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Leafs Shut Out

Mar. 26, 1964 - Charlie Hodge, the Montreal Canadiens’ wizard goalie, couldn’t contain a grin from ear to ear when a friend ribbed him about being pretty lucky against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I just hope the luck holds,” replied Hodge after blanking Toronto for the fifth time this season in Montreal’s 2-0 playoff victory tonight at the Forum.

“Claude Provost made a terrific play when he thought I was going to the other side,” said Bernie Geoffrion, who banged in the first goal — after getting nine game-winners during the regular season.

“[Toronto goalie] Johnny Bower made a terrific stop on Claude, but I was able to whip in the rebound,” explained Ralph Backstrom about the Habs’ second goal, just before the halfway mark of the second period.

These were the principal figures in the first game of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup semifinals, which continue in Montreal Saturday.

The Habs were in full command of this one with a tremendous skating and checking effort from all hands. They outplayed the Leafs so much in the second period that they outshot the visitors 21-5, and only several big saves by Bower held them to two goals.

With his shutout, Hodge reduced his NHL playoff average to 1.20 with only six goals against in five games. His only other playoff action was in 1954-55, when he allowed six goals in four games. Tonight was his first playoff shutout.

Hodge, who had a span of 217 minutes, 55 seconds in consecutive shutout time against the Leafs during the regular season, said he was lucky only once tonight. That was on Red Kelly’s near-goal.

“He had me beat all right,” said Charlie. “I went down on another play and saw Kelly taking his shot. I tried to get back up, but the puck missed the net. I couldn’t believe it. I guess he didn’t get a good enough piece of the puck and so couldn’t control it.”


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