One of the most famous games in Leaf history is Game 7 of the 1964 semi-finals against Montreal.
The Leafs were coming off two Cup years in succession, but were life and death to stay with Montreal in that back and forth series. Montreal was re-loading after a few tough years (by their standards) and led the series 3-games to 2 heading to Toronto for Game 6.
But the defending champs gained some momentum with a 3-0 win at home, to tie the series at 3 games apiece. (We’ve included a photo of Bobby Baun scoring for Toronto in Game 6 at the Gardens.)
That’s when Davey Keon took over.
Keon was not only my favorite as a young Leaf fan in the early 60s, he was the favorite player of thousands of kids across the country. I’ll write more about Keon on other occasions, but in a splendid Leaf career that spanned 15 seasons—and many highlights—that night in April of 1964 stands near or at the top of the list of Keon’s finest games. (I truly believe Keon may have been the finest all-around player in the game in his first five or six seasons in the league, but I’ll go into that another time.)
Hodge, who was in net for Montreal the night Gordie Howe scored career goal #545 and broke Rocket Richard’s goal-scoring record at the Olympia in Detroit (Worsley was in goal for #544 a few games earlier), remained with the Habs the next three seasons, helping them win Cups both years, though Worsley was the main man in the playoffs. Young Rogatien Vachon was called up to play for Montreal toward the end of the 1966-’67 season, essentially making Hodge a third-stringer.
When expansion hit after that season, Hodge finished his career with the Oakland Seals and Vancouver Canucks- a talented goalie in his playing days and a respected scout in retirement with Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.