One of the unique aspects applicable to the Original Six era, was the constant battle for players to maintain their standing within the league. The most competitive on-ice position was in goal. There was only one opening per team for the padded warriors.
In the season bridging the 1950s and 1960s, the starting NHL goalies for 1959-60 were Jacques Plante (Montreal), Johnny Bower (Toronto), Terry Sawchuk (Detroit), Glenn Hall (Chicago), Gump Worsley (New York), and Harry Lumley (Boston).
There was not only a fierce battle between the two Canadian teams, but a rivalry between the two goalies - Plante and Bower.
Often, these two goalies would share the spotlight when Toronto and Montreal played at Maple Leaf Gardens or the Montreal Forum.
One such occasion was a game played on November 30, 1961 in Montreal. A newspaper headline summed-up the evenings activity - PLANTE AND BOWER STEAL 1-1 SHOW.
Both goalies held the opposition scoreless until 11:29 of the third period when Bernie Geoffrion scored. Then, Bert Olmstead scored 30 second later to even the score.
A report on the game gave Montreal the edge in the first period, and Toronto got the nod for the second peroid. The third was termed as being a "saw off".
The individual accolades kept coming back to Plante and Bower. In one sequence of play, Bower made the "best save of the season" on Dickie Moore. Also, Bower "robbed" Don Marshall while the Leafs had the man-advantage. As for Plante, he stoned scoring chances by Frank Mahovlich, Allan Stanley, George Armstrong, and Dick Duff.
At games end, Plante made 32 saves and Bower made 31. Both goalies received an ovation from the appreciative crowd.
Plante and Bower, each fighting to maintain their job security. Also, making their path to the Hockey Hall of Fame.