Mail Friday in which Imlach is quoted as saying:

“Belt that Rousseau a couple of times and he caves in…I like big Jean (Béliveau) but we’ve got to take care of him early too.”

“If Richard’s name had been mentioned I’d do something about it right now,” snarled Blake, suggesting court action.

The Leafs roared out in the first period and tried to knock the Canadiens out of The Forum.

Rousseau and J.C. Tremblay, who are the first to admit they don’t care for rough stuff, were the targets and the burly Leafs were making contact regularly.

Imlach was felled by an attack of influenza that has spread throughout the Leaf lineup. Clancy, who was also infected, handled the team. Imlach didn’t have the strength to watch the game in the first periods and slept in the first aid room.

It was his kind of game. He would have liked it. There were two full-scale brawls and referee Bill Friday handed out 22 minor penalties, two majors and two misconducts before it was over.

The Leafs, however, found that the Canadiens have toughened up with fellows such as Ted Harris, Claude Larose, John Ferguson, Jim Roberts and Terry Harper in the lineup. The Habs withstood a two-period barrage, then scored twice in the third period to win.

Claude Provost broke the tension at 9:30 of the final period. His shot from a severe angle eluded Terry Sawchuk, who moved away from the post anticipating a pass to Gilles Tremblay in front. Sawchuk, who had made excellent saves to keep the Canadiens goalless that long, was caught by surprise and the puck dropped in off his leg pad as he moved.

The Canadiens enjoyed a four-three edge in manpower at the time and the holding penalty to Frank Mahovlich, which gave them the edge, did not sit well with the Leafs. Edward Shack and Claude Larose were sitting out majors for fighting.

“That was a cheap penalty to Mahovlich at that stage of the game,” grunted Leaf president Stafford Smythe, sporting a peeling Florida suntan.

“Richard did the same thing a few seconds later and Friday just stood there and looked at him,” complained Clancy.

The second goal came at 16:07. Ralph Backstrom skirted Bob Baun at centre ice, setting up a two-on-one break with he and Rousseau cruising in on Larry Hillman.

Backstrom shot, Sawchuk blocked it and Rousseau was there to pop in the rebound.

“Sawchuk backed in on the play,” said former Canadien goaltender Jacques Plante, covering the game for a Montréal newspaper. “If he had come out to block the angle, the rebound would have gone to the side instead of in front of the net.”

The Leafs did not have as many good scoring chances as the Canadiens, but Sawchuk was tested several times, especially when Béliveau broke through defencemen Tim Horton and Marcel Pronovost in the third period. Roberts came closest when he hit a post on a first-period breakaway.

This may have been the Leafs’ best shot at the Canadiens and they failed. Now they have to figure a way to win at home.

Blake’s comments, naturally, were geared to worry the Leafs, in the hope they would leave his Canadiens alone.

“If they want to knock the hell out of somebody, why don’t they try me?” he challenged.

“That’s their style of game,” smiled former Leaf Dick Duff in the Montréal room. “I remember a lot of them.”

Imlach’s reaction to it all? “They have got too much to say in Montréal.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 11, 1966

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:34 – Horton, boarding
MTL PEN – 03:55 – Larose, slashing
TOR PEN – 07:33 – Baun, interference
TOR PEN – 07:33 – Pulford, misconduct
TOR PEN – 10:11 – Stemkowski, boarding
TOR PEN – 12:02 – Horton, charging
MTL PEN – 12:02 – Harris, roughing
TOR PEN – 12:02 – Hillman, roughing
MTL PEN – 12:02 – J. Tremblay, roughing
MTL PEN – 12:35 – Harper, holding + misconduct
TOR PEN – 18:16 – Hillman, high sticking
MTL PEN – 18:16 – Béliveau, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:55 – Larose, elbowing
TOR PEN – 07:57 – Baun, tripping
MTL PEN – 11:14 – Rousseau, interference
TOR PEN – 14:14 – Stemkowski, holding
MTL PEN – 16:10 – Béliveau, roughing
TOR PEN – 16:10 – Horton, roughing

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 01:18 – Mahovlich, high sticking
MTL PEN – 01:18 – Harris, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:57 – Shack, fighting major
MTL PEN – 06:57 – Larose, fighting major
TOR PEN – 06:57 – Pulford, roughing
MTL PEN – 06:57 – Ferguson, roughing
TOR PEN – 07:06 – Mahovlich, holding
MTL GOAL – 09:30 – Provost (J. Tremblay, G. Tremblay)
MTL GOAL – 16:07 – Rousseau (Backstrom, Duff)

MTL – Worsley (W + SO, 25-25)
TOR – Sawchuk (L, 38-40)

MTL – 10+14+16 = 40
TOR – 3+15+7 = 25

MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Hodge, Gump Worsley. Defence: Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jim Roberts, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Claude Larose, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Bruce Gamble, Terry Sawchuk. Defence: Bobby Baun, Kent Douglas, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Wally Boyer, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Orland Kurtenbach, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, Brit Selby, Eddie Shack, Pete Stemkowski.