Game 292 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 292
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, December 20, 1951
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A last period penalty to Tod Sloan opened the scoring dikes for the Montréal Canadiens tonight, and they rifled in three fast goals to submerge the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1.

What had been a low scoring deadlock and an extremely dull game for 50 minutes, suddenly had the rafters shouting after Sloan was jugged with a cheap penalty to which was added a deserved misconduct for shoving referee George Gravel.

The Leafs, who didn’t muster any more than three dangerous scoring thrusts during the entire 60 minutes, hit rock bottom in the club’s history when they failed to register a shot on Gerry McNeil in the final period. They managed only nine during the game, while the Habs were firing 26 at Rollins.

“Boom Boom” Geoffrion, “Rocket” Richard and Dick Gamble pulled the trigger on the third period goals and the most humiliating of the bunch was Gamble’s needless tally. He grabbed the puck to one side, and with Jim Thomson hanging on his shoulder with a close embrace, he staggered in front of the goal, took a weak one handed slap, and the puck rose magically to catch under the top bar.

Geoffrion’s winning goal was a beautiful effort, coming just less than a minute after Sloan took up residence in the jug. Richard cut him loose with a nice pass and “Boom Boom” blazed a knee high shot from directly in front. Richard emerged from an eight game scoring slump then to cut in front from the side and stickhandle past Rollins.

It wasn’t a spectacular performance, because neither side was willing to pull out all the stops. Checking was close, which led to several minor tiffs, none of which developed past the verbal stage.

Bob Solinger, a hustling bundle of energy all the way, was involved in two belligerent actions, one with Elmer Lach and the other with Bert Olmstead. Geoffrion, Curry and Johnson were throwing their muscles around prominently for the Habs.

Sloan’s goal came in the middle of a Toronto line change. Cal Gardner had hopped over the boards for Kennedy, pounced on the puck, and wheeled up ice. He gave the rubber to Sloan at the blue line, and Tod did a double shift around Bouchard and fired to the far corner.

It took the Canadiens a little more than a minute to get it back via Harvey. The home side forechecked the Leafs dizzy, wouldn’t let them get close to driving the puck out. Finally, with a group of players in front of Rollins, Harvey secured the puck at left point and shaved the ice with a blazer that Rollins probably didn’t even see.

NOTES: It was the fourth straight road loss for the Leafs…Gardner, Solinger and Sloan were the pick up front, while Flaman was the main guy in the back ranks…Bill Juzda didn’t get into action until the count was 4-1, and Frank Mathers was used sparingly…Bolton won a four stitch wound under an eye, and Gardner suffered a deep gash in the forehead when Harvey plastered him against the steel frame supporting the glass backstop…Big Bud MacPherson was roundly booed by the 13,661 audience and apparently is in disfavour, but Dick Irvin stuck with the lad.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 21, 1951

1st Period
TOR PEN – 07:49 – Kennedy, high sticking
MTL PEN – 07:49 – Geoffrion, high sticking
TOR PEN – 07:56 – MacKell, hooking
TOR GOAL – 12:32 – Sloan (Gardner, Flaman)
MTL GOAL – 13:36 – Harvey (Geoffrion, Reay)
MTL PEN – 19:39 – Meger, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 09:39 – Bouchard, tripping
TOR PEN – 15:30 – Lewicki, holding

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 13:38 – Sloan, holding + misconduct
MTL PP GOAL – 14:35 – Geoffrion (Richard, Olmstead)
MTL PP GOAL – 15:04 – Richard (Olmstead, Lach)
MTL GOAL – 16:20 – Gamble (McCormack, Curry)

MTL – McNeil (W, 8-9)
TOR – Rollins (L, 22-26)

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

MTL – 12-14-4 (.467)
TOR – 13-10-7 (.550)