Game 291 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1

Game 291
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, November 29, 1951
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Maple Leafs absorbed their worst trouncing of the season tonight – a 5-1 defeat by the Montréal Canadiens – and lost the services of their promising rookie rearguard, Hugh Bolton, in doing it.

Bolton was taken to Western Hospital midway through the game after he stopped a hard shot by “Boom Boom” Geoffrion with his jaw.

X-rays revealed a bone chip had been knocked from Bolton’s jaw, but how long the injury will keep him out is indefinite. He will be held in hospital tonight for observation, and is expected to return to Toronto Friday.

After he was struck, Bolton gamely pursued the play and did not give up until he had cleared the puck from the Toronto zone.

At the time of the accident, Bolton had just returned from a first period head gash suffered from Elmer Lach’s high stick when the Hab was checked by Bolton. He returned from that stitching job wearing a helmet.

Eleven stitches had been inserted at the hairline to close the gash received in Bolton’s first injury.

With Gerry McNeil, back from visiting his very ill mother in Québec City, playing an outstanding game in goal, the great “Rocket” Richard (with two goals), Elmer Lach, Dick Gamble and Paul Meger scored for Montréal. Sid Smith ticked in the only Leaf tally at the start of the third, to cut the margin to 3-1 at that time.

It was strictly a case of the hungry Habs skating and trying harder than the second place Leafs. It broke a Canadien loss string at three, and was the first time the Habs had beaten the Leafs in four games this season. It also marked the first loss in four starts for the Leafs.

It was a rough affair, at times, with plenty of action and a couple of fistfights for the benefit of the rabid Forum gathering of 14,542. When Richard, the great hero, sank the last two Montréal goals, it was a wonder that the ancient Forum didn’t collapse each time. The roars were so tremendous.

After a fairly even first period, the Canadiens took over in the second to run up a 3-0 lead.

Gamble took a pass from “Boom Boom” Geoffrion at the Leaf blueline, letting fly a scorcher to break the goalless deadlock at 5:14.

The other two goals in that period were just 88 seconds apart, and came with each team shorthanded. Fern Flaman and Tom Johnson, who had thrown a few punches at each other, were sitting out roughing penalties.

Lach and Richard combined to make the Leafs look silly on the second goal of the game. That was when Cal Gardner attempted to lug the puck out of his own end. It was stolen by Richard who, in falling, passed over to Lach, who waltzed right in to beat Rollins. Lanky Al was so disgusted he shot the puck the length of the ice.

Phil Meger, a rookie like Gamble, made it 3-0, walking right in to beat Rollins with a low one at the 15 minute mark.

After Smith made it 3-1 in the third, Richard smashed the rally by batting in a goalmouth pass from Bert Olmstead, and he finished up a terrific display – he must have been on the ice for half the game – by sifting in to sink the final goal from close in with less than four minutes to play. He went around Fern Flaman.

The much publicized Richard-Bill Juzda feud, which started in the last game here when Richard floored Juzda with a punch, didn’t break out into open violence.

But Juzda knocked Richard to the ice at least three times with good body checks, and Flaman also had a hand in upsetting the Canadien ace a couple of times. Flaman also engaged in a fist fight with rough Tom Johnson, while late in the game captain Ted Kennedy and rookie Ross Lowe traded punches.

Dollard Saint-Laurent, brought up from Montréal’s Royal seniors on a lend-lease basis, played well on the Montréal defence. He replaced Butch Bouchard, out with a shoulder injury.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 30, 1951

1st Period
MTL PEN – 06:15 – Johnson, tripping
TOR PEN – 08:06 – Flaman, interference
MTL PEN – 10:41 – Mosdell, holding
TOR PEN – 11:07 – Sloan, interference
MTL PEN – 14:02 – MacPherson, roughing
TOR PEN – 14:02 – Sloan, roughing

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:14 – Gamble (Geoffrion, Reay)
TOR PEN – 07:05 – Juzda, tripping
MTL PEN – 10:07 – Reay, tripping
TOR PEN – 13:13 – Flaman, roughing
MTL PEN – 13:13 – Johnson, roughing
MTL GOAL – 13:44 – Lach (Richard)
MTL GOAL – 15:12 – Meger (Lowe, Reay)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:58 – Smith (Kennedy)
MTL GOAL – 06:47 – Richard (Olmstead, Lach)
MTL PEN – 12:20 – Saint-Laurent, holding
TOR PEN – 12:41 – Kennedy, roughing
MTL PEN – 12:41 – Lowe, roughing
MTL GOAL – 16:27 – Richard (Lach, Meger)

MTL – McNeil (W, 24-25)
TOR – Rollins (L, 27-32)

MTL – 9+13+10 = 32
TOR – 7+9+9 = 25

MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Ross Lowe, Bud MacPherson, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Gerry Couture, Dick Gamble, Bernie Geoffrion, Elmer Lach, Calum MacKay, Paul Meger, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
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, Howie Meeker, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Bob Solinger, Harry Watson.

MTL – 8-10-3 (.452)
TOR – 9-6-6 (.571)