Game 289 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 289
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Thursday, November 1, 1951
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The slow burning fuse that was ignited at Maple Leaf Gardens 24 hours earlier reached the gunpowder chamber tonight.

The explosion left in the rubble a few items like a 4-2 win for Toronto over Montréal, game misconducts and automatic $50 fines to “Rocket” Richard and Fern Flaman, and assorted other majors for inflicting wounds on assorted bodies.

For more than half the game, play was such to indicate the Toronto fuse was a dud. While you wouldn’t think of calling the competitors little gentlemen, referee Bill Chadwick seemed to have things fairly well under control until the Forum rocket to its foundations with thudding fists and falling bodies.

As might have been expected, “Rocket” Richard was in the middle of things. He gave the fuse a hotfoot to speed the ensuing debacle. And he ended it, too.

From a milling, but apparently tamed group of players and officials, he lashed a jolting right from behind one of the officials, and it found a target on Bill Juzda’s left eye. Juzda dropped heavily and lay on the ice for almost a full minute.

Richard went to the Canadien bench and stayed there, until Juzda finally regained his feet. (A darkened optic was clearly visible even from the lofty press box on the opposite side of the rink.) With stick in hand, Juzda skated slowly toward the Montréal bench, and Richard bent a silent, but unmistakeable retreat to the dressing room.

Out of it all came two majors and a game misconduct for Richard, and a major and game misconduct for Fern Flaman, who was Richard’s first fighting partner. Butch Bouchard and Juzda drew majors to swell the penalty box.

The game was tied 1-1 when the explosion occurred, and the Canadiens were forcing the issue all the way. With “The Rocket” missing, their spark was gone, and the Leafs finished the period with a 2-1 edge, and sewed it up in the final session.

The Leafs spotted the home side Floyd Curry’s goal at 10:03 of the first period and tied it up via Kennedy three minutes later.

Kennedy scored the second period goal, slowly wending his way the full length of the ice, beating Bud MacPherson easily, then deking McNeil out of position to slip the puck home. They were playing four aside at the time.

Sid Smith made it 3-1 early in the third when the Leafs had a 6-4 edge in manpower and Harry Watson scored his first goal of the season to complete Toronto’s scoring.

Ken Mosdell wound it up with a beautiful effort at 15:03, as the Canadiens poured it on in a vain effort to get back in the running.

Probably the spark that ignited the pyrotechnics was born when Richard followed a puck that Flaman was about to handle at the Toronto blueline. As he came in, Richard raised his stick menacingly and swung it overhead. He was just bluffing, of course, maybe, but Flaman didn’t take it as a joke.

Brief seconds later, they glided toward each other, sticks at the ready, then started flailing away. Flaman was on top when they went down, and he stayed there until officials halted that brief skirmish.

It might have died there, despite Richard’s attempt to throw a right over referee Chadwick’s shoulder at Flaman, who tried it on Richard seconds later, neither blow landed.

Chadwick sent Flaman to the Leafs dressing room, and Richard was standing at the penalty box door, being heckled by Juzda, when suddenly that pair tore at each other. Richard went down on top this time, and as Flaman came racing back across the ice, most of the players got into the act with a couple on each team trying to act as peacemakers.

Ross Lowe was holding Flaman, while Bouchard was trying to get in a haymaker, but fortunately, Butch slipped to his knees while lunging. Harry Watson yanked Lowe off by the neck, and Flaman looked after himself from there in.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 2, 1951

1st Period
MTL PEN – 05:40 – Meger, hooking
TOR PEN – 08:40 – MacKell, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 10:03 – Curry (Gamble, Lowe)
MTL PEN – 12:10 – Lach, delay of game
TOR PP GOAL – 13:12 – Kennedy (Smith, Sloan)
TOR PEN – 19:27 – Solinger, interference

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 02:53 – Kennedy, holding
MTL PEN – 14:11 – Richard, fighting double major + game misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:11 – Flaman, fighting major + game misconduct
MTL PEN – 14:11 – Bouchard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 14:11 – Juzda, fighting major
MTL PEN – 16:30 – Mosdell, cross checking major
TOR GOAL – 19:04 – Kennedy
TOR PEN – 19:06 – Migay, tripping

3rd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 02:29 – Smith (Bentley, Thomson)
MTL PEN – 05:52 – Gamble, cross checking
TOR PP GOAL – 06:41 – Watson (MacKell, Juzda)
TOR PEN – 10:40 – Gardner, holding
TOR PEN – 11:46 – Migay, tripping
MTL GOAL – 15:03 – Mosdell (Johnson)

TOR – Rollins (W, 28-30)
MTL – McNeil (L, 21-25)

TOR – 4+6+15 = 25
MTL – 10+9+11 = 30

TORGoaltenders: Al Rollins. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Fern Flaman, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Fleming MacKell, Rudy Migay, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Bob Solinger, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Tom Johnson, Ross Lowe, Bud MacPherson. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Dick Gamble, Bernie Geoffrion, Elmer Lach, Paul Masnick, John McCormack, Paul Meger, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 4-3-2 (.556)
MTL – 4-6-1 (.409)