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Canadiens Take 3-2 Lead over Toronto in NHL Semifinal

Apr. 4, 1964 - The crippled Montreal Canadiens put on a spirited second-period rush tonight and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2, at the Forum for a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven semifinal Stanley Cup hockey series.

The Canadiens had lost their star left wing, Gilles Tremblay, in the opening game and their center, Jean Beliveau, Thursday with a knee injury. But they responded well to adversity with a three-goal second period after Don McKenney had put the Leafs in front. The sixth game of the series will played at Maple Leaf Gardens Tuesday night.

McKenney sent the Leafs into the lead in a rough first period when he tipped in Andy Bathgate’s shot from the point. Nine penalties were called in the period.

In the second period, the Canadiens took a 3-2 lead. Dave Balon made it 1-1 when he moved over the Toronto blue line, cut right, and beat Johnny Bower with a 35-foot backhander. Bower stopped the puck with his stick hand, but it fell at his feet and trickled in. Claude Larose put Montreal in front, 2-1, as his 35-foot shot from a difficult angle caromed off Bower’s stick into the net.

Toronto’s McKenney tied the score as he tipped in Tim Horton’s shot from just off the crease. But the Habs regained the lead when Robert Rousseau (pictured #15) beat Bower with a 20-footer to the near side.

“Jim [Roberts] gave me a perfect pass,” Rousseau said afterward. “Bower moved to his right side — he knew that’s where I usually shoot — but left a foot or so open on his left. Somebody tried to poke-check me but didn’t hit my stick hard enough, and I managed to shoot into that little opening.”

Goalie Charlie Hodge got strong protection from his defense, with Tremblay as the standout, but he had to come up with several big saves. He beat George Armstrong when the Leaf captain was set up neatly for a 15-foot shot to the open side and from Frank Mahovlich as the big center cut in alone and Charlie cut off the angle neatly. Claude Provost scored the final Montreal goal with 30 seconds to go in the game.

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