More Info on Jacques Plante
Nov. 1, 1959 - Nothing could mask the facial damage on the night Jacques Plante went down in Madison Square Garden. Nothing, that is, but a mask.
Early in the first period, a hard backhander by the Rangers' Andy Bathgate struck Plante in the face, a screened shot the Montreal goaltender never saw. The game was delayed while Plante, his face bleeding and swollen, received seven stitches.
The goalie told coach Toe Blake he didn't want to return without his mask, a crude plastic covering he'd worn often in practice but never in a game. Blake fervently opposed the idea, but without a backup goalie he relented.
A masked Plante returned to the ice, shocking a sellout crowd of 15,925 and Rangers players alike. He made 24 more saves and Montreal won 3-1.
Afterwards, Plante said the mask was comfortable, didn't reduce his vision and was needed. "The game has improved so much," he said. "It's become much tougher on goalies. They're starting to realize it."
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