Game 284 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 284
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, February 7, 1951
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Ted Kennedy’s Maple Leaf line, apparently back in full point-getting bloom, potted the entire three goal output last night as the captain and his kids skated hard to a 3-1 nod over the once-infamous Montréal Canadiens.

The 10th straight game without loss for the Leafs marked the ninth win over the Habitants this NHL season, against one tie and a defeat.

Opportunist Sid Smith scored twice, Tod Sloan once, and Kennedy set up the initial and final goals before a gathering of 14,083 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Normand Dussault, the little scooter of the Flying Frenchmen, made it a short-lived 1-1 tie near the 13 minute mark of the game when his slapshot from near the Leaf blueline was in the cage before goalie Al Rollins could plot its course.

Hockey royalty’s “Rocket” Richard, tied up most of the way by tenacious Leaf checking, gathered nary a point in a jet-like, exciting affair that proved one of the best games of the season here. Although “The Rocket” managed a couple of shots on goal, he gave an indication of how he felt about things for the most part when he shook his head after Joe Klukay neatly poked the puck off his stick on one occasion. While “The Rocket” was all over the pond in an effort to break loose, his main bugaboos were left wingers Harry Watson, Smith and Danny Lewicki.

The same Lewicki, improving all the time, gave every indication of greatness and, except for unselfish but ill-timed passing around the net, might have banged in a couple. Back on the rearguard, Gus Mortson gave one of his top displays and found time to lead a few stirring rushes, too. One of his shots led to the goal by Smith that made it 2-1 late in the first period. Howie Meeker, too, was a going concern.

The Habs, in need of more young blood, showed an outstanding amateur in Bernie Geoffrion, nicknamed “Boom Boom,” who was closing out his allotted three game stint with the pros. The Montréal junior, a husky, strong skating fellow with balance, was dangerous all the way from his right wing spot. He can’t play with the Canadiens any more this season unless they sign him to a pro contract – and they could do far worse.

The Leafs, pass-happy at times, outshot the invaders 26-23, with the Habs scintillating in a flashy middle period when they had 13 drives on Rollins to seven by the Leafs on Gerry McNeil. For a time in that goalless second frame, there was evidence of basketball on skates with the sides taking turns in making dazzling end-to-end sorties.

It was near the 10 minute mark of the first period when Kennedy checked awkward looking Butch Bouchard to the side of the Hab cage. The puck plunked out to Sloan, in front of the net, and he slipped it under McNeil as the goalie fell. After Dussault’s goal, and with Bud MacPherson sitting out a tripping minor, Mortson trapped a shot puck inside the Hab blueline and let fly. Smith, standing just outside the crease, tipped in the puck for a 2-1 lead at 16:43.

The Canadiens were pressing hard to start the third period when Kennedy broke out of the Leaf end and shoved a pass over to the uncovered Smith, who drifted in and shot. The puck was stopped partially by McNeil, but dribbled in off his leg pads.

NOTES: Defenceman Bill Juzda, hampered by rib and ankle injuries as well as a charley horse from previous games, retired late in the opening period. He was replaced by Bill Barilko, who tried hard and went well…Fern Flaman took a well deserved minor when he wrapped his arm affectionately around Richard’s neck and threw him to the ice when “The Rocket” was in scoring position with the count 1-1 in the first. Although the game was hard played, there was little meanness in evidence…Joe Becker, brand new manager of the baseball Leafs, sat in on his first NHL game, and said it was “much faster than the AHL variety we have in my hometown of St. Louis.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 8, 1951

1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:43 – Bouchard, interference
TOR PEN – 05:58 – Smith, tripping
TOR GOAL – 09:55 – Sloan (Kennedy)
MTL GOAL – 12:55 – Dussault (Reay, Geoffrion)

TOR PEN – 13:45 – Flaman, hooking
MTL PEN – 15:13 – MacPherson, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 16:43 – Smith (Mortson, Thomson)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:03 – Sloan, slashing
TOR PEN – 10:46 – Mortson, tripping
MTL PEN – 11:48 – Harmon, hooking / roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 11:48 – Timgren, roughing
MTL PEN – 13:10 – Olmstead, holding

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:18 – Smith (Kennedy)
TOR PEN – 11:23 – Lewicki, slashing
MTL PEN – 11:23 – Harvey, spearing

TOR – Rollins (W, 22-23)
MTL – McNeil (L, 23-26)

TORGoaltenders: Al Rollins. Defence: Bill Barilko, Fern Flaman, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Danny Lewicki, Fleming MacKell, Howie Meeker, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Hal Laycoe, Bud MacPherson. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Norm Dussault, Bernie Geoffrion, Vern Kaiser, Elmer Lach, Calum MacKay, Paul Masnick, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 28-11-11 (.670)
MTL – 18-23-11 (.452)