Game 279 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 279
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, December 6, 1950
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs outplayed the Montréal Canadiens by a wide margin last night, but found rookie goalie Gerry McNeil such a formidable barrier that they only won the game 3-1.

That the score wasn’t considerably higher was due almost entirely to the work of McNeil, who repeatedly turned aside shots from, at one time or another, the entire Leaf active roster. The young goalie received practically no support from his defence, and his forwards played most of the way as though they had never been introduced to each other.

The Leafs, finding the way to the Montréal goal more or less unprotected, gave McNeil some help on quite a few occasions with some erratic shooting. On the whole, the performance of the visitors must have added grey hairs (if possible) to the silver thatch of their coach, Dick Irvin.

All three Toronto goals were clear-cut efforts while the lone Montral tally came with about 10 players crowded in front of Turk Broda. The Leafs led 1-0 at the end of the first period, and 2-1 at the end of the second.

Both teams were forced to do a little lineup juggling due to injuries. Fleming MacKell gave a creditable performance at right wing on the Gardner line, in place of the injured Howie Meeker. Johnny McCormack took over centre ice duties for Max Bentley, out with a touch of blood poisoning, and had enough chances his first shift to give the Leafs at least a three goal lead.

McCormack and his linemates, Joe Klukay and Danny Lewicki, stormed the Montréal zone during the first period, and received a great hand from the 13,366 fans. But their failure to beat McNeil took something out of their effort, and they were not as effective in the last two periods.

Ken Mosdell was a surprise starter for the Habs, and set up players for Murdo MacKay, looking more like “Rocket” Richard every time out, and Floyd Curry. The most effective line had Elmer Lach centring Richard and Normie Dussault, and it was the last mentioned player who did most of the work.

Richard went spasmodically but chose to coast most of the way. Léo Gravelle did double duty on lines centred by Billy Reay and Paul Masnick, with Bert Hirschfeld and Vern Kaiser as left wing partners.

Back of the blueline, the Leafs’ four of Bill Juzda, Jim Thomson, Bill Barilko and Hugh Bolton, played much better than their opposition, Doug Harvey, Glen Harmon, Bud MacPherson and Tom Johnson.

Harry Watson opened the scoring in the first period with his first goal in eight games. Cal Gardner started the play deep in Toronto territory, passing up to MacKell. Flem fed Watson a blueline pass, and the big guy snared it with Richard almost on his toes. He skated by “The Rocket,” foxed Johnson and fired a low shot past McNeil.

Elmer Lach scored the equalizer in the second, tipping in Bud MacPherson’s long blueline shot on a pass from Richard after Dussault carried in.

It took Ted Kennedy exactly two minutes and one second to put the Leafs in front for the rest of the game. “Teeder” split the Montréal defence as the Leafs changed lines. He looked back in time to catch a pass-up from Sid Smith. The captain forced McNeil out of his net before shooting.

Klukay started that play by the simple expedient of calling to Gravelle for a pass, and the Montréaler obliged.

The last goal came in the last minute of play. Jimmy Thomson shot the puck into the Montréal zone, Smith outfought Harvey for possession behind the net, passed to Tod Sloan, and the league’s top scorer earned his 14th goal.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 7, 1950

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 09:46 – Watson (MacKell, Gardner)
TOR PEN – 14:45 – Sloan, interference
TOR PEN – 17:08 – Gardner, tripping
MTL PEN – 19:00 – MacKay, cross checking

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:22 – Lach (MacPherson, Richard)
TOR GOAL – 06:23 – Kennedy (Smith, Klukay)
MTL PEN – 12:21 – Johnson, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:50 – Johnson, tripping
TOR PEN – 02:15 – Sloan, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 19:12 – Sloan (Smith, Thomson)

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – McNeil (L)

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

TOR – 15-4-6 (.720)
MTL – 9-11-5 (.460)