Game 278 – Canadiens 0, Maple Leafs 0

Game 278
Canadiens 0, Maple Leafs 0
Thursday, November 30, 1950
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens battled to a goalless deadlock here tonight that saw two rookie goalies steal most of the limelight.

For the Leafs’ Al Rollins, who received the nod to go to work a half hour before game time, it was his first shutout of this season and the second of his brief NHL career. It stretched his undefeated record to eight games, composed of six wins and two ties in the games he has played this year.

His cool performance in one of the most rabid hockey towns in the National League further accentuated the problem confronting the Leafian management. Both Rollins and his veteran rival for netminding duties, Turk Broda, were at the rink before game time, but the rookie won the assignment on the strength of Toronto’s belief of sticking with a winning combination.

For the Canadiens’ Gerry McNeil, it was his fourth shutout of the season, and tied him with Broda. McNeil also became the first goalie to shut out the Leafs this season. The Leafs had managed to score at least one goal in 21 games before tonight.

It was a close checking game all the way, so much so that play often appeared ragged in the centre zone as the puck bounced from stick to stick.

Referee George Gravel ruled with a strong thumb, issuing 14 minor penalties. He banished four Leafs in the first period and for a space of 10 seconds, Toronto was two men short. However, the tremendous defensive work of such players as Bill Juzda, Hugh Bolton, Jim Thomson, Ray Timgren, Johnny McCormack, Ted Kennedy and Joe Klukay took all the pep from any Montréal power play.

When the Leafs had the advantage, they too were up against some stiff checking, with Elmer Lach, Floyd Curry, Doug Harvey and Bud MacPherson doing the most work.

At the risk of sounding repetitous, it was a case of check, check and double check. The Canadiens outshot the Leafs by a small margin, but the shots were only 20 to 17 and most were off scrambly plays. Neither goalie had more than half a dozen clean shots to handle all evening.

The tie kept the Leafs’ most recent undefeated streak alive, a streak that began with a win over the Canadiens in Toronto five games ago.

Gus Mortson did not play for the Leafs, but rookie Bolton was a great substitute. Ken Mosdell, also out with an injury, was replaced by Gerry Desaulniers, up from the amateur Royals for one game.

The Canadiens missed two golden opportunities to wrap up the game before it was two minutes old. In the first rush into the Toronto zone, Reay hit a post with Rollins flat on his back and out of his net. The ensuing scramble resulted in a holding penalty to Watson, and while he was off Vern Kaiser went in on Rollins all alone from the blueline. The pair looked like two fighter cocks stalking each other. Kaiser slowed down to a crawl, looking for an opening, but Al refused to budge, successfully blocking a close-in shot.

The Leafs had two chances in that opening period, Watson’s hard shot flying over the net and Sloan’s bid on a Toronto ganging attack was wide of an open net.

Each team had one clear cut chance in the second period. Desaulniers carrying in to set up Curry, but Floyd was off balance and his shot was wide. It was the same in the third period with the checking close, neither team had more than the odd opportunity for a clear shot.

McNeil juggled Bentley’s shot early in the final period, and then Kennedy came flying back to check Gravelle, who appeared to be off on a breakaway with only Rollins in front of him.

NOTES: Clint Benedict, a member of the Ottawa Senators of 20 years ago, was a spectator. He’s a civic inspector in Ottawa now…Montréal sportsmen feted Newsy Lalonde at Cafe Martin after the game, celebrating his appointment to hockey’s Hall of Fame.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 1, 1950

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:31 – Watson, holding
MTL PEN – 03:27 – MacKay, interference
TOR PEN – 13:27 – Watson, holding
TOR PEN – 15:17 – Juzda, delay of game
TOR PEN – 19:08 – Kennedy, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:11 – Johnson, hooking
MTL PEN – 09:22 – Bouchard, roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 09:22 – Barilko, roughing
MTL PEN – 13:01 – Harmon, high sticking
TOR PEN – 13:01 – Sloan, high sticking
MTL PEN – 16:22 – Lach, slashing
TOR PEN – 18:53 – Gardner, interference

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 05:54 – Barilko, tripping

MTL – McNeil (T + SO, 17-17)
TOR – Rollins (T + SO, 20-20)

MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Gerard Desaulniers, Norm Dussault, Léo Gravelle, Bert Hirschfeld, Vern Kaiser, Elmer Lach, Calum MacKay, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Al Rollins. Defence: Bill Barilko, Hugh Bolton, Bill Juzda, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Danny Lewicki, Fleming MacKell, John McCormack, Howie Meeker, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.

MTL – 8-9-5 (.477)
TOR – 14-4-4 (.727)