Game 281 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2

Game 281
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2
Thursday, January 18, 1951
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Capt. Kennedy rekindled the spluttering fuse in the Toronto hockey powder keg to lead his Maple Leaf teammates to an impressive 5-2 win over the Montréal Canadiens here tonight.

And Bill “The Beast” Juzda, back in top form after an ankle injury-enforced layoff, was a mighty handy human detonator, as the Leafs showed remarkable signs of new life before 14,446 fans.

“Teeder” and his linemates were the heavy scoring boys, accounting for all but one of the Toronto goals, and actually adding another, which an incompetent goal judge failed to see.

Tonight the Leafs said it with goals, as they carried out their bosses’ instruction, given in a Broadway bus last Sunday night, and played positional hockey. Conn Smythe told his boys they were about a game away from return to form after their 2-1 loss in New York. Tonight, they gave evidence they might be back on the beam. They paid off for coach Joe Primeau’s special ice drill program of the past three days.

The teams were fairly even in the first period, each squad scoring once. But then the Leafs gained momentum. Their improving pace stepped up with the first appearance of Juzda. The clean little battler dropped first Vern Kaiser and then Paul Masnick early in the second, and his teammates took over.

The Torontos had a tremendous edge in that middle period, outshooting the Habs almost three to one. They peppered 19 shots at goalie Gerry McNeil, while Al Rollins handled a mere nine. But of all their shots in that 20 minutes, the Leafs were able to score only once officially.

However, they found the range in the final period, adding three goals after the Canadiens had tied the game up 2-2. On the night, the Leafs outshot the Canadiens 40-27.

In this one, the Leafs came from behind to win, twice seeing their lead dwindle. Kenny Mosdell put the Montréal team in front early in the game, making a beautiful play to lift the puck high in the net with a Toronto player almost on his back.

It took the inspired Kennedy less than three minutes to get the equalizer. He broke away on a pass up from Bill Barilko, made perfect use of Doug Harvey as a decoy, and fired a long one that McNeil never saw.

The only goal of the second was an unusual one which caught McNeil far out of his net. The Leafs were changing lines, and as Ray Timgren attempted to shoot the puck into the Toronto zone, Cal Gardner screamed for a pass. Ray scooped the puck toward Gardner as McNeil moved to block the original intention, and Cal had a nice, big empty net.

Billy Reay, a converted centreman playing right wing in the injured “Rocket” Richard’s place, evened the score early in the third on a clever effort. Bert Olmstead cut Elmer Lach loose. Rollins forced Lach to shoot wide, but Reay was in for the rebound and also had an empty net into which to fire.

Then Kennedy and his teammates put the decision beyond doubt. “Teeder” passed out from behind the Montréal net to Juzda, and Bill’s long shot was deflected into the net by the ready and waiting Sid Smith, a much improved boy now that his playmaker, Kennedy, is back.

Three minutes later, Smitty bagged his second. He raced in to retrieve a puck which Tod Sloan could not control and fired it into the net through a group of players. Another five minutes passed and Kennedy broke up a Montréal play at centre ice, pulled the opposition defence out of position, and set Sloan up. Tod stickhandled McNeil to the ice before firing.

That ended the scoring. The disputed goal came in the second period. Kennedy put the rubber in the net, but McNeil scooped it out with his hand, and goal judge Ed Charron ruled no goal. High in the press box, writers agreed it was a goal by quite a few inches. Several Montréal writers were very definite about it, as was an NHL official and a member of the Forum executive staff.

The Canadiens missed Richard, out with a charley horse. Andy Barbe, up from Pittsburgh for this game, only played right wing alongside Harry Watson and Gardner. Such was the Leaf prosperity that for the first time in many weeks, coach Primeau used his fourth line of Johnny McCormack, Timgren and Fleming MacKell as a unit.

For the Habs, Elmer Lach, Bert Olmstead and Billy Reay were the best.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 19, 1951

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 03:47 – Mosdell (Harmon)
TOR GOAL – 06:37 – Kennedy (Sloan)
TOR PEN – 09:11 – Barbe, holding
MTL PEN – 16:08 – Harvey, holding
TOR PEN – 19:59 – Gardner, holding

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 09:21 – Gardner (Timgren)
MTL PEN – 13:06 – MacKay, high sticking
TOR PEN – 15:15 – Mortson, tripping

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:01 – Reay (Lach, Olmstead)
TOR GOAL – 05:13 – Smith (Juzda, Kennedy)
TOR GOAL – 08:41 – Smith (Sloan)
TOR PEN – 10:38 – Thomson, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 13:17 – Sloan (Kennedy)
TOR PEN – 18:20 – Thomson, slashing + misconduct
MTL PEN – 18:24 – Mosdell, high sticking
TOR PEN – 18:24 – MacKell, high sticking

TOR – Rollins (W, 25-27)
MTL – McNeil (L, 35-40)

TORGoaltenders: Al Rollins. Defence: Bill Barilko, Fern Flaman, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Andy Barbe, Max Bentley, 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: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Norm Dussault, Vern Kaiser, Elmer Lach, Calum MacKay, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Claude Robert.

TOR – 21-11-9 (.622)
MTL – 15-20-8 (.442)