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NHL Finals Tied at 2-2

Apr. 18, 1964 - Andy Bathgate, a late-season Toronto pickup, picked up the Maple Leafs tonight and put them back in the favorite’s spot for a third straight Stanley Cup.

Bathgate scored on a 45-foot slap shot over goalie Terry Sawchuk’s right shoulder at 10:55 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and send the Leafs off to a 4-2 victory over the Red Wings. A crowd of 15,035, the largest turnout of the season at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, watched the action.

Frank Mahovlich got the insurance goal at 18:09 as the Leafs squared the best-of-seven finals at two games apiece and now have the advantage of home ice for the next one, Tuesday in Toronto.

Toronto played its best game of the finals but had to come from behind to win. Dave Keon, the Leafs’ best player in the game, scored his second of two goals while the Wings were two men short at 16:09 of the second period. That tied the score at 2-2 and set up Bathgate’s winner.

Red Wing defenseman Marcel Pronovost missed the puck inside the Toronto blue line and Bathgate took off with it. Pronovost was behind him at the Detroit blue line and swung at him but missed, and Bathgate pulled the trigger, slapping the puck into the upper left-hand corner for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Bathgate went to the Leafs along with Don McKenney in a deal with New York at the trading deadline February 22, when the Leafs were dragging and in danger of losing third place.

Bathgate and McKenney lifted the Leafs immediately, and Bathgate gave them their biggest lift tonight in a game that Red Wing manager-coach Sid Abel said was a “must” for Detroit.

“We played well,” said Abel after tonight’s game. “They had us on the run in the first period, then we came back to take it away in the second. We’ll regroup.”

From the Toronto dressing room, a dissenting opinion was expressed by Red Kelly, elder hockey statesman and once a Red Wing. “There’s a lot of wind blowing out that other locker room right now,” Kelly said. “But we have the home ice in two out of three, and that ought to do it. Detroit was calling this the big one. We won it. Now let’s see how big it was.”

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